Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm back in good old Port Townsend returning to some beautiful sunny days.

I've just posted the video I made at Horizon Farm in South Africa
No pix of the farm in this post - they're all in the video.

Click here to view Horizon Farm's video.

My boss Geoff and I enjoy a class of wine at the
Royal Yacht Club in Durban.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Taking residents on an outride
I've been at Horizon Farm Trust for about 2 weeks now.  This is a very different experience than I thought I was going to have this time in South Africa.  While horses are part of the experience, it's more about the farm, their residents, their philosophy and capturing that on video. 
As I said in the first blog, Horizon Farm is a permanent residential program for developmentally disabled adults and here, there are dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, parrots and horses.  This relationship with the farm animals, particularly the horses is an important part of Horizon Farm’s philosophy. The morning horses grooming is part of that philosophy.  I’m finishing a video to help the farm recruit volunteers.  There are shots of how important the horse program is here.
My little house
As the pictures show, there is some beautiful riding in the surrounding area. 
Polo and me up at the falls.

 There is a big bicycle park that’s walking distance from the farm and they have laid out trails throughout this area.  I’ve never seen such a great park like this. The park also has a nice outdoor cafĂ© which I frequent for breakfast and Geoff and I also go there for a beer or two.

Sne gets me my coffee at the cafe.

We made a quick trip to Durban.
Geoff and I have refreshment in Durban.
Like Seattle, Durban is a boat town.
My boss, Geoff is an interesting person.  He’s one of the founding trustees of the farm.  He and his late wife felt that horses were an important part of any program for developmentally disabled, hence the horses that brought me here.  Geoff became complete blind over 20 years ago.  But that hasn’t stopped his quest for adventure.  He’s hiked in the Sahara, climbed on Kilimanjaro and most spectacularly sailed from Durban to Australia – solo!  He’s fascinated me with accounts of this sail and I’ve fascinated him with my experiences on the Adventuress. 

Before leaving on April 20th, I hope to do a video on the volunteer opportunities here and perhaps another on their long term residential program.  I'll post it here when I return.  Stay tuned! (God does anyone use that expression anymore – it comes from the old days of radio!)

Some of my friends who are residents here at the farm 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Back to South Africa

I’m here in South Africa again, this time near Durban.  Originally I was going to be working at a horse farm near Cape Town but once there it was clear it was not a good fit.  So I found the Horizon Farm, a non-profit residential program for disabled adults.  There is also a little school here that works with disabled children.

My first ride on Polo
Just like Greece, we've a new puppy
The farm is like old McDonald's farm.  There are chickens, pigs, ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats and horses.  9 horses actually.  I’ve been out riding with a volunteer who’s now moved on.  I rode a pretty little palomino named Polo.  He’ll be my horse for the duration.  The country is very different than the horse farm near Cape Town.  There, it was much like Southern and Central California with beautiful mountains in the distance.  Here, we’re on the east side of Africa where it is wetter and more sub-tropical jungle.  It’s hilly but not mountainous.  The ride Polo and I took went through some beautiful country, ending at a waterfall in an area that looked like a garden of Eden.  There are some good swimming holes there which I hope to plunge in.

Johann and Margaret groom Polo
There are 21 permanent adult residents here.  The farm provides a safe, comfortable place for them to live.  There are many activities for them to participate in – helping with chores, games, classes, craft projects and of course the horses.  Every morning the horses are assembled and residents groom them. This is more for the residents than the horses, though I think the horses enjoy it too.  And depending on the disability, residents may be taken out on short trail rides or in the case of a more severely disabled – cerebral palsy for example – it may be just a walkabout or sitting on the horse.   This becomes a very simple form of equine therapy.
Justin works out in front of his cabin.  Jay cheers him on.

Horizon School House (kinda looks like a Besant Hill building!)

Aside from my involvement with the horses, I’m making videos here – one to show volunteers what is like here. one to use to show prospective parents what it’s like for the residence
and one for to help their school get day students.
I started on the school video today and as the videos progress I’ll post them on uTube.
Debbie and Tristan

More later….