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11 February 2015

To the beach

I've been talking about doing this for AGES and last weekend we finally managed it.  My lovely mare and I went to the beach for the very first time.  To tell the truth she was terribly behaved the first trip, and bordered on dangerous, almost leaping on top of me as she plunged around when I finally got her through the narrow walkway.  At 21 years of age she should know better but she completely lost her head and it reminded me as I struggled to control her leaping high above me how far from strong I still am.  There are times when horses, due to their sheer size and unpredictability, give you a real wake up call as to how strong and powerful they really are.  She's normally very well behaved and very obedient but she really lost her head on the first trip.  As a result it took me a fair while before I got on her and to be completely honest I was really pleased to see my friend Britt who helped me enormously by jumping on her first.  I'm still being careful and probably still getting my confidence back after being so sick and so it was awesome of Britt to jump on a still very flightly mare.  Darren and I returned to the beach the following morning with her and she was a fair bit better behaved although still difficult to manage on a couple of occasions.  I didn't waste much time and jumped on fairly quickly and she was pretty good after I was in the saddle.  Darren showed considerable horsemanship in hanging on to my plunging mare when she reared and leapt after we left the beach.  She was impatient to leave the carpark and didn't appreciate stopping to loosen the girth!  He's very good with her and I was thankful to have his strength at the end of it all!

Jessica took a lovely couple of photos.

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06 February 2015

Vale Hay List

Late on Wednesday evening news seeped out that the great sprinter Hay List, a hulking giant of a horse, had been put down due to laminitis.  

The big horse was trained by John McNair and is best remembered as being the horse who pushed the champion Black Caviar the most.  He ran 2nd to her 3 times and their battles in the 2011 TJ Smith and BTC Cup, as well as the 2012 Lightning Stakes are now part of racing folklore.  Hay List, perhaps because of his size, was a chronically unsound horse with leg and feet issues.  He also suffered at least one serious bout of colic and fought back from the brink a number of times.  His trainer John and his wife Sue adored the horse and he had a large following. 

In the absence of The Famous Pony Hay List claimed 3 Group 1 wins, the 2010 Manikato Stakes, the 2011 All Aged Stakes and the 2012 Newmarket Handicap, where he set a new weight carrying record of 58.5kg.  He died at his home on John McNair's central coast property where he is now buried. 

Getting back on track

As I explained in my last post, I've been unwell and as a result I had stopped writing.  In fact I've had to stop doing a lot of things!  Thankfully I'm well on the way to recovery and that's a nice thing.  As such I'm getting back on top of things and resurrecting my Blog is part of that process.

While I am loath to begin posting again on the subject of the deaths of horses who have been important to me, that is what I will do because I think the horses' legacies deserve this.  The most recent horse to be lost was Burnstone.  Burnstone was a lovely little 2yo colt sired by 'my boy' Redoute's Choice, out of the mare Merlene de Lago who as her name suggests is a daughter of the 1996 Golden Slipper winner Merlene.  He had an apparent heart attack at trackwork and collapsed and died.  He'd won his only race at Sandown a couple of weeks ago and was considered a real chance in the Blue Diamond Stakes.  He was trained by Robbie Griffiths and all associated with the colt were shattered.  So was everyone at Arrowfield Stud who bred him. As was I. 

Burnstone (Redoute's Choice - Merlene de Lago) winning the Blue Diamond Preview at Sandown on 26 January 2015.

Merlene winning the 1996 Golden Slipper
The great sire himself, Redoute's Choice.