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It’s mid-rainy season here in Niger, West Africa, and the trails are beautifully green!

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There’s nothing to please the crew of Ishtar’s Ark as saddling up and going for a beautiful hike!

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As soon as Sheba knows where we’re going, she’s happy to lead the way!

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This time, we were heading for the healin jirgi tapki, one of my favourite places on earth.

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Healin jirgi means airfield in Hausa. To us, however, it means a particular little spot, right next to the airfield.

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A pretty little lake filled with grass, though deep enough for the horses to splash their bellies and for the dogs to swim. And beautiful whichever way you look at it!

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The dogs were quick to plunge in.

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You’d be surprised how cold the water becomes over night in such an otherwise warm country!

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While the dogs explored the waterside, I got off my horse and explored the lake with my camera.

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As always, Sheba was on the lookout, making sure we were all “safe”. :-)

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Surrounded by so much beauty, I had no need to leave!!!

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Eventually, it was time to head back home,

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…with both dogs and humans done discovering the premises.

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We collected some fresh grass for the horses left at home. Ebony and Sahara were not all that happy to serve as transporting mules (“Isn’t that what donkeys are for?!”) but they did it nevertheless. After a few minutes, Sahara forgot all about her “load” and insisted we gallop home.

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Our ride back through the green millet labyrinths was as enjoyful as our way there.

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I can’t believe the millet is as tall as me on horseback, even though we’re not even in the middle of August! This is going to be one fabulous year for the farmers of the Zinder area!

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As for the trail ride, Sheba and Sahara raced most of the way home, spurring each other all the way through. I love that dog, and the horse!

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And here’s your close-up on the gigantic yet still growing millet plants for the Zinder area. From August 4th, 2012. Hope you enjoyed!

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