Monday, April 23, 2007


Monday April 23 2007

By the Raven's owner:

The Raven is gone. Jumped out of my shoulder bag in Brisbane. I'd only walked about 5 minutes, so I searched and searched and searched and asked everybody, every store and cafe around (all thought I was a nutter), even a policeman in the area. I am going to spend the night throwing up. maybe the week.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Raven in Melbourne

April 22 2007

Chelsea was kind enough to haul us from the Nowhere Creek endurance ride to Melbourne, where we'd catch a flight to Brisbane, to visit Toft Endurance.

The Raven enjoyed touring around Melbourne. He said hi to the carriage horses .

He found this owl and pig (?) he particularly liked and made friends with.

The owl looked very smart and the pig (?) was just plain interesting.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dingley Maze Paradise

April 12-16 2007

The Raven and I arrived at beautiful Dingley Maze Paradise on the border of New South Wales and Victoria in southern Australia, home of Meg Wade's Castlebar Endurance. We're here to visit for a week or two and ride some endurance horses belonging to one of the leading endurance riders and breeders in Australia.

The Raven met Meg's pet kangaroo - the first marsupial to make the Raven's acquaintance!

The Raven had his first ride in Australia - several rides in fact. He liked to check the training charts every morning to see which horse he was assigned to ride. His favorite horse? Difficult to choose... but if you pick by names, how can you not like a horse named Demon? Which was his favorite ride? Hard to say… all were enjoyable no matter how long or short they were; all were beautiful rides to our eyes, whether we were up high with views or down low just following a logging road through the forest, the horses were all fun in their own way, and the company was always excellent.

One day we did a good long 2 ½ hour ride for some of the fit working horses. We started up a long uphill climb through the forest, then up on top we wound around the maze of logging roads, trotting, cantering the flats and uphills, walking the downhills. It was mostly eucalyptus forests, with a few areas of pine trees. Nasari was tough, chugging right on up the hills like they were nothing, wanting to get ahead - he just wanted to GO! He has a lovely canter. There was one long uphill stretch, about a mile or so, that we just cantered along up the gradual climb, and while I could hear the other horses huffing and puffing behind me, and dropping further back, Nasari didn’t seem to be breathing at all, and he left them behind with his easy rocking chair canter. I was in dreamland bliss or something on my horse, because apparently a wallaby hopped across the road right in front of us, spooked the other girls’ horses, and I didn’t even see it! I think the Raven did though. I can’t believe I missed it! But no matter because man, what a great ride that was.

What a great ride! It wasn’t too hot, and on the last bit coming home, we got a strong breeze for a while. It felt good and it eventually cleared the air a bit of the persistent smoke always hanging in the air, though the fires are still going pretty well on that one mountain in the not-so-distance.

Then there was the day of the Reserve ride - a group of us just cantering a couple of miles on the side of the road and back, and I had this great little gray gelding Deviate that had this great Go attitude, and he was push-button to ride. Miles of lively cantering past scarey cows and screeching cockatoos (and over cockatoo feathers - somebody had a cockatoo for lunch). Always the cockatoos everywhere - flocks of them!

Wildlife spotted besides the ubiquitous parrots (never get tired of them) were a wedge-tailed eagle, a kookaburra (!! This one was just sitting by the acorn tree inhabited by green and red parrots), a marmot, a black snake, a deer; and the Raven and everybody else saw a wallaby. Oh, and flocks of kangaroos at night time in a pasture of a nearby resort, where they probably throw food out for them.

The Raven loves the colorful parrots that are everywhere, but boy are they LOUD!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

To the North Island for Nationals

April 8 2007

We were headed to the New Zealand Endurance National Championships with David and Sandie and 4 horses. It was quite the epic journey - 24+ hours - to our destination on the North Island, leaving Holly Farm near Christchurch around 9 PM, and just making it to the ferry by 7 AM; landing on the North Island a few hours later, and driving north from Wellington.

We stopped for a rest break - for humans and horses and Raven - in a little park in Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast. We set up the fences and unloaded the horses for a few hours' rest, and the Raven and I had to go see the beach and touch the Tasman Sea before passing out in the back seat of the truck for a couple of hours.

Our destination was Rangiwahia, a tiny town in the foothills of the Ruahine Range; and while pretty much all the horses and humans were here for serious endurance riding, the Raven was here to make more friends. He met his first pig - and who would not have fallen love with Julia!

The Raven was also happy to see his friends Trevor and Picksy again - they finished 9th in the 100 km race.