Monday, November 5, 2012

it's Cup Day!

It's the Melbourne Cup, and the streets of Victoria are strangely quiet, save for those in silly hats or lugging large quantities of beer barbeque-wards. Here's a happy photo of a former Cup Day, the only one I've made it to, thanks to my lovely friend Giovanni.  
leaping in the air at the Melbourne Cup

And a portrait of the amazing Makybe Diva, who won the Cup three times - watching the third win I thought my heart was going to burst. So wherever you are in the world, pop a strawberry in your champagne (unless it's a really, really nice champagne in which case nooooooo) and switch the race on and enjoy. Will Americain do it again? Who knows, but that is one good looking horse. Let's say Americain, Red Cadeaux and Dunaden. Those pesky raiders. Don't forget race-day etiquette people. No spewing in hats (so sad that needs to be said) and ladies, keep your shoes on, I don't care how much they're hurting. Note my heels above. They did not leave my feet until I was home! Happy Cup Day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

imaginary journey

Have you ever imagined yourself in a different world, journeying with your horse through vast forests and deserts that you can only cross at night, by the dazzling starlight? Well, now you have!

first posted at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

olympic eventing and dressage

Eventing over and Australia had some falls but overall did a good job. Wonderful result for NZ's Mark Todd. Boy is Germany looking good in eventing these days. We're going to have to get our skates on before they're dominating all the equestrian disciplines. Maybe that ship has sailed.
I once saw an eventing rider get into lots of trouble online after calling the Grand Prix dressage the 'fat horse' dressage. But here we are - ready for the real dressage horses. Here's to the classicists out there and those doing their best to ride and train with feel and sensitivity in the cut-throat world of top level competition.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics equestrian - eventing dressage

Congratulations to Lucinda Fredericks on Flying Finish for a lovely dressage test (the first one I managed to watch on the Olympic channel too). All the riders did a great job in the dressage. Here's to some brilliant and safe rides on the cross country phase from the Australian team (safe for all the riders and horses, one hopes!). We're in the team silver position but so much changes over the jumps. Fingers crossed for a fairy tale year for Andrew Hoy. Congratulations to NZ's Mark Todd (can we claim him too? Like Pharlap??). What a rider. I think he might still be competing in his nineties...  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

twenty dressage sketches in twenty days: sketch 1

It's hard to keep up with drawing when there's a baby in the house so rather than give up I have pledged to do a dressage sketch each day for the next twenty days. They will be quick and unpolished. I will not be a perfectionist. I will not be a perfectionist...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

the story of a saddle

Some time ago I received the thoughtful and symbolic gift of an old saddle. I don’t have a horse for it at the moment, but I just love seeing there in the corner of the room, putting me in mind of rainy childhood days cleaning tack with the sound of sleepy horses in the background. 
It has its leather girth with it and is in good condition apart from a rather catastrophically broken tree. I was intrigued to see that this saddle was from the Myer Emporium. In case you’re not a Melbourne person (and you probably aren’t, considering the number of lovely Americans I have visit the site) Myer is a department store in the city that has been there forever. As far as I know. I remember visiting there as a child and being amazed by the billion buttons in the haberdashery section (now closed), not to mention the Christmas windows. I had no idea there was a saddlery there.

A Google later and I found a discussion in Eques where people were reminiscing about the saddlery in the 60s and 70s when it was managed by the awesomely named Bill Bull. Then I found a current story on Kevin Mayne, a saddler at the store for twenty years:
I wonder if he had anything to do with saddle no. 356? He might be cross to know I had it close to a window this past year and it started to build up some mildew (been a while since it had any love, what with the distraction of a baby). It’s now been moved, cleaned and conditioned and is looking bright and new.
So, here’s to the lovely feel and smell of an old saddle, and the stories it can tell…

The Eques discussion:

Friday, June 8, 2012

back to (riding) school

Gorgeous horse, gorgeous tack. Don't you just want to leap up there and go for a spin? That mirror would be pretty handy too if, like me, you're working on getting the most effective riding position.
Yes, I finally took a riding lesson after what seems a lifetime away (on baby duty). Tystar is a lovely schoolmaster, so gentlemanly. My human teacher, Susie, is studying at the School of Lightness (doesn't that sound wonderful?). And, yes, the method is very light. I'm always surprised by how different my position is to what I would like it to be. My back is quite arched and my legs further forward than I realise. Having said that, my back is naturally arched so I do need to be realistic here. Having my legs a little more under me would be quite achievable though and I think it would improve my effectiveness. Comments are welcome. So looking forward to my next lesson. But with my constant nine-month-old companion I'm considering that watching a few might be a good option!

Do you believe in the concept of synchronicity? I'm never sure but it's really pretty remarkable that Susie is teaching so close to me, one of the few teachers available with a schoolmaster, as one of the first clips I ever saved from youtube was the one below. Just breathtaking. And guess who? I watched it often for inspiration and to remind myself of what can be achieved in the human / horse relationship. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

horse simile from Homer's Iliad

'As when some stalled horse who has been corn-fed at the manger breaking free of his rope gallops over the plain in thunder to his accustomed bathing place in a sweet-running river and in the pride of his strength holds high his head and the mane floats over his shoulders; sure of his glorious strength, the quick knees carry him to the loved places and the pasture of horses...'
Iliad 15.263 (trans Lattimore)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

artworks for sale

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be making my way into the 21st century and getting my very own Paypal account. Which means that my artworks and limited addition prints will soon be available from this very site. There's still nothing quite like an exhibition in the flesh, but I have a whole stable of imaginary horses looking for a home and I feel a little bad for keeping them locked up so long. We all know how horses HATE to be locked up (sound of repeated hoof banging on stable door). I will offer a few at a time, but enquiries are always welcome about any of the work on this site as originals or limited edition prints.
It's also well past time for my next breed in the Australian Horse series. Stay posted!
Arabian Mare - to good home only!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

google art - the unicorn in captivity

The Google Art Project brings together a number of very fine museums to showcase some of their paintings in beautiful close-up reproductions.
I thought I'd link to this unicorn - given the horsey nature of this blog - not that the traditional unicorn was all that horsey - having more in common with a goat (not to mention a lion's tail).
To marvel at the amazing vegetation and the elegance of the unicorn - just zooooom in ...
For my thoughts on the symbolism of unicorns in general:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

stuff riders say

This is an ad by SmartPak, but it did make me laugh out loud. Or maybe snort is a better word. As you can see - there is not much art being produced right now. Soon, I promise...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

horses bring us down to earth

They say that princes learn no art truly, but the art of horsemanship. The reason is, the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a prince as soon as his groom. Ben Jonson
Prince Harry