Yes, we’ve got an internship program and we’ve even managed to convince someone to to travel all the way from the USA to be with us for a month!
Lisa Sandford has the somewhat dubious honor of being our first intern all the way from the USA! We are thrilled to have her with us and we are learning a lot from her!
Read on to find out a little more about her and her first visit to Zimbabwe…
Where are you from?
I am from the United States of America, specifically from Michigan but I go to school in Missouri. In Michigan, I live right outside Detroit in a suburb called Farmington Hills and in Missouri my school is in a small college town called Fulton. In my hometown, it’s about a 45 minute drive to the horse country area but it’s worth it!
Where do you go to school and what are you studying?
I go to school at William Woods University in Fulton, MO. I am an equine science major! Horses are my passion and I want to have a career with them. My school is one of the best equestrian colleges in the country and I am very fortunate to be able to attend William Woods and greatly expand my knowledge for horses! I will be starting my second year in the August and I have three years left until I graduate.
What is the best part of your stay in Zimbabwe so far?
This is definitely a tough question – my whole trip has been such an amazing experience! This is my first time in Africa so it’s been great seeing another part of the world, the culture and how people live. I love being able to go to the barn every day and spend so much time there too! Jill also took me to Matopos and the national park there is beautiful so that was a great experience too!
What are you doing for your internship and what do you like about it?
I am doing anything from helping feed the horses to helping with lessons and everything in between! I learned a lot of new groundwork techniques which I’ve been applying to some horses. I’m learning a lot in the therapeutic program and it’s one of my favorite parts about my internship! The kids are all so sweet and it’s a good experience to learn how to help each child and watch them smile the entire time! My other favorite part is working with a really sweet horse named Guitar. We have been doing a lot of groundwork and will soon start work with riding. I can already see a lot of progress he’s made and I can’t wait to see how he is by the end of my stay!
Which horses do you like at our stables?
I’ve been riding Mighty Image mostly, but I like to take the very faithful Guiness on rides through the bush. Overall, though, Guitar is my favorite! He’s such a sweetheart and I am so glad I get the opportunity to work with him and watch him improve. My confidence is down from some nasty falls resulting in some broken bones but Aileen, Jill and these horses are all awesome and helping so much with getting my confidence back!
Who do you ride back in the USA?
I work and ride at a hunter/jumper barn and a dressage barn. At the hunter/jumper barn, I ride a sweet mare named Diva and at the dressage barn I ride a quirky gelding named Murphy. At school, my favorite horse to ride’s name is Timmie!
What do you think of the therapeutic riding program?
I think that it’s great to have this type of program here in Zimbabwe. Jill prioritizes safety and ensures that all the kids learn, benefit from the therapy and have a great time! It’s great to work with these kids and see how they connect with the horses. They don’t let their disabilities stop them and they’re all so smart! I just love how all the kids have a big smile on their face the whole time. The horses are great for the therapy. I love watching the kids progress during my stay!
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I like to collect sand from around the world! I have sand from over 40 countries and my collection is continuously growing. I want to eventually have sand from every country in the world!
What was your best moment on a horse?
After I started jumping, I remember my first time jumping a course with oxers in it. It was such an amazing feeling to ride around so fast and jump so high while trusting the horse beneath you to carry you through it! It was a kind horse named Tonka I was on. It’s a great feeling to have this kind of relationship with a horse and be able to do this!
What is the biggest lesson you think you’ve learned from horses?
Horses are huge, powerful animals that have the power to kill a person but they choose not to! Of all the bad falls I’ve had, I realized they could’ve been so much worse. In October, I got bucked off, landed on a wall and fractured three ribs, but I’m thankful that the horse didn’t hurt me worse. Another fall I had was right in front of the horse and I dislocated my tailbone and got a concussion, but he swerved to the side, though he could’ve just trampled me. I have learned that we can be injured much worse but most horses are kind enough to be careful to not directly injure us. They’re powerful animals but also very trustworthy.
What are your plans for the future?
I am still shaping exactly what I want to do, but I, for sure, want to incorporate therapeutic riding into my future. I am hoping to have my own barn to do therapeutic riding at and also some riding lessons. I would also love to do some behavioral training, working with horses that have problems on the ground.
Welcome to Zimbabwe Lisa!!