With over thirty years of riding experience, formal training with the British Horse Society in England, and extensive knowledge of veterinary medicine, Barney Bestelink, the ride coordinator for our Okavango Safari Ride in Botswana, is a horse enthusiast to the core. She learned to ride in Kenya as a small child and has competed in events all over the world. Now, she and her husband, PJ, along with an incredible staff of guides, grooms, and horse trainers, coordinate one of Africa’s premier riding safaris.
Did I mention that by age eleven, she was racing Arabian horses across Bahrain’s deserts for Arab Shiek Bin Suman Al Kanifa? When I was eleven, I was begging my mom for Levis and perming my poodle mullet, and the closest I came to jockeying was riding the bench at my junior high basketball games. I was a far cry from the novice horsewoman that I am today and I had no knowledge of the technical skill and bravery that it takes to participate in some of these fast paced rides.
The Okavango Delta is an oasis teeming with an amazing variety of bird, animal, and plant life in the heart of one of the world’s most extreme deserts. Barney and her guides provide visitors with an opportunity to view wildlife while moving through their habitat in one of the least populated areas in Africa.
Whenever I get frustrated with my riding lessons, I think of Barney and remember that this is why I practice-I want to be surrounded by herds of zebra, giraffe, and cape buffalo and ride through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful country in the world.