We were asked to bring our horse and carriage to participate in Wittedrift School’s sports day by one of the house teams for their parade heralding the start of their games. The first consideration was getting the horses and carriage to the school by 8am for the parade. Our horses have never been in a horse box, and it was a little questionable as to whether they would even fit into a horsebox made for regular-sized horses. We went to fetch a hired box and the morning before, we had a practice run with Mandla. It was clear that we could only fit one of the Percherons in the box – and, as we discovered when transporting him, the car would only be able to pull the weight of one up the hills leading out of Plettenberg Bay.
Mandla was an absolute star on his first box rehearsal. Looking rather regal in his purple sweat-blanket and leg bandages, and with his poll-guard secured to protect his head he was gently, and easily coaxed into the box with food. A short drive around the garden had us all at ease that he would be a calm passenger and we let him go back to his herd for the afternoon.
The morning began at 5:30 with plaiting and brushing Mandla to handsome perfection before loading him in the box for the drive to Wittedrift, with the carriage being towed by the other vehicle. We arrived to many students all preparing for their games, and the team participating with Mandla awaiting their carriage. With quadbikes and cars roaring, Mandla and carriage made their entrance with Kirsten calmly driving him onto the field to the sounds of Chariots of Fire, bearing his two passengers aptly dressed in Olympic Games attire.
We were all incredibly proud of Mandla as he kept his cool through all the blaring loudspeakers and music, offloading his passengers safely before leaving the field.