The other day I went for lunch there where the tree with the light green leaves has shed its soft and delicate autumn leaves, so light that even the slightest breeze can float their graceful shapes up and about …

It was as I left after the lunch that I met a horse called Ice.

The most mesmerizing aspect of him are his eyes … a pale blue Cosmos that is no longer dark, full of human friendly light.

Something in those eyes and the way that we would mostly react suggests who we should be …

Of course I first saw the cart that Ice was pulling, and its three passengers.


Ricardo, Mark and Phyllis are their names.

Ricardo is the tall skinny one full of tattoos, Mark the shorter fella, and the beautiful name of Phyllis their female companion.

Cape Town is full of Ricardos, Marios, Enricos etc.


There were about seventy thousand Italian POWs in South Africa during WW2 and about 90% asked to stay on in the country once they were to be released!

Mountain roads were built by them, vineyards were planted, artisans were deployed into a myriad different production instances – but even so the South African government of the time allowed only ten percent of the POWs to stay on and sent the rest back home!

It must have been the sun and the wine that makes Ricardo not an uncommon name here in Cape Town – especially Ricardo.

The scene was colourful, that beautiful horse, the builders rubble the contrast in the cart, and the beautiful name of Phyllis atop the cart.

These are streetwise people, living on the edge, the same as those who push trolleys around in wind and rain in the early morning hours working the refuse bins for income.

Most importantly they are people, with the same needs as the rest of us – and sharing the same journey as this threesome is A Horse Called Ice.

I have no doubt that they love Ice.

Ricardo was eager to show me his eyes, as explanation for why they called him Ice.

Look, look at his eyes, he proudly said.


One look into those eyes and you will fall in love instantly with Ice.

We hire him out for two hundred rand a day (about fifteen or twenty dollars), Mark The Negotiator said.


As I am with this magnificent South African bank that provides free card swipes I never – or hardly ever carry money on me.

Okay, I said to them, just wait here, I will go and draw some cash from one of the national food retailers that empty their cash tills on behalf of this bank. Forget ATMs, just draw for almost nothing wherever these retailers have branches.

The threesome and Ice were not going anywhere, so it was no surprise that they were still there when I got back.

Their eyes lit up as I handed over my ‘hiring fee’ – before Ice went home I am sure that others like myself would have hired him for the day, over and over again, the rubble in the cart would have not increased in volume, probably it would still be there for the next day’s work … part of the crafted sales pitch?


Ricardo will show off the Eyes of Ice and so hopefully it will continue, day after day …

Cape Town has a few of these horse and carts.

I did some research online and found the website non profit that seeks to help out and take care of the well being of the horses and their dependants:

Unrelated to this website, there is no hidden agenda in this article other than to help touch a few more hearts out there …

As they rode off with my two hundred bucks Phyllis could have been The Lady Of The Manor, Ricardo and Mark her landed gentry companions …

Ice pulled with confidence, without hesitation, his clip clops on the tar rhythmic and strong …

Copyright © 2015 G. Rigotti



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