Every time I log on to this blog, I find I’m on a different page. So I hope this links up with my previous blogs. Anyway here goes, how do horses and beer link up?
initially I had no idea how to feed the horses I had brought up from Gabaronne to Francistown. I mean in UK you need an acre of fresh, green grass for one horse and you just turn them out into the field and let them get on with it. In Africa it’s more like 10 acres per horse and I did not have access to that size of land. My horses were surrounded by miles and miles of rather barren scrub dotted with thorn trees and the odd blade of green stuff.
Asking around I was directed to the animal feed supply depot in town. Here they had sacks and sacks of various stuff, including bags of oats. Well by this time I knew enough not to give out more than a smidgeon of oats, do you know how hyper oats make horses? Bearing in mind the owner of the “Worst Riding School in the World,” also qualified as the most cowardly owner in the world.
There were bags of mixed feed and a few additives, but the owner there told me that if I wanted horses in top health, with bright, shiny coats, I should also pop along to the local brewery and help myself to the left overs.
I had to see this for myself, so off I went and sure enough, in the yard outside was a huge mountain of pink powdery stuff, which smelt more than a little alcoholic.
“Help yourself,” I was told. “Just remember, it only lasts three days.”
“What lasts 3 days?”
“This pink stuff, but your horses will love it, trust me.”
“I only had a sandcastle spade with me that first trip and it took me an awful long time to fill a sackful, but as I drove off I had serious misgivings. Not completely trusting mankind, and since I ran the only riding school for a couple of hundred kilometers in any direction, maybe I was being duped into clearing their yard of left overs every three days.
Whatever their motives were, the man was right. My horses loved their beer left over pink stuff. They wolfed it down and yes, their coats became bright and shiny.
Now I should explain, that this brewery was not the sort you find in European towns. It brewed the local African beer, and to this day I have no idea what ingredients they used, but the beer itself had a shelf life of three days, after that, it went sour.
The first load of left overs I had collected also went sour after three days, and I realized that I had to adjust the amount I collected on subsequent visits.
The large Chibuku beer lorries would load up the beer in a variety of containers and tour the rural areas to deliver. The local people would hang out a white cloth on a roadside bush to indicate they were ready to purchase more.
But that was not our only contact with the brewery, that’s for next time.
I could add as a footnote that no self respecting ex-pat would touch the local brew. Apparently half a glass was guaranteed to get you parlyitic.