One Hundred and Four Horses: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile
by Mandy Retzlaff (285 pages)
There is little in this world that a family cannot endure, if endure they must. For we all have it within us to lose everything, absolutely everything, and still find strength in the most simple, beautiful things.
Pat and Mandy Retzlaff lived a hard but satisfying farming life in Zimbabwe. Working all hours of the day on their sprawling ranch and raising three boisterous children, they savored the beauty of the veld and the diverse wildlife that grazed the meadows outside their dining room window. After their children, the couple's true pride and joy were their horses.
But in early 2001, the Retzlaffs' lives were thrown into turmoil when armed members of President Robert Mugabe's War Veterans' Association began invading the farmlands owned by white Zimbabweans and violently reclaiming the land. Under the threat of death, the family was forced to flee, leaving behind a lifetime's possessions and becoming exiles in the only country they had ever called home.
As other families across the country fled, they left behind not only their homes but dozens of horses. Devoted animal lovers, Pat and Mandy—now essentially homeless themselves—vowed to save these horses: Shere Khan, the queen of the herd; Tequila, the escape artist forever breaking free and trying to walk back to his original home; Grey, the silver gelding and leader; Princess, the temperamental mare; and the numerous others they rescued along the way.
One Hundred and Four Horses is a love story and an epic tale of survival and unbreakable bonds—those that hold us to land and family, but also those between man and the most majestic of animals, the horse.