Anthea Hughes & Her Horse Dixie

Anthea: “Life as I know it really started in the small West Coast town of Saldanha, where my brother and I grew up in a loving, happy home with our parents.

We spent weekends in the beach buggy riding over the dunes or playing in the rock pools catching fish while our dad was diving for crayfish or abalone (still legal in those days!) while mom chilled with a book or “jolling” on the beach.

We were privileged to grow up in a home on the beachfront, so our backyard was the sea sand and the waves.  The sea has always been a constant in my life, and I cannot imagine a life without it.

Fast forward 20 odd years and I moved to Walvis Bay in Namibia, where my only child was born.  My son Hugo is now a candidate attorney in Bloemfontein, and he is my pride and joy.

Saam met Hugo

Life threw a few curve balls at me – as it sometimes does – but I came back stronger and in 1997 I moved back to the West Coast., where I met my husband, Derek and to make a long story short, I am now living the good life right where I started out, only 2 streets away from where I spent my happy childhood.  As a bonus, I became another son richer when Derek and I married, and Craig completes the picture.

As far as earning a living goes, I have been a secretary / personal assistant for the past 22 years, starting out at Coopers & Lybrand, then KPMG Auditors, then moved into the steel industry at Arcelor Mittal Saldanha and for the past 13 years at Duferco Steel Processing, an international company with our headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland.

In October 2016, however, I took a leap of faith and moved into the field of Procurement, after qualifying myself in 2008 to become a Buyer.  It was time for a change, but boy was I unprepared for the emotional challenges I would face after 22 years in a comfort zone!!  I am learning every day, with teachable moments and small triumphs paving the way for my future.

Anthea met rooi hoed

Another constant in my life has always been my animals – I do not recall ever being without a pet to love.  I have to admit that I am not a huge cat lover, but there was a time when I stayed on the 9th floor of a building in Windhoek where the only option was a cat, so I had a cat – best I don’t elaborate too much

Then there was the usual goldfish and bird in a cage stage that most mothers have to endure, which we did too.  But dogs ….. I love dogs.  Give me a yard full of dogs and I am happy. My other big love is horses, which brings me to the one animal that has had the single biggest influence on my life to date.  She is a 10-year-old Pinto mare called Dixie.

Dixie is amazingly beautiful.  She is brave.  She is fierce and has an attitude second to none.  She is kind and loving, but also very stubborn.  She is adventurous and willing and very, very clever.  She is happiness personified (if an animal can be “person”ified).

We ride 3-5 times a week either in the SAS nature reserve, on beaches, over dunes (me and the dunes again), for breakfast rides to Jacobs Bay or on Sunday outings to Paternoster Beach with hubby on his mountain bike.  Ultimately, we are happy hackers, but Dixie is willing to try everything.

Anthea 1

Dixie and I have successfully completed 2 endurance rides of 40km each. We have also participated in local fun jumping shows, as well as trail rides and fox hunts.

Perdry

As long as I don’t put her in an arena to do dressage steps, she is happy and so am I. The best part of all of this is that I am privileged to have my husband’s support for my love of riding.

Derek often joins me on his mountain bike for a ride.  It is our “thing”, and we both love it.  There was a time when I gave cycling a shot (we completed a number of Cape Argus Cycle Tours on our tandem), but it was not for me.  Just give me my leather boots, my bridle, and my saddle and I am happy as can be.

Anthea en Derek op strand

A last thought about the curveballs in life …..  I love the saying
“Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack”.

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