Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sad news

Hey everybody,

Unfortunately we have some sad news to share with you and we hope that you can empathise with us in our disappointment. Due to unforeseen circumstances and after much planning and thought, we have decided it is best to postpone Hoofprints for Hope. At this point, we are unsure how long it will be postponed but we will be sure to update you on this blog as soon as we reach a decision.

It is with heavy hearts that we type this and not only are we disappointed, we feel like we have let down not only others but ourselves. It is with much difficulty that we finally gave in to the circumstances that have crept up on us but we knew that it is unwise not to bend with the changes, otherwise we will snap!

We really hope that you can support us in the future just like you have already. Thank you for that support, it has gotten us so far, where we hope to continue from when the time is right. This is life I suppose and we understood from the beginning that this was an ambitious plan! Sometimes we can't understand why life throws us around in the current but we have faith that God sees the bigger picture here and that this set back may be a hidden blessing although we don't feel it now.

Blessings, we will update you soon.

Brent & Sarah

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Hey everybody,

So guess what......we have good news! We vet checked our mare that we were interested in and she passed! Her name is Vixen and she is a beautiful 15.2hh bay mare. She is an ex trotter and is trained to harness so will be great with a little more training for pulling our wagon. The best thing about her is her temperament! She is a lovely quiet type and she learns fast. Desensitizing her will be a smooth process as we can already clap around her face and wave things around her without so much as a blink. She isn't saddle broken but that may be a special project of mine.... She is 10 years old and is a real sweetheart, very trusting and most of all calm. Can't wait to do some natural horsemanship with her. I know we will all be good mates.
She arrives at our free grazing in Hunua next week (thank you to Stephen and Naomi as well as to Genna and Kerrin Revell to their offer of free grazing for us also! You are all incredible).
I will post some pics of Vixen now but I promise there will be MANY more to come :)

Isn't she beautiful?


Sarah & Brent

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The search continues...

Update time! So the horse 'Oscar' that we were interested in unfortunately didn't pass his vet check! He had some issues with one of his tendons as well as some soreness in his heels and an abbess in his mouth from a possible tooth root disease. It was clear that Oscar wasn't the horse for us which was a shame because he was a lovely boy.
This thursday the first horse we went to see called 'Vixen' is having a vet check and Brent and I are sure hoping she passes! I'll let you know that vet checks are very expensive and if Vixen fails we will need to save up some more money before we continue the search for a horse. However, God is really providing and we have been approached for a potential vet sponsorship which is really exciting. Anyway, Vixen has the most wonderful nature and although she is less experienced in harness, she demonstrated a real trust with us and was incredibly willing. She has the right temperament and that is so important. We will be willing to work a bit more with her as we know she will pick things up really fast and she will be a great horse to learn with and desensitize to things easily. Unfortunately her teeth are a little run down but it's not stopping her keeping all her condition on and so as long as the vet sees nothing seriously wrong, we are really hoping to call Vixen our own.
Further news, today I had a driving lesson in Pirongia! Brent couldn't make it due to timetable changes with his school where he teaches but I drove all the way anyhow (phew it was a looong drive!) andam so glad I did. I learned a lot about various types of harnesses and carts/wagons. I also learned about tandem driving vs pairs and of course had some time in the cart myself learning the technique! It's quite a lot more difficult than I anticipated but I feel I will definitely get the hang of it over time! In the horse world there are so many dos and don'ts and the horse driving world is no different... I hope that on our trek if we choose to do things slightly less than coachman standard, we will be forgiven!

Anyway, that's all from me. I'm exhausted! Pulling up two clydesdales before stop signs at an intersection is hard work for my scrawny arms!

Monday, November 29, 2010

On the search for our first horse...

Alright, so Brent and I have had a look at two horses this week. We need to look for horses who are harness trained on top of a very long list of requirements! It's difficult because no horse is perfect but you need to be wise in what you choose to compromise.
Our first horse we looked at was out Rodney ways and she was an absolute sweetheart. Unfortunately she was not as fit and used to harnessing up as our next horse we looked at in Waiuku called Oscar. Oscar is less cuddly but he knows whats up. I still can't believe this happened but the owner said I could take him for a whirl on a sulky around a training track. A sulky is a little lightweight cart - the kind used in harness racing. Oscar is an ex racehorse.
I hesitated for a moment... and then jumped into it. Why not? The owner insisted it would be fine so hey, bring it on.
It turned out Oscar was a complete gentleman and really looked after me in the sulky. I had so much fun.
Yes so Brent and I are liking Oscar a lot. We found out his history from his veterinarian and he is a very healthy and fit horse with no health issues to report. However, on top of this, we need to get a vet check just to make sure there is nothing going on.
Hopefully all will run smoothly from here but we will keep you updated!

On another note, the wagon. It's a long road till we will have enough money for all our equipment but one rather necessary item is a wagon for us so we can both start driving as much as possible. We are currently on the look out for people who custom make carts etc and are hoping we can find something within our budget.

If you can, please keep us in your prayers for these things. We don't want to rely on ourselves and our own understanding but in God who oversees all and isn't short of cash. It is God that has inspired us for the journey and to God we give all the glory.

Hmm, I can't think of anything else that is new... when I remember I will update.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The wagon idea...

is final!
Brent and I have decided that we are going to use a wagon for the trek. At the moment we are seeking advice from many people who are experienced in the world of 'driving' horses and we have received much encouragement which is so amazing for us.
Some issues we are exploring are whether to drive 1 or 2 horses, how to tackle steep hills, how much weight to put on the wagon and how to shoe our horse(s).
We are already beginning the search for harness horses that may be suitable for the trek (and our lack of horse-driving experience!). Choosing horses is tricky. We will make sure that even if we love the horse to bits and are convinced that he or she is the horse for us, we will get a thorough vet check and someone to check the hooves and legs over very closely. As we will be travelling on tarmac, the hooves must be strong without a tendency for lameness. This is important for both the horse's health and for the sake of our trek. It is also very expensive and difficult to replace a harness horse so we need to be sure any horse we buy is physically fit and ready for the journey.
On another note, Brent and I expect to begin the fundraising process in February so make sure you are checking our events page!

Oh and if this adventure interests you, check our our friends website. Genna and Kerrin Revell have ridden horses all around New Zealand and they have an incredible book and DVD about it that you can purchase through the website. Brent and I have also been riding their horses and they have been a massive support for us in the planning for Hoofprints for Hope. Check them out at

If you would like to contact Brent and I, feel free! You can email us at


Monday, November 22, 2010

So, how are we doing this again?

It's amazing how when I you stop to think sometimes... I wonder why or how we are going to pull this all off! Regardless, we have to remain feeling optimistic...and we are!

Brent and I have been talking a lot recently about finances and we are rethinking some aspects of our trek. One idea has been that we loose our support crew and go intrepid (well, more so than before :P). With this comes many pros, one being that of finances as petrol for the adventure is costly! However, with the decision to loose a support crew, Brent and I have come against other issues such as not being able to take as much gear on the trek, worrying about what to do in the event of our pack horse becoming lame, the cost to maintain ideal weight for three horses as well as the inability to carry enough feed for them. The more horses we take, the more it costs to keep them on the road so to speak. Also, seeing as we are riding on tarmac a lot of the time, the horses shoes could wear down in a matter of days! For this reason, we are looking into hoof boots (see They are basically a hard wearing slip on shoe and they can be taken off and on. They can last much longer than a metal shoe and can provide more traction for the horse.

Another option we have brainstormed is hitching a horse or two onto a light wagon! This solves our problem of being able to carry feed and also means we would be maintaining less horses. However... niether Brent or myself can 'drive' a horse and so we would need to take lessons! This could be fun though as it is something new to us both.

Once we have made up our mind on what we are going to do, we are going to start the hunt for our horses! We need as much time with them as we can to build a relationship and also desensitize them to the multitude of scary sights and sounds that will come their way on the trek. We are so fortunate to have been offered free grazing in Hunua for next year which is a miracle!

Oh yes, TEAR Fund are also activating a donation page for us soon (thanks guys!) so you can sponsor us! Go on - make all this worth it!

Will keep you posted,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Surrounded my maps!

Hey blog readers,

I thought it was about time to post a bit of an update! So as you could probably guess, the more we think about and organize Hoofprints for Hope, the more we realize we need to do! It's SUCH a massive task and lots of people think we are just crazy to want to do something like this. Fair enough (ha-ha) but you know what? We really beleive in this cause and it feels great to put time and energy into something that is bigger than ourselves. Of course this journey will be one Brent and I will never forget but it will partly be so due to all the challenges and not so high points that we will experience. We are so committed now to this journey and in the last few weeks, we have had a couple of knocks backward and a growing anxiety about finances for the trip. We beleive God will continue to provide for us but phew, it's a scary thing!
So anyway, to the topic of the blog - mapping! Our latest big task has been planning out route for the trek. We have decided to start in Bluff as it will be summer as we begin and we don't want to end up in the south island in winter (which is what would happen if we started in Cape Reinga!). So far, we have mapped out our route from the Bluff to Kaikoura which is 3/4 up the east coast of the South Island! It's a big job to map out a route but rewarding and exciting thinking about all the beautiful places we will be riding.
Brent and I are hoping to begin the fundraising process soon for the trek as well as seeking some sponsors. We firstly need to buy our horses and begin to bond with them and desensitize them to the roads and various sights and sounds. We also need to make sure that they (and we!) are fit for the journey. We will make sure they have had a couple of vet checks before we begin to make sure they are healthy and ready to travel the country with us!
In terms of sponsors, we are so reliant on these to come through for us so if you could keep us in your prayers that would be fantastic :)
If you know anyone who has some camping gear/horse equipment that they could donate, it would be so appreciated!
Yeah, so other than working hard on the route, Brent and I are excitied about planning our wedding too! We will be married only a couple of weeks before we hit the road...

Well that's all from me at the moment.

If you want to get in touch with us for any reason at all, we would be happy to hear from you and thank to those who have sent us emails of encouragement and support - blessings!

Sarah (& Brent)