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28 February 2014


Ok, so all I can do is think crossly to myself that I'm still not riding the way I know that I can, that my position on the horse is still not great, and I'm wishing that I had some proper lovely images of me riding.  This is the handful I could scratch up where the horse wasn't tiny in the frame and was in sort of the right angle.   

I think Archie needs to lose more weight!  I don't think I need to join him in this.  His bottom and tummy are the size of Brazil..  I am not eating brilliantly again and therefore mine are not!  I'm tiny, and he is not...


I recently tried watching a little bit of Gone With The Wind.  It's always problematic what I put on at night.  I always have trouble getting Heath to sleep and to STAY-IN-BED and if he hears something that is vaguely interesting to him, up he pops like a rat up a drainpipe...  I put Gone With The Wind on, which I always liked, and of course when the Civil War scenes came on (I might mention that this is all AFTER 10pm!!!!) out he comes...  And so I switch it off again.  I liked Scarlett though.  She was this tough, beautiful, determined and feisty woman.  Ok, so she had terrible taste in men..  I guess we can all be a little guilty of that can't we though?  I didn't ever understand how she was so besotted with the drip that was Ashley Wilkes when she had the horse riding and ever so slightly Bad-Ass Rhett Butler courting her.  And he was actually in love with her too, because he loved her spirit.  I always thought that this was one of the great lines in the movie, when Rhett said to Scarlett:
"I feel sorry for you....  because you're throwing away happiness with both hands and reaching out for something that'll never make you happy".
This morning I logged onto Facebook briefly.  There are times when I think it can feel like hard work.  I am tired of riddles and of trying to work some people out. I realise that the "bleedin' obvious" (to quote Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers) is probably staring me in the face.  It still seems hard to believe though.  Perhaps it's just as  hard for them?  So I try to keep my spirits up and not let it get me down.  It's really hard though when it was something I believed in with all my heart.  In the meantime, I'm almost off for my dressage lesson this morning.  And that will be a thoroughly good thing for me....


After doing my regular Friday house keeping, I headed out to Lyn's. My lesson went really well. I learnt a few more things about Archie today. Lyn had her lesson first. I photographed some of it but then had to get Archie saddled. Lyn took some photos of me. Lyn us a great painter. She's not much of a photographer!  As a result there's hardly anything nice of me. In what ahe did take, as expected, I scowled crossly and reminded myself sharply to carry my hands better and to not drop my wrists. No wonder when I get it right he suddenly travels better!!  Di managed to help me get the left canter. She agreed he is much trickier on the left rein. It's not just me being hopeless and uncoordinated. 

We checked our PO Box after school.  Heath's waiting desperately for his new Sonic Screwdriver. We thought it had arrived today with a parcel notice. He lined up while I went to the supermarket. He joined me there and his face crumpled. It wasn't his Other Doctor treasure. It was an insulin pen. He burst into tears and I hugged him close. Like I said, there's been some tough aspects to today.

We return to the beach for AFL training. I still hardly know any of the parents. It makes me take a deep breath and wish I had a camera to hide behind.  I watched Heath running at school in the usual "Ready, Set, Go". The other boys are faster than him. I hope he doesn't get swallowed up. 

27 February 2014

All You Need is Love.....

Maybe I should stop watching Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail", and stop watching romantic films altogether....    I'm not sure they do me much good!

"A snap to find the one single person in the world who fills your heart with joy"  
"Dream, when you're feeling blue.   Dream, that's the thing to do....  Just...  watch the smoke rings rise in the air...  You'll find your share...  of memories there, so....  Dream, when the day is through..   Dream, and they might come true...  Things are never as bad as they seem, so, dream, dream, dream....." 
My day has been filled with horses today before picking the kids up from school.  That's not such a bad day.  I rode Archie this morning, and I hopped on Lyn's other horse Boz as well.  He's a little bit more established than Archie is, and it made me long for Freelance just a little bit.  Archie is coming along beautifully, but he's not well established yet and it's a lovely feeling being back on a warmblood.  I sighed slightly and thought I must get organised to get my beautiful brown mare down with us.

After I worked Archie I traveled to Caulfield, to Mick Price's stables to be exact, where I had a little fiddle with The Love Horse, as I call him, Lankan Rupee.  As always I have a little cuddle with each horse I photograph.  I can't help myself.  And as I worked with him I found myself feeling sad about the decision to geld him (which has made him as a racehorse) because goodness I'd have had fun with this fellow.  I like to think he's have ended up at Arrowfield had he stayed a stallion, and that as such, he'd have become one of 'My Boys'.  I will have to console myself with fiddling about with him during his racing days and then perhaps trying to convince Mick that he would make me a very nice dressage horse at the end of his racing days.

Jessica had another playdate this afternoon.  They have this gorgeous house on 4 acres..  I find myself wondering how can we possibly compete with some of these beautiful houses.  I will be able (I hope) to buy a house, but it's just me on my own which makes it harder.  I found myself stupidly worrying about whether we will come up to scratch, and had to force myself to take a big breath.   

When we got home, after dinner I had a little flick through the images from the photoshoot this afternoon.  This time it was Jessica's turn to come and look at the images of the bright bay horse on my big screen..  She stared for a moment, then asked haltingly "mummy, that's not a real love heart is it?"  To which I say gently that it is a real one, and not a drawn on one.  Then I said to her "who do you think his Daddy is???"  She held her breath, giggled, and then asked "Doutsey?????"  - that's code for Redoute's Choice.  I hugged her and said yes, that's right......

"Love...  Love...  Love.....  All you need is love...."
Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice - Estelle Collection)

25 February 2014

Time after Time....

Periodically I get asked to research back through my library to find images on certain families, or horses owned by a breeder, etc.  The current set of images I'm going back through is the Teeley Asset draft which will be auctioned by Magic Millions.  Arrowfield Stud, whom I am Official Photographer for, is presenting the draft on behalf of Teeley Assets.  Teeley Assets is the breeding arm of Muzaffar Yaseen.  The story of his involvement in breeding and racing was written up beautifully by Arrowfield Stud after his filly Miracles of Life won the 2013 Blue Diamond Stakes.

12 months later Mr Yaseen again won a Group 1 race on Blue Diamond Stakes day with another horse he owns and bred, called Lankan Rupee.  I call him the Love Heart horse.  He's by 'my boy' Redoute's Choice, who I have photographed exclusively for Mr John Messara at Arrowfield Stud since 2008.  I love my role with Arrowfield Stud and I love that Mr Messara entrusts his horses with me and that he likes and values my work.

Mr Yaseen is dispersing his bloodstock interests, and below is a little snapshot of the images I've pulled together for Magic Million and Arrowfield.  It's always a bit of fun going back through the library.  I spotted an image of Gai, because she trained Redoute's Choice's full brother Platinum Scissors.  He won the G1 Spring Champion Stakes and the G2 Norman Robinson Stakes in 2002.  Alas he had fertility issues and wasn't able to follow in the illustrious footsteps of his very famous older brother.  Looking back at the images taken of Gai 12 years ago reminds me of the aging process.  Is age catching up with us all?  I guess it is.............

Yours truly.  Taken by my buddy Bruno on the Gold Coast - January 2014.  Time marches on.
The first racehorse bred by Mr Yaseen, Redoute's Choice, who was out of his blue chip mare Shantha's Choice, wins his first race, the MRC Verve Cliquot Stakes (LR) a week before the Blue Diamond.
Had a horse ever won a Blue Diamond at only their 2nd start?  Redoute's Choice did...  A young Danny Nikolic had the ride that day.

Redoute's Choice defeats Testa Rossa in a landmark Caulfield Guineas in 1999.  They say this race makes stallions.
Redoute's defeating Miss Pennymoney and Intergaze in the 2000 CF Orr Stakes.

A very young looking trio - John Messara, Darren Beadman and Rick Hore-Lacy
My first time photographing Redoute's Choice as a stallion.  I've been photographing Arrowfield's stallions exclusively ever since
Redoute's Choice in 2009.  Well and truly a legend by now.
Sliding Cube in 2007.  She was by Rock of Gibraltar out of Shantha's Choice.  A half sister to Redoute's Choice and Manhattan Rain.  The dam of Rubick.

Manhattan Rain (Encosta de Lago - Shantha's Choice)

Platinum Scissors (Danehill - Shantha's Choice) - a full brother to Redoute's Choice - after winning the 2002 Norman Robinson Stakes.
A young looking Gai Waterhouse and Iris O'Farrell after Platinum Scissors victory.
Platinum Scissors

24 February 2014

Self Doubt - Even from One of the Greats.....

I limped along today after what can best be described as a terrible night's sleep.  Lots of caffeine got me through the trip to the Children's Hospital and the return trip.  I stop and think goodness, what a pansy I must suddenly sound like, it's only just over an hour each way!!!!  But I was just so tired I felt like to could barely keep my eyes open.  It seems every now and again events conspire to give me a night like this, after which I limp along feeling sad and miserable all day.

Because I've had a day tied up with my kids I've not gotten a lot of work done today.  I hear you ask "are you knuckling down tomorrow????"  "Yes I am" I say dutifully, then I hesitate and add with just a hint of defiance "after I've worked Archie in the morning...." 

I've rattled on about great photographers in the past.  And how they inspire me.  I've mentioned this man, Delly Carr, in a recent Blog Post too.  This is his final post from Sochi.  If you have time, you should read it.  I think Delly Carr is an amazing photographer and his point that he has done all of this freelance shouldn't be underestimated.  I've said it before that the freelance gig isn't always easy but he's clearly so lacking in arrogance and his comments on the mistakes he makes/made endearing.  This is a little excerpt, but please take the time to read his whole Blog:

"Russia, you have won me over in a weird perverse kind of way.

As an Aussie Alpha Male I am not ashamed to say that the Hockey match favourite moment was almost surpassed by the Russian ice dancing pair of  Elena Llinykh and Nikita Katsalapov doing Natalie Portman’s evil doppelganger ‘Black Swan’ to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’.  A plunging neckline, a black tutu, a tortured sorceress …. the Olympics got a bit darker and sexier. Just like my chocolate and coffee, I love Dark and Sexy.

I photographed the routine distracted by goosebumps and wonderment. ‘Swan Lake’, I finally get it.  The packed stadium was mesmerized. A standing emotional ovation. Tears welled into my eyes. My Alpha Male membership was revoked.
I photographed the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver Canada, and I thought rather poorly. I didn’t get what the sports were about. I couldn’t handle the cold. I partied too hard with my ITU buddies. The maple syrup was too sweet.

I came to Russia to redeem myself. To make peace with my work and the Winter Olympics.  Yet I bumbled my way throughout these Olympics in far greater degrees than before. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes twice, yet this time however I made them 5 or 6 times just to be sure.  I was never really comfortable or confident. Never a groove to dance to.  But I still walk away tall and proud....."
Delly Carr
I used to go about the racetrack keeping to myself and doing my own thing. I was too shy to talk to anyone in the Racing Industry apart from other photographers.  Even then, there were a number of photographers (mostly from the newspapers) who I was far too shy to talk to for ages and ages.  I used to look up to this group of photographers in awe. Rightly or wrongly I had some of them up on pretty decent pedestals too.  This was a bit silly, because at least in Melbourne most of them were  really lovely people.  Of course that's not to say that there weren't some huge egos and some pretty good displays of arrogance from time to time.

I tell myself that part of my awe was caused by their ability to come swaggering in with the benefit of Mr Murdoch's wallet (or Fairfax's wallet) which gave them access to some pretty amazing equipment, and their constant bylines in the papers.  It made me cross because I so desperately wanted to move to Melbourne and get a job with the papers photographing horses.  I'd been told (sort of recently actually) that I would never make it as a paper photographer, and that I wouldn't have what it takes.   I don't actually think this is true at all, but of course my children are my biggest hurdle when it comes to achieving career goals like this.  The impatient side of me (some will smile in amusement and say 'sorry, where does this mysterious patient side of you hide????') finds this hard at times although of course I will always put them first.

Still, it was hard not to be impressed back in those days. Some of these photographers had so much equipment they used trolleys!!!!  Back then I used to think 'goodness, you must be important if you have a trolley!!'.  Now I realise they were just being v v practical and sensible!!!!   I love my trolley!!!!  I especially love my trolley when I do not send an octopus strap crashing into my jaw (which of course made me frantic with pain and even more frantic about the swelling and bruising and how awful I would look).

As my last sentence implies, I've worked hard and now shoot with the same equipment that the newspapers use and I hope the same kind of ability.  I've stopped being so painfully shy and I can speak easily with the participants in the industry, even the heavyweights.  What's nice is that many of these people actually stop me to say hello to me now, and ask me how I am, or tell me they loved a particular image I took.  However I still have days when I am riddled by self-doubt and because of this I take great heart from reading about Delly's experience in Russia.

So....  Go and read Delly's final Russian Blog properly...  He's so ace..

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away???   Exceed and Excel winning at Randwick.

Exceed and Excel at Darley's Kelvinside Stud.  Aberdeen NSW.
Earthquake (Exceed and Excel - Cataclysm) winning the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes.

23 February 2014

Week's End

It's the end of the weekend.  We have been living in Victoria for almost a whole month now.  It's still a strange feeling.  I'm still discovering where so many things are, and many times I still feel like I am blindfolded because of this.

On Friday poor little Luke Batty's funeral was held just up the road from us in Tyabb.  I am going to do some casual work for one of the papers as things come up but I couldn't face trying to cover the funeral, even as a freelancer.  It didn't seem right, and personally, it was an event I simply couldn't face.  I watched some of it on the online news.  It made me cry.  I will need to toughen up somewhat if my dreams of branching out come to fruition.

I often wonder how people claim (or insist) they love someone yet act in a way that hurts the person they are supposed to love.  I wonder at the strength shown by Luke's mother Rosie.  She seems capable of great forgiveness and strength.  Am I capable of such forgiveness?  I'm not sure...  I guess I took a deep breath and I am trying my best in the last week or so...  Does it pay off?  It's sad when someone stands firm and says 'this isn't ok, please show me some respect' but is instead met with constant anger.. 

The day at Caulfield yesterday went well for me.  I continue to be amazed by the achievements of Redoute's Choice.  His son Lankan Rupee, the love heart horse, won the Oakleigh Plate in breathtaking fashion.  The real shame for me is that I can never photograph him as a stallion because they gelded him. It's made him as a racehorse, but wouldn't he have been gorgeous to photograph.  My son Heath asked me if someone had painted the love heart onto his face.  I smiled and said it was real..  It's so fantastic.  

I admit that I wished the colt Rubick had of won the Blue Diamond Stakes.  I like Earthquake and she's clearly exceptional.  But, as I am far to prone to, I had grown fond of the bright bay colt Rubick. 

My mum is here overnight and my sister and her family visited us briefly this afternoon.  She got to meet the Bad Ass Maxie for the first time today.  Then later in the afternoon we all went to Lyn's house.  I wanted to work Archie and Jessica rode Khadet.  Archie was prone (again) to stargaze and he didn't want to go forward and he didn't want to work into the bridle.  I am endeavouring to ride him patiently and firmly.  After much perserving he finally consented to going better even though it took him twice as long as it should have.  If I'd had a friend photographing us today I'm sure I'd have hated 80% of the images.  He's better when he puts his hair on and agrees to go forward....


It's midnight. I should be asleep. But tonight it is hard. And it's just made much harder by a rasping noise right outside my bedroom. I'm told it is a possum. Bastard!!  Ordinarily I like possums but tonight it is making me feel rattled and Maxie pace the house. It sounded like it was on the path outside my window but when I went outside there was no sign of it, only the sound. I sigh and wonder how long it will keep a bad sleeper like me awake for. 

Speaking of sleep, want to hear my latest dream??  I was riding Archie (in my dream). He got cross about things. He wouldn't go forward. He wouldn't canter. Instead he lay down on the ground. Crazy, right????  I'm sure I've used the wrong word there but that's my dream. These here are crazy times...

Fiorente.  I love that he won yesterday.  I wanted him to...

The Love Horse...  Do I still believe in it?  I'm trying to..
Lankan Rupee.. Breathtaking in the Oakleigh Plate.