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03 May 2013

The sounds and smells of horses

I am down at Forest Park again this afternoon. Jessica has her weekly riding lesson on a Friday. This is week 1 of her 2nd term. The lessons are expensive and I am doing it on my own, but the look on her face makes it worth it.  Forest Park is where half of the ACT population learned and continue to learn to ride. It is the same place where I am coming to jumping lessons with Grant Hughes. Grant has owned it for about 35 years and if course now he is starting to teach the kids of his former (or current!) students to ride.

Horses can become such a way of life. I feel an instant calmness when I walk through a feed room and tack room, breathing in the smells of lucerne, grains, and leather. And there's a peculiar satisfaction to getting my good jumper stupidly dirty within 40 seconds of entering the horse's stable. The smart thing of course would have been to put my old jumper on, but I forgot!! And there is no better feel than the one that exists when I am astride a horse. One of these days I will get some proper photos of me riding too.

I've just watched Jessica kicking wildly to get the pony to trot whilst doing a great job of putting the brakes on too! "Jessica!! Don't pull on his mouth when you ask him to trot!" I say, knowing full well that I am being one of those mothers who help out a little bit! But the instructor was busy with another wayward pony!!

But I love watching her confidence grow on the horse. She is getting the rhythm when she rises to the trot now. It makes my heart fill with joy. She has a lovely natural little seat and naturally looks nice in the saddle. "Hands down, hands down, tighten your reins". She's trying to do sitting trot., but bursting into uncontrollable giggles isn't helping her.

So my mind fast forwards to a day when it's not such a struggle and I can afford a new horse not just for me but the kids as well. Because surely photographing at their pony club and competitions would be just as much fun as photographing their soccer games. Heath starts soccer tomorrow at the entirely civilized game time of 1.45pm. Much better than 9.00am on a winter morning in Canberra. It grows cold already. Minus 2 last night. The trees are turning and Canberra is pretty at this time of year. The light is pretty and soft, and warm. The colours are red, gold and amber.

I didn't take these images today. They are from last term. I didn't bring the camera this afternoon which is just as well because although she's riding beautifully they are in the indoor and it is almost dark!!!

Postscript:  Its Friday night.  Essentially it's been a nice and productive day, with some special errands to get done, as well as the more usual housekeeping jobs that always seem due by Friday.  Perhaps the day raised more questions than answers?  I don't know.  However, Freelance has a warm blanket on tonight. The roast chicken was ace and I no longer have to look dubiously at the instant Gravox instructions. I am sitting down for some peace and quiet with a new DVD.  It's one of those dreaded "Pommy Period Pieces" that used to be a banned item. I bought Series 1 of Downtown Abbey, a series I've mostly only watched at my sister's house in Melbourne.  So I'm having a little taste of Melbourne tonight.  It's got Hugh Bonnerville in it, who's one of my famous actors.  Who can forget him in Notting Hill?  "Bollocksed up at work again...  millions down the drain..."..  or "well, nobody fancies me, and if these cheeks get any chubbier, nobody ever will"...

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