BRONWEN HEALY PHOTOGRAPHY

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14 June 2013

From the Upturned Bucket

I often wonder whether I do my best thinking when I'm sitting on my bucket listening to Freelance eat. Either here or when I'm on the road I guess. Some will have a visual picture in their mind, but for those of you who haven't been to my paddock (which admittedly isn't much), my bucket is yellow. It's also getting old now and is minus the handle. The attraction of my agistment property is that it is less than 5 mins from my tiny house.  Freelance has her own paddock, and it is only a short uphill walk to the large indoor arena. The downside is that I have no tackshed or feedroom at my paddock which I always dreamt of having, so my car is always filled with horse gear. And the property isn't brilliantly maintained. The arena has always had a drainage/flooding problem, and this morning parts of it resemble a bog. And the bogs are slippery.

When I was saddling her up this morning a huge flock of birds flew in from the nearby Stromlo Mountain. They were noisy. It reminded me of a little scene in Fellowship of The Ring.  But it turned out that these were nice birds, instead of the nasty crows who were the eyes of Saruman.  The birds at the paddock were black cockatoos. Heaps of them. It made me want to text my uncle Martin, because he's an avid bird photographer.

I worked Freelance as planned. The bottom and middle sections were boggy, so we went to the top and I asked the scary monster in the top right corner if we could share his space. He said that was ok but he'd have to come in and out of the hanging door from time to time. Freelance eyed him off suspiciously and rolled her eyes a little. She threw in an impressive buck on the lunge which made me see why I fall off when she does this. The hind legs were impressively high and she snaked the head down to the ground too. I said a little "gee I'm glad that was on the lunge" then made her think and work a little harder to get her focused again. When I jumped on her she was pretty good. We'd had some shies, one if which sparked the buck, when the monster went in and out if his door, so we were both eyeing his door a little suspiciously. But as planned this week I popped her into the canter. Yes. It's still a crummy and unbalanced canter. But the important thing was we cantered and she feels like a real horse, worked well, and I can feel my balance and coordination coming back. I'm pushing myself enough to progress without being stupid about it.

Happy Days? Well, I am doing my best....I pause to kiss Freelance's nose that she just pushed into my face, and think about packing up and going home.



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