“Most of the work done on this paper has done so in South Africa, where I’ve done a two month internship in the stable yard of African Dream Horse Safari.

First of all I would like to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to go there. Secondly my thanks go to Traci and Terhi for teaching me so much about horses and horse riding. And I would like to thank Glen for all the drives and walks in Jejane and for teaching me about the bush. I really enjoyed my stay there and wish it could have been longer.

Special thanks go to the entire Thomson family in Hoedspruit, South Africa. They don’t just run a student program but they look after their students as family. And I think I can speak for many when I say that that is the reason why “homesick” is a word not often spoken by their students.

I would like to thank Rachel en Jane, the two other students, for showing me ways to ride that I hadn’t seen before. Rachel riding bareback while playing the guitar and Jane who even went on trail with a broken leg, and then I don’t even mention the small jumps! My thanks also go everyone at the yard (Nicola, David, Georgina and every rider!) for making my internship there a truly amazing and fun experience. And a great thank you is for Nicola, for taking me and Jane to the Elephant Sanctuary and the panoramic route. That day was awesome!

I also very much appreciate the help of Peter Rogers, the local vet. My interview with him gave me the information needed to finish this paper. I would also like to thank Liesbeth De Sadeleer, my promoter, for all the help in correcting and pointing out fragments that needed revision.

And though maybe strange for a non rider to read, I would also like to thank Solar Flare, my favorite horse. Though we had our arguments, he learned me so much. And his most important lesson, as long as there is food, one does not really need to worry! In a way he made this paper personal for me.

This paper isn’t just about a viral disease, it is written to give people an idea of how terrible that virus can be and that we have to do everything in our power to safeguard horses like Solar. He was a good friend and gave me the best ride I ever had, so the least I can do now is to write this paper in his name and defence.

And at last I would like to thank the two buffalo bulls for changing their stampeding direction at the last few seconds, evading thereby me and Glen. If they didn’t both my running and tree climbing skills would have been put to the limit.

Written by Dieter (Netherlands)