dawn awakenings

In the spotlight

arusi. low res at gold cup

I’ve been up before the sun even wakes from her slumber most mornings this week. You see I’m playing my first polo tournament this weekend since having my darling daughter, Finn, who is 13 months. It’s been a struggle to find the time to exercise three horses and get them ready for this weekend. They have to be incredibly fit for this sport and I’m fortunate to have the acreage and arena to give them the aerobic exercise and flat work they need.

To save time (because that’s the name of the game at the moment) I ride my lead mare Tilly and pony my other two mares Jinx and Arusi. Generally I take them out for twenty minutes into a 60 acre paddock that has a metropolis of steep hills and a herd of happy-go-lucky cows. When the girls are catching their breath on a hill top I breathe in the views of the sparkling ocean on the horizon. To ease the burden of leading two horses, I decided to tie the lead rope around Jinx’s neck and see if she would follow us. It worked a treat! Her herd instinct kicked in and she happily trotted and cantered around the paddock shadowing our every step.

I don’t know about you, but I adore watching a horse, especially one of my own, run free without bridle, saddle or rider. It was magical to watch all three of my mares gallop alongside me, playing cat and mouse up the hills and snorting in disgust when trotting down hill. Next week, I’m going to wear the go-pro so you can see the view. It’s a truly lovely sight as the dawn breaks and a rush of golden light illuminates the darkened landscape. Harry Noodle, our black mongrel follows, waiting at the bottom of the hill when he’s out of puff and slinking into muddy puddles to cool down.

Gone are the days of packing three horses in a float and rollicking down the hill. With Finn in the algebra equation its a whole new ball game of port-a-cots, prams, foods, warm clothes, baby carriers….the list goes on. We resemble a travelling circus at the best of times and onlookers would think we’re moving house not going for a night away.

Is it really worth it? Forsaking precious weekends to hang around a polo pitch, waking when the stars are still twinkling to work, wash, feed, rug horses. The jury’s still out. I’ll let you know how this weekend goes. I can say this, the feeling of pelting down the polo field after a white ball that you’ve just whacked with your mallet is addictive and ferociously fun. Pictured above, I’m at the front on my little mare Arusi.

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