Marianne van der Weele – The Netherlands

I receive occasional posts and letters from other equestrian travelers, and this lady I particularly feel a resonance with as a fellow woman and Fjord traveler. Here is her lovely letter and photos of her and her travelling companions.

Thank you, Marianne van der Weele, for your ever-so-lovely letter!


Dear Bernice,

Just an email to tell you how happy I am to have found your book. I’ve been reading all day and filling up with happy memories.

I am from the Netherlands and in 1984, I set out with a couple of friends, in a horse wagon that they constructed themselves, with a team of Fjord horses.

Marianne van der Weele’s travelling companions, 1984.

One of them was rather inexperienced, and here about, there is an awful lot of traffic, so I used to walk by her side and sing to her, for days on end, until finally she settled into the travelling.

Those days, walking beside her, was my “coming into my own skin” as you so beautifully describe it.

We drove all the way to France, where we built another wagon for myself, and I found myself a Fjord horse. She loved travelling, always eager to go, to explore the next step, to meet new people.

You mention so many things in your book that bring images back to mind instantly.

The Trail Angels in all their unexpected forms, the generosity, the openness and friendliness of total strangers. I was 24 at the time, and due to what I experienced in life so far, had not so much trust in others. The years on the road changed that for the better.

The endless number of people that tell you you are living their dream.

The one day I walked into a store and saw someone coming towards me, and I thought, “Wow, she looks pretty wild” before realizing I was seeing myself in a mirror….

After 4 years, I returned to Holland, to live another life. I gave my mare to a man she fell in love with, as there was no denying that, nor the fact that she simply loved being on the road, I know that they travelled on to Spain and were very happy together.

You must get mail like this plenty, but my heart does a little dance and I really want to show you a picture of my Icelandic horse, which I shall attach.

Marianne van der Weele and her Icelandic mare.

I don’t see her everyday anymore, she’s at a boarding stable, living her very happy life with her friends. I am 60, she’s 31 now, I rode her until last winter and now when we go out I walk alongside her, which is just as well.

I will be following you on facebook and such, thank you for writing your story so honestly.

All the best to you,

With Love,

Marianne van der Weele