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Sunday, September 27, 2009

South African Girl and her Horse Inspire Hollywood Movie

I found this article very inspiring. Thanks to Renette for bringing it to my attention:

Charles Smith
Bloemfontein - The inspirational story of a South African girl and her blind horse’s steadfast trust in each other is the stuff that Hollywood hits are made of.

American production house Warner Bros and its local agent, Film Africa, are in negotiations for the rights to film the story of Chelsey Cooper, 14, and her horse, Lady Domain

Lady Domain and Chelsey - a pupil at Oranje Girls’ High School in Bloemfontein - won three South African saddle horse championship titles after the mare became blind

The blonde girl refused to have her horse put down after an accident resulted in her becoming blind.

Before the accident, they won national eventing titles in the U12 and U18 classes for 15.1 hand horses

She taught the mare to trust her 100%, and so she became Lady Domain’s eyes. Chelsey gave Lady the self-confidence to carry on winning

“We beat them easily, Lady,” she told her horse when they won the South African eventing championship for her age group in 2008

Only a small group of people were aware of the fact that Lady is completely blind. The judges were not aware of this, and a blind horse is not allowed to compete. The fact that veterinarians thought Lady still had slight vision in her left eye was the loophole they needed.

Chelsey’s mother, Anneli Cooper, said Lady Domain is the only disabled horse in the world who could win a national title while competing against “normal” horses.

“Before the championship, one participant told Chelsey he knew that her horse was blind – but they would give Lady a chance. Chelsey was determined that the two of them would ‘give 100% and win’,” said her mother

'The Natalie du Toit of saddle horses'

After an article about “the Natalie du Toit of saddle horses” appeared, people started phoning from all over to say how Chelsey and Lady had inspired them.

One mother apparently phoned to say how her son had lost his eyes in a chemical explosion, and did nothing but sit in his chair for six months. She read Lady’s story to him.

“He jumped up and told his mother: ‘Mom, if a blind horse can do it, so can I’. I was crying so much that I put the phone down. I even forgot to ask the woman’s name,” said Anneli.

Lady Domain - who recently turned 10 - is not allowed to compete any longer, but she and Chelsey still perform to inspire.

The film's provisional title is Through My Eyes, although Blind Faith and Never Say Never are also being considered.

Lady will only allow Chelsey to ride her. She also only allows one stable hand, Paulus Mabote, to come near her.
- Volksblad

Exercise Golfinho

A photo of one of our "rebel" soldiers at sunset during Exercise Golfinho recently concluded at the South African Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatlha.


As part of the SADC Forces at Lohatlha was this Bell UH-1 "Huey" from Zambia. This was only the second time in my life to fly in one of these choppers that was used to pioneer Air Assault Operations by the Americans in Vietnam.

Big Fire

This fire kept us busy for the whole day. Due to a lack of control we were left the whole night in the freezing conditions of Lohatlha dressed in short sleeve summer dress or just thin long sleeve shirts. It took many phone calls to get them to pick us up in the end, but still the convoy only showed up between 4am and 5am.

We stayed warm by making three more fires.

Belligerent Road Block

Platoon 1, C Company having a road block. We tested the negotiation skills and general readiness of the SADC Forces.

Unit Area 6

6 SAI Bn had our part of Exercise Golfinho from Unit Area 6 at the Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatlha. The CTC is full of signs with famous quotes on warfare. This one is the quote from George Patton "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week."