So…my grand plan for a cool 30km ride this last Saturday over our NT. May Day long weekend wasn’t as much fun as I’d planned! It sounded so simple and constructive in my mind. Catch horse…Ride to 8 Mile Yards and help with some drafting and calf marking...Ride home again! Start getting fit for our upcoming H4C Awareness Ride and make decision on which of my lucky horses would make the cut and become part of the team; one of The Fantastic Four!
Take one: I had ridden half way there when my old school-master ‘Egnever’ was showing signs of not being so ‘sound’. No worries, my colts needed riding anyhoo, turn around and ride back to the ‘Aerodrome Paddock’ which is our horse paddock. Now the only problem was, my colts hadn’t been ridden since last November…no biggie they were young and paddock fit, running in a paddock aprox 1,500acres, so now just to finding and catching the lucky boy! Horses walk at aprox 5kms an hour, going on that I would still have plenty of daylight to get to 8 Mile and back before dark. Of course that depended on how long it would take to find him!
Take two: 2 hours later I’d found ‘Bloany’ (aptly named from his appearance: Blue, Roan, Pony – and standing at only about 14.2hh) I saddled him in the paddock and was off again. I’ll spare the antics of how I managed to catch him knowing if I slipped up and let one horse go without having the other secured, it was a long walk, aprox 4kms home with my saddle over my shoulder!
So as I said ‘Bloany’ hadn’t been ridden in about 6 months and although wasn’t really keen at first to leave his paddock mates, but by the time we reached the first gate has was walking out and had heard enough compliments to have bloated the ego of any young mind. He was going well!
Now just to paint the picture: ‘Bloany’ spent the first couple of years of his life as a bush horse, roaming as a youngster with his wild herd west of the Suplejack Ranges. He never had a cushy stable life upbringing, he had to walk for his food and water and fight for his life when there dingoes or other dangers threatening his mob. At about the age of 2 years he was trapped at the house yards and learnt that people were wonderful too. The first time I took feed to him in a bucket was hilarious…he couldn’t quite work it out and wasn’t at all impress with putting his head inside it (just in case it ate his head).
So travelling well we’d arrived at Maiden Bore about half way to 8 Mile. I took him over to the trough to have a drink, there were cattle already there drinking, so started the chain reaction…he scared the cattle who jumped and in turn scared ‘Bloany’ who then freaked out also jumping and balking out to the side, losing his footing and bringing us both crashing to the ground…again the thought of a very long walk home consumed my mind as I held for dear life to the reins as he jumped back to his feet and began to dash off. Unfortunately for me though the thought of something ‘having hold of him’ in his moment of confusion triggered his primitive thoughts as he kicked out collecting me in the thigh, dislodging me from the reins and confirming his freedom! Damn it…I didn’t want to walk the 8kms home! Thankfully ‘Bloany’ stopped and looked back at me with ‘What the hell was that’ kind of expression, and after some more sweet talk I’d caught him and we were off again. All the way to 8 Mile we rode and after about an 30 minute break, we turned and headed for home again…arriving just on dark! Mission Accomplished!
It kind of didn’t occur to me until that night with my throbbing left thigh having received a nasty blow and with the pretty purple, blue and maroon colours of bruising beginning to show, it could have been a lot worse. All in all I did have a good day, 30kms ride accomplished, determination granted and 1 horse for the ride locked in…Welcome to the H4C team ‘Bloany’ 30kms down only 1,000kms to go! :)