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In Zimbabwe white farmers are forced off their land, having to flee leaving almost everything behind – including their animals. As the Retzlaff family move across the country they take on many of the horses that distraught farmers ask them to care for till in the end they have over 300 – yet they can only save 104. Mandy Retzlaff’s extraordinary story of compassion for animals against a background of political uprising and ferment is a story of terrible loss but also incredible gain as the horses they care for become their passion – and salvation.
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'A letter is handed to you. In broken English, it tells you that you must now vacate your farm; that this is no longer your home, for it now belongs to the crowd on your doorstep. Then the drums begin to beat.' As the land invasions gather pace, the Retzlaffs begin an epic journey across Zimbabwe, facing eviction after eviction, trying to save the group of animals with whom they feel a deep and enduring bond - the horses. When their neighbours flee to New Zealand, the Retzlaffs promise to look after their horses, and making similar promises to other farmers along their journey, not knowing whether they will be able to feed or save them, they amass an astonishing herd of over 300 animals. But the final journey to freedom will be arduous, and they can take only 104 horses. Each with a different personality and story, it is not just the family who rescue the horses, but the horses who rescue the family. Grey, the silver gelding: the leader. Brutus, the untamed colt. Princess, the temperamental mare. One Hundred and Four Horses is the story of an idyllic existence that falls apart at the seams, and a story of incredible bonds - a love of the land, the strength of a family, and of the connection between man and the most majestic of animals, the horse.
'The dramatic narrative of their dangerous journey ... gives this epic its nail-biting edge. The horses, each with its own character, are the stars'
'Brutally honest and often grisly, One Hundred and Four Horses [...] remains a powerful story of loss, desperation and, above all, hope. More than just a memoir, [...] the story is gripping, moving and disturbing all at once.'
Horse and Hound
Publication date: 03/07/2014
Publisher: William Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
|Publication date:||3rd July 2014|
|Publisher:||William Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Memoirs, Horses & ponies, African history,|
Mandy Retzlaff grew up in Ghana before moving to what was then Rhodesia. She married her husband Patrick in 1978, and in 1980 they took up farming. After being forced to hand over their Farm to the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association in 2000, they eventually fled across the border to Mozambique, rescuing horses from other evicted farmers along the way. The Retzlaffs run a horse safari company on the Mozambique coast, taking tourists on rides through the wild and wonderful country that they now call home.More About Mandy Retzlaff