Happy hacking

One of my favourite things about being here at Red Oak Farm is being able to ride outdoors again. While I was so in love with the luxury of the indoor arena at True Prospect, after 6 weeks of riding solely indoors, we were all getting a bit of cabin fever. 40 minute jog sets around and around an arena start to get pretty mindless after your 3rd or 4th horse for the day!

Passing through Boyd Martin’s cross country field on Mighty Nice

Mr Medicott enjoying a beautiful sunny morning

There are miles and miles of purpose made trails around Bridle Creek, which are regularly graded to keep them in top shape for hacking and fitness work.

Fernhill Fugitive obeying the road rules

Most days, my job is to either hack out the upper level horses to cool them down after they’ve done flatwork, or doing jog and canter sets on the horses’ fitness days. I’ve been riding out nearly every day and there are still plenty of trails that I haven’t had the chance to explore yet… And yes, I’ve managed to get myself lost a few times!

Icabad Crane – the sweetest little OTTB ever!

William Penn & Automagically

Good Enough, Yarrow & Vanderbilt

Atlas, shortly after being startled by a family of deer

Fernhill Fugitive

I have to admit to having a serious fangirl moment the first time I got to hack out on Mighty Nice and Mr Medicott… It’s not every day you get to go wandering in out such picturesque surroundings on seriously elite horses 🙂

Mighty Nice – and a mighty cheesy grin!

My Horses

For my first real post, I thought it would be a good idea to give a quick background to the special horses I’ve had in my life over the years.

I got my first pony, Muffin, when I was 11 years old. He was a 13.2h Australian Saddle Pony, and the very best pony a girl could hope to learn to ride on. After about two years, when I could no longer deny that I had outgrown him, I moved onto Shem, a 14.3h arab gelding. Shem was one of those wonderful jack-of-all-trades types, who could win one day in the show ring and the next at an ODE, or spend hours trail riding with nothing but a string around his neck.

An old, old photo. Dear Shem on the left, and Muffin on the right.

My next horse was Solo, a 16hh 5yo OTTB. He was my first green horse, and taught me so much (mostly what not to do!). He was a very willing and forgiving horse though, and we had a lot of fun doing a bit of pony club, showing and eventing, until he was sold on to a lovely new home a couple of years later.

Solo – my favourite redhead!

Next in line was Dex, a 16.2hh OTTB who had a very successful career on the track, and was a little more of a typical TB than Solo was. He was an exceptionally talented horse, with beautiful movement and a freakish jump. He was bought by a professional rider who spotted that talent and took him quickly up the levels where he became a successful 2* horse. He is now based with a young rider in WA.

Dex – his very first time XC schooling.

And all grown up!

And last but certainly not least, is Freddy, a 16.1h TB. Fred had competed successfully up to Pre-Novice with a professional rider, and I was lucky enough to have 5 fun-filled years with him. He had a mind of his own and liked to spend quite a bit of time playing on his back legs, but we still had a lot of success in eventing, dressage, SJ and a bit of showing on the side.

Unforunately I lost Freddy in a traffic accident at Christmas time, 2012, and he has so far been irreplaceable. He was a very special boy and took up a huge part of my heart. Life has been quite dull without his cheeky antics keeping me busy!

Freddy winning the 2012 NSW Equitation Championships

Eventing at Goulburn

In the lead after dressage at Wallaby Hill Horse Trials