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18 June 2013

Reliable Man

A phone call with a friend last night reminded me that I hadn't ever properly finished my images. from Sydney Cup Day, including the images of Reliable Man winning the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.  Which puts into perspective how much the drama of the Gai Waterhouse-John Singletom image had overtaken things for me, as well as the whole Black Caviar stamp and coin launch.  Because it's a little remiss to do nothing with images of a horse like this.

There's every chance that we won't see this grey stallion race here again, because he broke down after the race.  But after the initial reports that the horse had bowed the tendon Chris Waller later tended this advice about the stallion's prognosis:   “He has bruising to the lower part of his tendon which will take three months to heal so he can’t race in the spring.”

The valuable stallion is by the champion French sire, Dalakhani (and racehorse, he won 4 G1 races in France, including the 2003 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe), and won the 2011 G1 French Derby, as well as performing well behind the champion So You Think in England last year.  He was having only his 2nd start in Australia, and it was as emphatic a win as you could hope for.

As I thought, I am stiff and sore through the left hand side today after jumping yesterday, particularly through my shoulder.  But Grant and I had a nice chat after the lesson about balance and coordination, and the horse himself.  I think one of the important things about working with horses is an ability to understand the horse, and find a way to work with the horse, and not try to dominate him.  

 It's a bit like how we should handle our personal and business lives.  Firm boundaries.  Being immovable on the important bits.  But without trying to be controlling and domineering.  Always ask and expect the horse to want to work with you, and want to do his best for you, simply because he wants to (even when he finds it difficult physically or mentally).  It's that old adage.  They should do it because they want to do it and are happy to do it.  Not because they are being forced to do it.  All that creates is conflict and misery.  Grant explained to me as well that if the horse isn't happy when he lands (ie - when I didn't ride him forward enough and then didn't go forward enough myself as we jumped, we had a yukky landing, and a yukky landing/ending means you don't want to do the starting again), that he's going to start refusing, because in order to take off happy he has to land happy.  It made a lot of sense to me.  So I have digested all of the things that I need to improve on for next week, and will turn up full of determination to do it better next week.


The usual Tuesday night is over.  The kids have had their swimming lesson, and we're back from Tom's house.  My hair smells of the fire, as we sat outside with a glass or red wine around Pam's fire bucket.  She roasted chestnuts, which were pretty good.   I even got the hang of peeling them.  I'll put on a DVD and do some bookwork until Royal Ascot commences.  I'm still sleeping badly, so I'm tired, but can't go to bed too early.  My 'new boy', the American champion Animal Kingdom who will stand this spring at Arrowfield Stud, is in the first race at 11.30pm.

My mind rewinds back 12 months.  There are some parts of me that makes it feel a lifetime ago?  This time last year I was in despair about Black Caviar racing and me being stranded back in Australia.  One of my best friends Lyn is in England again now, and will be at Ascot this week.  I got a couple of lovely emails from her yesterday.  I'd love to be with her.  Just as I'd love for many things to come true.  Thinking big?  Dreaming big?  Well, I always say, if you don't ask, you don't get.....

Reliable Man.  G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.  27 April 2013.

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