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Personal stories

The Happy Place

December 2017

There might be Western saddles in the tack shed at TJ Ranch, but the horsemanship and humanity is universal. Shelley Purcell has national titles in barrel racing and roping, and her son, Jack, is the youngest competitor to take on the Equitana Brumby Challenge.  Through their own experience and deep understanding of the horse-human relationship, the pair has created an equine education centre where pupils aren’t just taught to ride horses, they learn how to read them, care for them and become trainers themselves. It is a place where horses teach people how to heal and grow.

The Annual Round Up of Spain's Marsh Mares

October 2017

Image source: www.abc-sevilla.es The Doñana National Park in Huelva province in southern Spain is one of Europe’s most important wetland areas. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, it is a haven for fauna, such as the Imperial Eagle and the Pardel Lynx. 

Dreaming of Horses

December 2017

On this issue’s cover, we feature a dreamy photo, by Olya Tutova of 42beats, of young Kay Sturzaker and her Quarter Horse mare, Chattahoochee - better known as Missy. Kay and her uncle, Peter Goodall, bred and trained the now seven-year-old Missy. “I started working her when she was three, after a stint with trainer Roy Marchinton. The photo was taken while she was in foal to DC Cadillac Jack,” says Kay. “She had a filly foal who is now two and will also become a reiner, but I want her as an all-rounder, to do some trail.”

First Time for Everything

December 2017

I fell off Dante. It’s the first time I’ve fallen off him; the first time he’s had someone fall off him. 

Finding the Balance

November 2017

Checking my email in the morning, I read a message from my friend, Helen, saying she’s decided to go on a training ride on her own because everyone, including me, is busy. She’s planning to do one of my favourite rides - a 17 km circuit through the jarrah forest. It’s Spring and the wildflowers will be beautiful. 

Steady as She Goes

October 2017

Featured on our front cover this month are Tania Patrick and her nine-year-old Quarter Horse mare, Sedona, photographed by Olya Tutova from 42beats photography. 

Small Horses, Big Dreams

October 2017

Six thirty in the morning. The sun is rising over the Greek village of Magazia; the Aegean Sea laps at the shore beside whitewashed buildings. Hooves pound the sand as a bay horse streaks past with a rider on board. 

Learning from Our Mistakes

October 2017

There was a lot going on around the vet ring and Dante didn’t like any of it. He’d had enough. He wanted to be left alone. I’ve learnt his default when it all gets too much for him is to become pushy and, by the time we were at the vet ring after our second official endurance training ride, Dante had well and truly had enough. In his defence, he was stressed, tired and hungry. He’d just been ridden 20 kilometres - his longest ever ride. He wanted to be with his brother, Cruiser, who was in the yard. 

In Pursuit of Perfection

September 2017

“I challenge you to do a painting a day.” Yvette Frahn had been working part-time as an equine artist for some time when her friend set the challenge to her - to create one new work a day.  Yvette was momentarily at a loss - where would she get the inspiration to create such a long stream of new pieces?  Then she was struck by a realisation. She had the source material out in the back paddock - her mare, Tooky, and on her desk, a towering stack of photographs she had already taken of her. 

It Doesn’t Always Go Smoothly

September 2017

Buoyed by how well young Dante behaved at his first foray into the world of endurance riding, I entered him in a second training ride. This one was 20 kilometres and would be his longest ride to date. My teenage daughter, Lauren, asked if she could ride him this time, with me riding 22-year-old Floss. Since Lauren’s Welsh Pony, Timmy, retired last year, we’ve been sharing Floss and Dante. It works well and I had no qualms about Lauren riding Dante in the 20km ride - and I’m always happy on Floss.

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