David L O Smith - Home

Nassim - The Skoura to Tarbahlt Desert Trail

Horses in the desert at the end of the Tarbahlt Desert Trail

   

Here I am with Nassim again, this time on the Skoura to Tarbahlt Desert Trail in February/March, 2006 when I was an escort for Unicorn Trails to a party of riders who raised nearly 100,000 euro for the Irish Heart Foundation on the Moroccan Horse Trek Challenge. 

I was very proud to have been included in this challenge and, though I was a little anxious at the responsibility for the first two days, I soon relaxed and thoroughly appreciated the experience.  Everybody completed the challenge and had great stories and memories to take home with them.

For me, the highlight was: you take 36 intermediate and advanced riders and give them each a Berber Arab stallion which they ride over really taxing terrain for up to nine hours a day for five and a half days so that the riders know where all the buttons are and when to press them.  And then, on the last afternoon, you line them all up side by side in the open desert and a signal is given ...

What happens next I will leave to your imagination, but you may watch the video (below) of the gallop*.  Nassim and I came in third, not that it was really a race, you understand!  I don't suppose I'll ever hear the sound of 144 hooves thundering in the desert again but I'm glad I was in there just the once.

David L O Smith with Nassim

*This video clip is 2 minutes, with a subtitle of: "I'm not sure if this was covered by the travel insurance!"

After the first gallop

At the end of the gallop in the desert

We set up our camps in some most isolated but beautiful places.  Just for the Irish, it rained at this one for a while during the evening but we were rewarded with a spectacular rainbow.

My boy Nassim

My boy!

Camp in the desert sand dunes

We set up our final camp in the crescent of a desert sand dune.

See captioned pictures of earlier trip with Nassim on the High Atlas Crossing.

Back to my horses