The Ripple Effect of 104 Horses

Dearest Mandy;
I don’t know if you remember the story of how I found my way to you and Pat and your wonderful herd of horses so here it is.

I had just got back from Guatemala and already sniffing around for my next adventure. There was a book waiting for me from Amazon. I had no idea who sent it and since I only order kindle books, I knew wasn’t me.  Tossing it on my desk, I checked my email. The travel company G Adventures’ newsletter had arrived and it spotlighted Mozambique. Hmmm, I had heard of it but knew nothing about it but sure loved the pictures of their beaches! So I googled “Mozambique” and the very first thing that came up was “Mozambique Horse Safari“, the volunteer page, no less. Horses? Beaches? Volunteer?!!!  I noticed on the sidebar a blurb about the owner’s new book:  “One Hundred and Four Horses, a memoir of farm and family, Africa and exile” by Mandy Retzlaffs. Hmmm that sounded familiar… I looked over at the book I had just received, and yes, it was the very same book!

After calling everyone I thought may have sent it, I came up empty. I was baffled. Who sent me this freaking book? I had not even heard of these people before and suddenly it felt like they were everywhere! What else could I do but surrender to the universe and promptly emailed Mandy to start the process of meeting them all. A year and a half later she greeted at the airport in Vilanculos, Mozambique. The next three weeks with Mandy and Pat Retzlaff and their horses was mind-boggling amazing. The people, the horses, the beaches seriously, can life get any better?

But the story, while pretty darn entertaining thus far, did not end there.

Three months after I returned, I had coffee with my good friend Lori, whom I hadn’t seen in years so we had a lot to catch up on. She knew I had been to Mozambique and wanted to hear all about it.  Of course I had to recount the story of how I ended up there. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her about receiving the book and never finding out who sent it! Seems she was one of the little elves! Lori’s partner had heard an interview with Mandy on CBC on Dec. 13/14. She was so moved by Mandy’s story that she went home and announced that she just had to buy the book for someone, anyone and she thought that perfect person would be me. Lori agreed and they ordered it on the spot. With no card, no sign of who sent it. And since we weren’t in the habit of sending each other gifts it never occurred to me to call and ask them.

Pretty amazing, eh, Mandy? Do you remember the interview? I just finished listening to it, and it was so nice to hear your voice again. I just wanted you to know the end of the story. But it isn’t the end since I just know we’ll be friends for a long time.

Thank you Mandy for giving me such an amazing adventure and for all the work you and Pat do to take care of the herd.


Pat and Mandy Retzlaff at my last dinner.

Pat and Mandy Retzlaff at my last dinner.


If you haven’t read Mandy’s book, 104 Horses, I urge you to go read it immediately. It is a moving and enlightening tale of guts and honour under horrific circumstances. Doing the right thing must have been daunting beyond measure for them then and now.

If you love horses, do yourself a favour, go to the Mozambique Horse Safari, either as a guest or a volunteer, it will be such a gift to give yourself!

You can listen to the CBC interview here, The Current with Anna Maria Tremonte.




6 thoughts on “The Ripple Effect of 104 Horses

  1. I absolutely loved the book, bought after I’d seen your adventures on fb. Since then, my entire family (all horse lovers) have read it and loved it too. What an incredible story. It’s hard to believe it’s true and that you met these fabulous people and their horses!


  2. I recognise the last supper! We were sharing it with you but only had the pleasure of a week with Mandy and Pat. I read the book 3 weeks ago and having met them and the horses, it was even more moving to feel part of it, its rare for me to be moved to tears! I am coming to understand the concept of fate but it certainly moves in mysterious ways and I am slowly allowing myself to submit to it. Hopefully it takes me in as amazing directions as it has you. Good luck with your next adventures. Kim Simkins


    • It is all pretty amazing stuff, how we move around on the earth, bumping onto people and things in what seems like random patterns and then suddenly, it makes sense… at least snippets do. 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by and good luck with all your marvellous horsey adventures. I was enthralled by the stories!


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