201001-p1030651

Last week, I went for the ride of my life when Karin and I decided to amble all the way to Mirriah and back – a 50 km journey all in all.

201001-p1030648

Not knowing exactly the capacity of our horses, we decided to have a long lunch in Mirriah’s beautiful baobab forest together with Anette, Renate and the kids, before riding back.

201001-p1030662

The weather was beautiful and so was the landscape.

201001-p1030682

For more of the time, we kept a good ambling pace.

201001-p1030682b

Like many ancient breeds, the Nigerien barb is a gaited horse. It’s unique four beat diagonal gait (stepping: 1-2-pause-3-4) is much more comfortable than an ordinary trot and allows for long rides in the bush without wearing on the horse’s body.

201001-p1030673

We stayed close with the road so that we would be sure to find our way,

201001-p1030655

…and made sure to take a few breaks.

201001-p1030688

Sahara’s inspiration level kept at it for the first 15 km before she asked to turn back home (saving her energy), but I wanted her to break her own record so insisted she carry on.

201001-p1030690

Then all of a sudden, Mirriah was in sight!

201001-p1030692

After ambling for two hours, the horses picked up speed, as if sensing that they were closing in on our lunch break destination:

201001-p1030701

…the beautiful baobab forest of Mirriah!

201001-p1030712

We passed a well, where a man helped us water the horses.

201001-p1030706

Both Arwen and Sahara were eager for a drink, but hardly drank a bucket all in all.

201001-p1030750

We walked our horses into the center of the forest,

201001-p1030740

…and stopped to take some picture of the beautiful scenery.

201001-p1030737

Sahara was not all that impressed though; she had a more relaxed vision in mind.

201001-p1030757

Lucky her, Anette, Renate and the kids arrived with peanut hay for the horses,

201001-p1030770

…and pancakes for the rest of us!

201001-sl381314

We had an awesome picnic!

201001-p1030764

For Ramatu and Abubakar, this was their first visit to this nearby town and quite an excursion.

201001-sl381312

Karin loved it too, but once she started eating, she started feeling naeseous.

201001-p1030773

We did not think so much about it at first, but once she sat up on Sahara to ride back, she was feeling pretty bad.

201001-p1030670

Having suffered from heat stroke before (which could probably have been avoided had I listened to my body’s earlier complaints), I did not want to take any chances for Karin’s sake and called Anette to ask her to come back for her. Although we’d ridden through cooling winds, three hours of sunshine is more than what most Swedes are accustomed to.

201001-p1030789

Riding home with two horses are a bit more of a challenge than I had counted on, but the girls did well. I rode Sahara, the dominant horse, while ponnying a happy Arwen, who had so much energy to give.

201001-p1030793

People were very friendly and asked me about the empty saddle. They were amazed to hear that we had ridden from Zinder to Mirriah in the same day, but there people in every village to testify that I had indeed passed through earlier that day… :-)

201001-p1030806

It took three hours to ride back to Zinder, but I did not push it as I had two horses.

201001-p1030798

As we approached town, both girls starting asking for a gallop, but I left it at a high pace ambling speed.

201001-p1030801

Having stopped in time, Karin recovered well and enjoyed the remaining of her stay with us (including more rides and adventures!). Today, we are heading south to Kano to drop her off at the airport – but this time, we’re not going on horseback!

For other cool experiences around the world, click here!