The intrepid duo behind Ride Botswana, David and Robyn Foot, are well known for their adventurous spirits and love of horses, but they’re also deeply invested in Africa and the local community.
The husband and wife team are based in Botswana and run the horse safaris business with their daughter Kirsty, offering horseback adventures in the Okavango Delta, along the Thamalakane River, and around our camps in the Makgadikgadi. Ride Botswana might be a family business, but the Feet are well known for their knack of nurturing talent from the community, and giving locals a leg up by training them to become guides, grooms, or another important member of the team.
“The tourism industry in Botswana is essential in supporting the continuing conservation efforts here and is the lifeline for all the communities within the areas that it supports,” explains Robyn. “Our ‘family’ not only includes our 38 trusted steeds but extends to the team of dedicated community members who have learnt to love the horses as their own.”
Keeping horses is an expensive exercise at the best of times – particularly when the animals’ welfare is paramount, as it is for the Ride Botswana team. So when the safari industry skidded to a very square halt as COVID-19 galloped across the globe, David, Robyn and Kirsty had to rack their brains to find a way of keeping their horses well looked after and also caring for the many local families who depend on the business.
“There is little clarity as to when the borders will reopen again to the international tourists on whom we rely,” David tells us. “Tourism is what helps to keep our herd alive and happy and over the years our horses have been integral in showcasing nature in its purest form to the many visitors who have enjoyed the wonders and wildlife of beautiful Botswana. Together with members of the local communities with whom we work closely, we have created a haven in order to keep them healthy, happy, and fit and riding-ready for safaris. The welfare of a horse includes daily feeding (imported hard feed and hay), farrier care, unforeseen veterinary bills, including teeth, daily insect repellent, rental of fields, water collection, stabling expenses, associated fuel costs as well as the support for the local communities employed to help. The list is endless.”
They first considered offering up themselves and their steeds to the conservation cause, but when this fell through, they had to come up with something else. The feet are certainly resourceful, and they’ve decided to undertake the adventure of their lives and embark on an epic ride around Botswana in an effort to raise both funds and awareness.
“We simply cannot sit here and watch matters deteriorate further,” says David. “Any contribution to this effort, however small, will go a long way to keeping our extended family intact and fed. Every step of the way will be chronicled so you may share the challenges of this unprecedented journey into the wild on horseback.”
David is charting his progress over on the Ride Botswana Youtube channel. Take a look here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_H7-84hF3VaND0ovpBBaMA/featured
And if you feel able to contribute to this incredibly worthwhile cause that will support both the local Botswana communities and the horses of Ride Botswana, please donate here https://www.gofundme.com/f/relief-for-safari-horses-in-botswana?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_lico%2Bupdate%2BexpWdV&fbclid=IwAR1WfhDazp0i7Mlx8VZqAksozVTSAnkfJJ9FxfF5n09zy2injeQZss6G5X0
You can find out more about the Foot family and what they offer here http://www.ridebotswana.com/
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