Woman rides horses across two continents - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Woman rides horses across two continents

December 16, 2003

Camilla- In June of 2002, Marianne DuToit began her journey in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Now, 18 months later, she's made it to Mitchell County, Georgia.

"I've traveled through South America, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, and then I traveled through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala as far as across the border and into Mexico," says DuToit.

With just two horses, a tent, veterinary supplies, and a lot of courage, the 32-year old South African set out to travel across North and South America hoping to raise enough money to help disabled children in Ireland, where she now resides.

"I want to build a riding school, an equestrian center for children with disability on my return just outside of Dublin where I live. From a physical point of view, first of all, it's great for better coordination and it strengthens the muscles. From a psychological point of view, it's just amazing for their self confidence because it's such a challenge."

DuToit has never been to North or South America, and hasn't even planned her route. She just relies on the generosity of others along the way to board Toto and Pepsi and give her a safe place to rest for the night.

"I really had to take a leap of faith and just believe in people, and I had the obstacle in Latin American because I didn't speak Spanish which I learned very quickly. My first worry would be to find a safe place for the horses. Once I know they are okay, they've been fed, and they have water, I don't really care. I'd sleep in a tree I don't really care so much for myself."

DuToit says South Georgians have embraced her with open arms, and as she completes her journey she's hoping the rest of the country will do the same.

She hopes to make it to New York by the end of March. When she arrives she plans to solicit American sponsors for her therapeutic riding school.

Posted at 5:20 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com