A moving account of one family's determination to save abandoned horses, despite the dangerous war that surrounded them.
"I remember a place that was wild and filled with game…where our horses grazed contently and waited to be ridden along dusty red tracks that wound their way into the bush,” writes Retzlaff in her heartwarming memoir of life with her family in war-torn Zimbabwe. She and her husband were living their dream; they had an idyllic farm where they pushed back the bush to grow tobacco and tomatoes, raised their children and rode beautiful horses, "a place in which we wanted to invest the whole of our lives…a place for the generations to come." Then, nearly a decade later, Robert Mugabe and his armed "war veterans" violently began reclaiming the land from the Retzlaffs and their white farmer neighbors. What followed is a horrific account of survival, not only of the author’s family, but of their beloved family horses and the horses abandoned by their friends as they fled the country. Homeless, the couple risked their lives to save as many horses as they could, hiding them in barns surrounded by aggressive and armed men who thought nothing of killing the beloved animals. When even that became too dangerous, the Retzlaffs, along with over 100 horses, fled Zimbabwe for nearby Mozambique, where disaster followed them once again. Retzlaff provides readers with an intimate look at the personalities of these animals, as well as the physical and spiritual connections between each horse and rider. Intertwined with this love of animals, the author offers a behind-the-headlines view of the Zimbabwean struggle, which accentuates the true gruesomeness and folly of war.
A poetic memoir for horse lovers and those interested in stories of triumph over adversity.