One Hundred and Four Horses: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile

One Hundred and Four Horses: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile

4.6 45
by Mandy Retzlaff
     
 

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There is little in this world that a family cannot endure, if endure they must. For we all have it within us to lose everything, absolutely everything, and still find strength in the most simple, beautiful things.

Pat and Mandy Retzlaff lived a hard but satisfying farming life in Zimbabwe. Working all hours of the day on their sprawling ranch and raising three

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Overview

There is little in this world that a family cannot endure, if endure they must. For we all have it within us to lose everything, absolutely everything, and still find strength in the most simple, beautiful things.

Pat and Mandy Retzlaff lived a hard but satisfying farming life in Zimbabwe. Working all hours of the day on their sprawling ranch and raising three boisterous children, they savored the beauty of the veld and the diverse wildlife that grazed the meadows outside their dining room window. After their children, the couple's true pride and joy were their horses.

But in early 2001, the Retzlaffs' lives were thrown into turmoil when armed members of President Robert Mugabe's War Veterans' Association began invading the farmlands owned by white Zimbabweans and violently reclaiming the land. Under the threat of death, the family was forced to flee, leaving behind a lifetime's possessions and becoming exiles in the only country they had ever called home.

As other families across the country fled, they left behind not only their homes but dozens of horses. Devoted animal lovers, Pat and Mandy—now essentially homeless themselves—vowed to save these horses: Shere Khan, the queen of the herd; Tequila, the escape artist forever breaking free and trying to walk back to his original home; Grey, the silver gelding and leader; Princess, the temperamental mare; and the numerous others they rescued along the way.

One Hundred and Four Horses is a love story and an epic tale of survival and unbreakable bonds—those that hold us to land and family, but also those between man and the most majestic of animals, the horse.

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Editorial Reviews

On an early summer morning in 2001, Mandy Retzlaff received a phone call that convinced her that her life as she knew it had been destroyed. The messenger told her that her farm and those of her Zimbabwe neighbors had been ravaged by a roving mob of Robert Mugabe's soldiers. Many others fled, but Mandy and her husband Pat resolved against all selfish reason to save the horses now stranded on the abandoned the land. One Hundred and Four Horses registers her hard-won victories and describes her life—and theirs after she resettled in Mozambique. A story of horse and human rescues.

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
A moving account of one family's determination to save abandoned horses, despite the dangerous war that surrounded them. "I remember a place that was wild and filled with game…where our horses grazed contently and waited to be ridden along dusty red tracks that wound their way into the bush," writes Retzlaff in her heartwarming memoir of life with her family in war-torn Zimbabwe. She and her husband were living their dream; they had an idyllic farm where they pushed back the bush to grow tobacco and tomatoes, raised their children and rode beautiful horses, "a place in which we wanted to invest the whole of our lives…a place for the generations to come." Then, nearly a decade later, Robert Mugabe and his armed "war veterans" violently began reclaiming the land from the Retzlaffs and their white farmer neighbors. What followed is a horrific account of survival, not only of the author's family, but of their beloved family horses and the horses abandoned by their friends as they fled the country. Homeless, the couple risked their lives to save as many horses as they could, hiding them in barns surrounded by aggressive and armed men who thought nothing of killing the beloved animals. When even that became too dangerous, the Retzlaffs, along with over 100 horses, fled Zimbabwe for nearby Mozambique, where disaster followed them once again. Retzlaff provides readers with an intimate look at the personalities of these animals, as well as the physical and spiritual connections between each horse and rider. Intertwined with this love of animals, the author offers a behind-the-headlines view of the Zimbabwean struggle, which accentuates the true gruesomeness and folly of war. A poetic memoir for horse lovers and those interested in stories of triumph over adversity.
Daily Mail (London)
“Dramatic, emotionally charged.”
The Times (London)
“The dramatic narrative of their dangerous journey… gives this epic its nail-biting edge. The horses, each with its own character, are the stars.”
Lawrence Scanlan
“After reading One Hundred and Four Horses, the phrases “horse rescue” and “let’s make a plan” have new meaning. This is a compelling, touching and sometimes grisly account, and to read it is to understand in a new way the power of the horse-human bond.”
Conor Grennan
One Hundred and Four Horses is a breathless adventure . . . an incredible story of a family that decided the lives of the animals they loved was worth risking their own. . . . You will mourn and celebrate with [Retzlaff] at every step along the way.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062204370
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/08/2013
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
414,401
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Mandy Retzlaff is a lifelong horse lover and farmer. Today, Mandy and her husband, Pat Retzlaff, run a horse safari company on the Mozambique coast, taking tourists on rides through the wild and wonderful country that they now call home.

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One Hundred and Four Horses: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 45 reviews.
Dahlonega1 More than 1 year ago
i was taken with this book on the first page, She is a very good story teller and the fact it is a true story just makes  it better. The story of the rescue is really good but also the descriptions of the land and the people made the book  extra special. I learned a lot from this book and I recommend it highly.
crazyreaderAP More than 1 year ago
if you like horses, you will enjoy this rescue True story.
BettyF More than 1 year ago
This is an exceptional book and I can't put it down.  One cannot imagine having to live like the Retzlaff's did, with one temporary home after another and the constant fear for themselves, their friends and neighbors, and their beloved horses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A painful and true account of white African horse people. You'll want to keep reading to find out what happens to the herd and if they make it out safely.
JAEJE More than 1 year ago
In 2001 when President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe released over 7,000 prisoners as his "war vets", the killing and ravaging of the white farmers began as an ethnic cleansing. White land owners were usually given only a 4 hour warning to evict their homes and farms or be beaten or killed. Being forced to leave on such short notice meant leaving behind not only a lifetime's possessions, but all of their beloved horses. Pat and Mandy Retzlaff became known as the "horse people"--rescuing and moving the horses across the heavily guarded border and leaving behind the only home they had ever really known. This story is the autobiography of the Retzlaff's lives--remarkable people of how they began their lives over and over after repeatably losing everything they had worked for. I was shocked at the brutality of Mugabe's destruction of Zimbabwe.
Gina321 More than 1 year ago
I found this book a bit disturbing on the fact that the African people are so uneducated destroying the farms that feed them.  Anyone who destroys animals for pure pleasure is sick and not even considered human. I would have liked to seen Oprah add this memoir to her current reading list, she who supports Africa.  I give the Retzlaff family and others involved in this land war a round of applause for endearing all they went through and not giving up.  I think of you often when I am having a bad day which turns out to be a good day compared to what you lived.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this beautiful story of the how the issues in Africa continued to energize this family to an ongoing and increasing devotion to the land and the horses. The issues they faced with the corrupt governments of one small country after another and the sacrifices they made to save the horses (104 of them) was a committment of love not only to their friends, the horses, their children, but to each other.
JinxMT More than 1 year ago
This is a true story about a family who love and train horses. It's hard to imagine living in a country that doesn't have the freedoms and stability of the USA. Living in a country that is suddenly at war and has no regard for it's people. A country at war that takes and destroys from it's people. A government head who takes estates and gives them to his family and friends. And as estates are taken, the people are forced to leave and they leave their prize horses with this family and so the herd grows until they and their help are forced to flee but they will not leave their horse herd. The trials and tribulation that are encountered will keep you enthralled in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heartwarming and educational.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing true story - if you love horses you will appreciate this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leave a review or go back to facebook ! I loved the book even though it was painfull to read at times! I admire the people and all they did for their horses! I hope their lives are all that they always hoped for! You are the best of GODS creation and i hope you are somewhere living the life you always "planned for"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really want a pant,palomino,lipizzaner, and morgan horse!!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a riveting tale of great courage and love, that is also incredibly true. I could hardly put this book dow,n, but forced myself to do so because I did not want it to end. (Please write a sequel, Mandy.) As a horse owner, I related to their feelings for their horses: angst, joy, grappling with difficult situations. It also helped me appreciate being a horse owner in America, where we're horses are, for the most part, respected. At times it was hard to read, but the author balanced it with the beauty of nature and the character and antics of their horses. Very inspirational.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Typical men."
mel1710 More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written book. What Mandy and Pat went through to save these horses is remarkable. I can highly recommend it as it is well worth reading. I would love to visit them one day at the Mozambique Horse Safari.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very sad yet inspirational book. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happened to Imprevu? Otherwise, it was good... heartwarming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never give up should be their motto. Although they had to leave zimbawe..they took their beloved animals with them.it shows you that courage and perseverance can win ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago