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For her six birthday, I gave Tabita six riding lessons on Ebony (our gentle giant) which she has been happy to cash out, and so our new habit is to ride out Saturday mornings.

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With all the millet heads so readily available, I’ve put a lead rope on Ebony so that I can help Tabita when her big mount stretches her muscular neck to reach for the farmers’ food… Ebony gets lots of food at home, her hunger days in the bush have marked her both physically as well as psychologically, and she constantly believes that whatever food she sees will be the last in years to come.

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The bush is beautiful at this time a year, and the horses love it.

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As do the humans! (who cannot when embraced by such a brilliant blue sky?)

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As for birdwatching, we hadn’t more than gone out of town before we rode past this juvenile Gabar Goshawk [Micronisus gabar].

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Next, a red billed hornbill [Tockus erythrorhynchus].

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We made out way to the Kanya tapki,

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…one of Team Sheba’s favourite places!

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Leaving the horses to graze,

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…Tabita and I walked around the grounds, following a cattle egret…

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…until we got a beautiful shot of him!

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The sky was full of piapiacs [Ptilostomus afer],

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…who suddenly settled in the tree above us.

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Noisy happy birds they were,

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…obviously aware of something very exciting about to happen that Tabita and I knew nothing about!

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Returning back to the dogs and our horses,

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…Sheba made a point of showing what a lovely place the Kanya tapki was,

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…and how marvellous it was for back scratching!

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“Got that, Esther? That was especially for you and your clicking thing!”

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However, as much as Sheba loves to pose by choice, she is completely allergic to staged photographs, always shaking her ridge when someone tries to hold on to her collar and pose for a picture.

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Me: “Come on, Sheba, it’s only for a picture!”

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…and there, for the first time, an RR smile UPON request! :-)

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Turning back, Tabita’s riding lesson started for real as Ebony (well aware of which direction we were going) stayed cleared of the millet heads and concentrated on her job. Tabita’s self-confidence as rider grew as we ambled home, stopping first to cross another lake at the other side of the village,

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…and then picking up speed as we headed home!

I guess you can guess what we’ll be doing next Saturday! :-D

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in other corners of the world,
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