Roger has been busy ‘breaking’ and training our little princess now formally known as Frankie (hope you’re not offended, namesake). She is beautiful, despite the scars, brave, curious and intelligent, of course! In three sessions the novice trainer and young (1-2 years old) unhandled filly have gone from a stand off to being haltered and stroked and patted all over, that’s Frankie not Roger! It has been rather wonderful to watch this progress, from the discomfort of the top rail, on the sidelines each evening.
There are 4 other ‘littleies’ to get to this stage before the start of Genine’s 10 day ladies colt breaking course due to start on 17th Sept. Preparation of the horses, equipment and homestead is the primary focus of our work at present but we will hopefully have a super interruption in the not too distant future, if not two! Last weekend we took the horse box to a different part of the station and brought in 2 very pregnant ladies, much to the consternation of their stallion. Leaving him with merely one other mare and her beautiful year old colt. Jas could deliver any time in the next 2-3 weeks, or possibly sooner and Lily shortly after. As they had been sired in the outside paddocks there is no real knowledge of their due dates so we are checking their bags regularly (we have all the jargon now!) Anyway, be prepared for lots of beautiful little foal pictures, fingers crossed.
This is Genine’s delivery of her first clinic on this scale so she is a little anxious. We may have allayed some of that anxiety a little bit by agreeing to stay on until it finishes at the end of the month. Leaving in the middle would have been somewhat impractical anyway as town is over 1.5 hours away and there is no other means of transport beyond a lift. A hitch hiker could die of dehydration waiting for a ride.
We have been busy renovating an old accommodation room for three of the ladies to sleep in. It had been cleared out before we arrived but we have done all the cosmetic work, repaired the door and applied insect netting to the windows and doors. We now just have to work out the optimum configuration for the 3 single beds in a rather narrow room plus a chest of drawers and 2 of the three bedside cabinets we have assembled, leaving the third just because there will barely be any space to open the door soon.
Genine is very artistic, I’ll go in to further details about those talents later, so we should have had more confidence in her choice of white for all things painted. She has bought bold colours for the lamps, curtains, bedding etc. and it is beginning to look marvellous. The garden/house yard also needs more tidying, as does the courtyard which now boasts the gazebo we managed to erect, both of which I had made a start on but needs to be improved further. Roger is doing the more structural work, replacing fly doors, putting up shelves, adding lighting etc. We have now been joined by Myrte, a Dutch girl, for 3 weeks so she will be able to take over all the poop scooping we have been doing which takes ages but did give us lots of opportunity to be around the youngsters whilst they got used to humans.
Anyway, its all go! Up at 6.10 to be ready to start at 6.30 (even though it isn’t too hot yet). In theory we stop around 11am and start again about 3pm but we haven’t managed to finish the morning jobs until about 1pm yet. Genine is in school with Mack from around 9.30 until 3pm, with smokos – Aussie for a break originating from lighting a fire to boil your billy can for tea. The School of the Air is a big commitment for parents. Unlike European schools, when your child is away from home for several hours, enabling parents to get on with other things, this school system ties up the parent for as much time as the child, whilst they monitor and support the school work. Mack is pretty good but now and again he behaves like a 10 year old, which is a bit of a contrast in this, otherwise, adult environment, into which he often fits seamlessly and it is easy to forget that he actually is only 10!
Our days tend to finish quite early which is just as well, we are often gratefully in bed by 9pm! The round pens and arena are all floodlit so work with the horses can and does go on into the evening, only stopping for something to eat and then resuming ‘work’. Now that the weather is warming up we have been able to stop one of the time consuming jobs of taking off all the horses day rugs and replacing them with their big padded warm rugs! We are sweating whilst doing so but these animals are used to the the 40 degree plus temperatures we are relieved to not have to experience. Today, Roger has started training a new colt so has transferred his affections to Musket!