Telah, the Basotho Pony.
One afternoon in the hills above the University (Roma, Lesotho),
I was driving along the smooth rock-based road,
Looking for a horse to buy to fulfill my equestrian desires.
Lesotho (Lesootoo) is renowned for its Basotho (Basootoo) Pony,
A horse which could be taught to triple--
A combination of an 'urged trot' and a ' restrained cantor'.
This 'pony' is one of the few breeds in the world,
Which is able to manage such a gait--
A gait which, when controlled well, is as smooth as glass!
So, that was my goal: scouting for an animal,
Which would also fulfill my aesthetic desires.
I had seen and checked out several that day,
But nothing had struck my fancy that was available.
Time was passing on towards mid afternoon,
When suddenly a rider approached on the road,
Mounted on a brilliant, muscular, red pony.
I stopped the old VW van and quickly descended to the dirt road.
The Mosotho rider stopped, dismounted and we shook hands.
He was wearing his conical, woven Basotho hat
And wrapped around his shoulders was the so-called Basotho blanket.
I explained that I was looking for a horse
And this one certainly struck my fancy.
He explained where he lived and asked that I return tomorrow.
I agreed, we shook hands once again
And I drove off with a pounding heart--
A beautiful pony indeed!
The next afternoon, having taught my biology lessons for the day,
I drove back up the smooth rock face above the school
And headed on towards the appointed group of rondavels--
The circular houses in which most Basotho dwell.
There was the red pony, as gorgeous as I had remembered.
We conversed for an hour, back and forth,
And finally decided on a price, agreeable to us both.
In anticipation of a possible fulfilled agreement,
I had a backup driver to return with the van
And I, with not only the horse, but also a fitted saddle,
Rode back down to the University horse barns.
The trip took two hours and the ride was magnificent.
Telah (Taylah) was strong with a determined will.
(That will, would, sadly, be his later undoing!)
Back then, home, I was at last the proud owner of a Basotho Pony.
Telah and I would have many happy rides together,
Through the open Lesotho valleys and mountains.
However, the next episode will divulge the sad departing
Of my beautiful Telah from me forever.
Frank Maurer 30 March 2023
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