2023 so far is a delicate balance of horses + work that said E has been enjoying some relaxed rides weekly. It’s been a long rehab process and it’s only in the last couple of months he truly feels himself again both riding and generally in the paddock. He is looking amazing covered in dapples and has us all well trained to deliver him some hay whenever he neighs.

Lucy had a bit of a rough time with splints 2021 after whacking her leg quite heavily on a gate, it was about the same time E was unwell so we had xrayed etc. which showed it was a decent crack so we didn’t rush into breaking her in or going under saddle. It’s looking pretty good now and she can slowly come into work which is exciting. She is such a placid chilled creature, I am forever thankful to her for being the easiest foal to youngster as she is so patient and fits in around everything. I finally decided on a “show name” for her, now to register it 🤭

Kai and Grace are living their best life although did need to share their paddock recently with Ada for a short period. Total high school mean girls so Ada is now happily on her own. She is also coming along nicely and popped into the stables during one of the storms, she is nearly as big as E already!

As for the golden child Ollie, he has had a really rough time. In the first few months of 2022 he had a nasty sinus infection/cough, almost like a pony covid which went to his lungs. Finally in Autumn he recovered well enough to begin like work. Not entirely sure how it happened but a nasty paddock fall saw him really sore in the pelvic area, nothing broken but lots of exercises/stretches. Late Winter saw him back into light work and was finally looking amazing only to become drastically ill late September/October. I know in the equine industry nobody shares a lot of the bad things that happen for fear of judgement or whatever else however I know our management is 100% and there isn’t more that could be done. I think that’s why I’m perhaps quite happy to share this because sometimes with horses things just happen that no amount of foresight or resources could prevent. I’ll do a part 2 on this one but if anyone is actually reading, Ollie is okay now just a long recovery and it’s a virus that nobody is 100% certain on how to treat.

I am getting better at tiktok too 😊 https://www.tiktok.com/@annalisaph


One thing I always struggled with previously when posting a blog was the title so to avoid this I’m just going to roll with using the dates. Enjoying the warmer weather and a belated ‘Spring” tidyup of the stables. We do have a swallow family that lives in the stables seasonally so thankfully they have now moved out with their 9 or so new additions, no doubt they’ll be back next season. Their nest has been very carefully cleaned around, I know some people hate them plus the mess they bring but you have to admire the work and dedication that goes into their nest building.

One area that I haven’t got around to sorting out or at least figuring out “how” to do this is where we store the feed. Currently using a assortment of wheelie bins and lusting after a more visually appealing option + user friendly. Having a bit of a google search and planning to present what I wanted to TH (make me this please 😂) I came across these guys – https://www.facebook.com/aeequestrianproducts/photos

Instantly sold as the pricing is pretty reasonable and shipping shouldn’t be too bad. The one that impressed me the most was the corner feedbin style one – which is kind of dead space in our little zone and this will fill it wonderfully. Thinking corner one for the winter rugs + rainsheets so they can stay out of the spiders/dust but easy enough to grab. Feed wise we need something to fit chaff + pellets + grain mix (feedwise I basically use Barastoc’s breed n grow + supreme). Thinking some combination of 2 ones should fit nicely along the wall. Of course I also want one of the rolly tackboxes 😍😍😍 Thoughts anyone?

Mission Garryowen…

It’s now late 2022 and this is a post from drafts. It’s only about now do I want to clean another bridle again 😂 I would love to say I am joking but I totally completely burnt myself out with the Garryowen effort in regards to tack cleaning. Worth it though, it’s a exceptionally rare day with horses when the sun is shining, everything goes to plan, rider does their job + horses works perfectly and things are rewarded in their favour.

I didn’t quite realise what the event is all about until a few years later I was chatting in foreign country to a horsey person who had happened to attend that year with their Australian based non horsey but society/Melbourne royal attending Mum and how much they loved the little brown horse that worked out last and that he came back and won the next class. Pretty cool. I think E and I can remain a one hit wonder pairing. Meanwhile Garryowen goals for Ada in 2030 maybe.

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This will be long, it’s been in process every since the idea turned into something that we were actually seriously about to do.

Mission Garryowen.

It’s an event I’ve always wanted to just compete in. When the idea was suggested to me in February I thought hey, why not! E does reasonably well in his Hunter class, I do okay in my rider class…if we can pull together gear in time, it will be a fantastic experience. Plus he is such a good show horse I’d rather do him with him first than any other horse!

Thus began the whole learning/finding gear etc. It’s definitely harder in NSW as the knowledge isn’t so common like in Victoria where it seems to compete at least once is a “rite of passage” style thing.

Melbourne also work on a different performance calendar to Sydney, so gaining the last few wins we needed whilst I had a broken right hand was fun (the plaits were interesting looking to say the least!). Thankfully he is all accepted so we can do it this year, and if something goes wrong everything is in place for the following year anyway.

  • Turnout Bridle (Last minute ordering from DQ Saddlery, took a while to fit saddle and be 100% certain that’s what we where going with, so bridle colour can match).
  • Bits (If fixed cheek must be eggbut which is good as E likes the NS brand bits, only downside is they do have the logo engraved…however riding/happy horse marks worth more so NS bit it is).
  • Cane (Again had to be ordered after the bridle, so all leather colour can match).
  • Helmet (Brand new Black CO…probably will never wear again!).
  • Stocks/Shirt/Vest – Wagners Saddlery..people seem to charge crazy amounts for 2nd hand items.
  • Jacket – It’s a fraction big but purchased second hand, will see if Wagners can adjust….otherwise I’ll just eat some doughnuts or something.
  • Breeches – So it turns out I have really well muscled knees, I literally can’t fit into a standard ladies 8 breech because my knees don’t fit
  • Pins and accessories…okay so sort of don’t really know re the stock, I know how to tie a stock but will utilise Garryowen god services for this coming morning of the event.
  • Boots….cue the most expensive and ugliest top boots I’ve bought yet. That said for $2000 Mum and I have many laughs when it becomes time to take them off. Yet to polish. When I was being measured a lady told us her story that she was breaking in her own GO boots, got off the horse and couldn’t get them off by herself. In the end she had to flag a passing truck to help her get them off so she could drive!!!). Hahaha now I 100% understand.
  • Oven bags are also important feature to help one remove aforementioned boots.
  • Saddle wise I was lucky to find something that fits E.
  • Stirrup leathers I’m not quite sure on to be honest, I think these will be the last things we get???!
  • Stirrups…will polish up the normal ones I’ve used on E’s saddle, where foot goes is roughened enough and I’ve been riding without treads since April.
  • Numnah – Think I’ve got one 2nd hand that fits. I’m not quite sure if the saddle is a 17″ or 16.5″.
  • Girth – I have a 115cm that’s a bit too short for E, ordered a 120cm which hopefully will fit – I fear it might be a little too big though. I need like a 118cm??


Updating on this…

Turnout bridle – Realised it’s a good idea to have two, just in case something breaks/marks/doesn’t arrive whatsoever. Ideally both needed to be worked in more but I just ran out of time and it’s so hard trying to have something perfectly soft and used whilst having it non marked and looking in the best condition as possible.

Bits – Couldn’t find second set of exact bits. This in itself was annoying because it meant I was too scared to trust Australia Post and send them off for metal polishing. Thus meaning I had to polish myself. 4 hours later using Never Dull (I was a bit confused at first on exactly which polish to use because they are two type of metal). Curb chain has to be hung on second link with first link tucked in, so once I got it on the cover, and the right way we tried for size a few times before getting the extra links cut off. (Thanks TH.)

Cane – This was easy, ended up being perfect colour and length (measured with jacket/gloves on and crook of elbow to fingertips). Hard to hold 1/3rd of the way down though, I probably rode with it more in the middle as it’s so short.

Helmet – Again easy although we probably could have steamed it the night before to make sure all marks were out.

Hair – Okay this became a slightly issue because it was ever so slightly purple, so washing that out, then working out the best way to do it with no pins showing. Ended up being perfect 🙂

Stocks/shirts/vest – All from Wagners, starched the stocks numerous times using spray starch. Also did the shirt cuffs and had lots of spares ready to go in case something marked.

Jacket – Adjusted from Wagners so it fitted really well, I was happy.

Breeches – Again Wagners, perfect fit (ie loose when standing but they move up and become fitted when you sit down on the horse). I didn’t find them too hard to ride in or mount the horse in, not as good as our usual work breeches…but didn’t seem as terrible as some people make out.

Top Boots – Still the uggliest most expensive boots ever. Could have spent more hours polishing but you get to a point where you can only do so much. I will strip them down, ride in them over Summer to keep breaking in and then re polish.

Pins and Accessories – Yes it’s a good idea to have a couple in case you loose or bend them. Mum spent literally all day shopping for long gold safety pins and was very pleased to be told she had found the holy grail of safety pins.

Saddle wise – I will send it off to get points and buttons re done as while it’s lovely and really well worked in…that could improve it slightly for next year. Numnah fitted well and was easily able to be pulled up into the saddle, need to find a way to keep it there so it doesn’t slip down though. That’s only a minor detail though.

Stirrup leathers ended up being custom made by Wagners, then after using them and wearing them in I had stretched them and needed them to be shortened one hole. This is where Wagners are 100% dedicated and shortened them for me at the buckles during the show.

Girths – I think I have 5 or 6 now all in slightly differing lengths so that it would fit him perfectly. He put on weight during the week so we ended up with a slightly longer one.

Huge yay because it’s feeling like Spring is on the way! The weather is getting warmer and it’s actually enjoyable to be outside (in the sun!!). A couple of days of being able to ride consecutively is always super. E’s entered for Melbourne, this year it seems a bit hectic as all our classes at Saturday/Sun – not sure if we’ll do GO. I did wakeup last night and think wait we are “bumping in” when High tea is on…😂 Anyway we’ll see about that!!

There is plenty of country ag shows on and we are keen to explore the area a bit more whilst getting some performances in. E is entered for NSW HOTY in October, there’s a couple of Vic shows shortly following it & after that it will be fingers crossed because Grace is due to foal.