Digger, My Lifeline, My Dream Horse
By Elze Bredenkamp, Elmira, ON
When we emigrated from South Africa and landed in Vancouver, I immediately started renting a horse twice a week and spent hours riding in the beautiful Golden Ears National Park. Soon, I fell in love with the horse, and bought him, as I could not handle seeing other people rent him and ride him after. This horse became the epicentre of my life, and as our funds dwindled and my husband was unable to find work, I fell into such a deep depression that the only thing keeping me going was going to see Digger, cleaning his stall, and riding him for hours and hours in the mountains of Vancouver.
After seven months of this, my husband was able to find employment in Saskatchewan. We arrived there in the middle of winter, with Digger, our two-year-old son, and not a penny in our pocket. I started giving riding lessons on Digger, he fed our family, and five days a week, I would give lessons in minus 30 degree weather in winter. He taught seven little kids how to ride.
On weekends I would go for miles and miles through the yellow canola fields. After three years, my husband was retrenched, and we set off with Digger to Ontario, where we decided this time to pitch a tent on the Niagara River instead of spending money on hotels, until my husband found work once again. Digger again became my lifeline. After five months, my husband found employment in Elmira, and we moved Digger here in our old trailer. I would ride the forests of Elmira with my two-year-old daughter in my arms, rocking her to sleep in a canter.
Four months afterwards Digger got colic and died at 10 am on the 9th of February, 2000. I was utterly inconsoleable for a year afterwards. He might not have been a showhorse, but he was my perfect horse and he meant more to me than all my showhorses I rode in South Africa put together. Digger, my dream horse.