Thursday, 30 October 2014

Not feeling well, but a fabulous day's racing for my Dad!

On our return to Rhodesia from the 1962 Beira show, we had a few days to settle the horses down and relax, before we were off again, this time to the Marandellas Agricultural Show. Marandellas is a town  about 50 miles east of Salisbury.

On arrival, I was not feeling too well, but it was an important show, so I pulled myself together and both Hy-Li-Li and ‘Smith' jumped well throughout. On the final day and the main event, the Grand Prix, I remember walking the course wondering what I was doing there, as I felt absolutely terrible! I can only think what a terrific horse Mr Smith must have been; I did nothing at all to help him in the event and still we managed third place, beaten only in the jump-off against the clock. I feel sure if he had been helped along the way, we could probably have notched up a Grand Prix win. Anyway, we had done our best and put the 'if only' thoughts out of our heads! On the way back home in the car, horsebox behind, Mum said she realised how bad I must be feeling, as she had never known me to drive so slowly (!) and the next morning I woke up to find myself covered with spots! The doctor duly made a house call and I was told that I had chicken pox. I was apparently at an age where I would probably get it quite badly and bed rest was the only answer. It took a good ten days for me to feel like going back to work and to this day I still have not got 100% hearing in my right ear, due to the effects of the illness.
Mr Smith 3rd place at 1962 Marandellas show.

During my time in bed, I managed to do some theory work, as I was due to take my British Horse Society Pony Club 'A test' at the end of September. This "top of the range" theory and practical test covers, amongst other things, anatomy, stable management, course designing, coaching, care of the horse, saddlery and paddocking, apart from all the riding and horsemanship aspects. 
At that time, there had only been one person who had taken, and passed the 'A Certificate' in Rhodesia, so I was more than determined that I would make the grade and add my name to the pass list! This I managed to do, with one other member of the Pony Club, so two more passes were added to the list!

Collecting the cup for a Pony Club Team event, for which I was the team captain.

In November, a young jockey named Dennis was visiting from South Africa; he'd previously ridden a few times for my Dad. He travelled with Dad and I and the two horses, Lady Heath and Jewel’s Reward, to a race meeting in Marandellas.

Lady Heath was in the first race, an amateur hurdle and due to be ridden by me. The second race a five furlong sprint and Jewel’s Reward was to be ridden by Ivan, one of the Rhodesian jockeys. Dennis was booked to ride him again in the last race over six furlongs. What a day it proved for my Dad, who was triumphant with three winners from two horses! See the "Salisbury Herald" newspaper report below.

On our arrival home, I remember Mum coming out  and asking how we had got on. Dennis, with a very long and dismal face, said “well, Diane won the first one with Lady Heath”,  and after a long pause , with Mum saying how pleased she was, he went on, “Ivan won the second race on Jewel’s Reward”.  Mum said that was wonderful, then Dennis, laughing out loud, said “and I won the last race on him as well”. Mum was quite overjoyed by this and we all went indoors to celebrate, after seeing the horses fed and settled in their stables. It was really quite an achievement. Two races for a horse in one day was an unusual occurrence, even in those days, but now it is unheard of. I am pleased to say that Jewel's Reward suffered no ill effects from the extra exercise and in fact he came back home looking all ready to race again!

My Life Before Charente to be continued :-) 


The section of my life story during our overland trip is published on Kindle if you should be interested:-


  1. Hi Diane , I cannot even begin to imagine how you felt that day and how you got through racing , feeling so unwell , but you did .. You have such great stories about your life and your past , amazing.. and so great that you go to spend so much time with your dad .. I wish I could say that but it is what it is ... I loved all your memorabilia you have at home too. Take care xox anne

    1. Hi Anne and thanks for the comment. I replied just now and it vanished!!!!! I was so lucky to have many years with both my parents, sadly though not with David, but as you say it is what it is. Have a good weekend Diane xox

  2. Wow what an achievement for you , your dad and the horses. You had an exciting life in those days except for the awful illness. How well you did even feeling ill.

    1. Diane I had a very proud father that day, it was though exciting for us all. Have a good day t'other Diane

  3. Just had a catch up read here, so many happy memories for you, thanks for sharing your life with us.

    1. Thanks Linda for following and commenting, much appreciated. Take care Diane


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