Life in the Saddle

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.

~Winston Churchill

I’ve wanted to ride since I could walk. Probably before then. Definitely before then. I’ve forever been a fan of a story my mother told me that while she was pregnant with me she went to the movies. Whatever the flick, there was a scene of stampeding horses… and I went just about insane. My personal belief is that I heard what felt like part of my soul on the outside and I just wanted out so I could run with them! I still feel that way now. My heart drums, my adrenaline surges, my pupils go wide, and every bit of me feels near implosion when I hear the thunder of hooves. There is this massive emotional rush in hearing horses run… I want to be a part of it.

THE number one ever film for me about horses is The Black Stallion. Why? Because strand me on an island with that beauty and I’ll be happy forever. Who needs a man when you have Cass Ole with you!?

I also grew up obsessed with The Man From Snowy River. Enough so, that I spent a week out of my few months in Australia in the towns of Merrijig and Mansfield where it was filmed. I fell in love with the people, the town, the mountains. The McCormack family were one of the first to settle in the Merrijig area in 1886 and have run cattle in the King Valley since 1900. I rode out with the McCormack’s on this stunning mountain-bred chestnut named Prince. We slept under the stars at their mustering hut, rode through some of the most breathtaking outback I’ve ever seen, ran through rivers… I’d relive that week every day if I could. The mountains were so blue it looked like cresting waves in the ocean.

It was devastating to ride down the mountain towards home. I could have stayed forever. The story of how I hitch-hiked my way back to Melbourne is for another day.

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(Apologies for the not so top quality… pictures from pre-digital days are hard to find for fresh scans and I’ve had to resort to slowly diminishing quality of old jpgs!)

 

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