From a million outback stars, to one shining light

My weekend started out under a million stars, as the cold night air filled the space around us, drowning out the sound of heavy horses trying to sleep. We arrived at the St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Day late on Friday night, with a rush to try and find a pen and set up before trying to get some sleep before an early morning.

I awoke to the sound of horses playing, horsing around trying to work out who was boss. Somehow Izz found herself in this dispute, so it was straight over to pull her out of the pen and to the wash bays. We got her washed (and somewhat dry) just in time for her class, where she competed with six other horses to take out third place. Not a bad effort for a younger horse with pretty tough competition.

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What I love about the Heavy Horse industry is the way they bring youth into their network, hosting their own categories and honestly sharing tips and tricks around the show ring. But to my surprise even more, it’s the stories of some of the older breeders taking youth under their wings and giving them a horse to start- that’s the stuff our industry should be doing!

It was also great to see a farrier work their magic, alongside whip plaiters and blacksmithing. Many of these lost talents are re-emerging through the maker revolution we find ourselves in- looking for novel, lasting products with purpose.

Then it was back home for some cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead, followed by a family lunch. In a change to unwind and slow down again, I found myself searching my tea cupboard looking for the perfect brew. So in the light of an old measuring tool left at the house when we moved in and with an Indigenous art teapot, it was good to just settle.

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Monday morning I received some news I guess I had been expecting, yet something I didn’t want to hear. Dad called to say my Grandfather in Boorowa was severely unwell and that they were heading down to see him and my Nan.

Standing around the hospital bed, it was clear that his wisdom and patience was no longer for this world. That his way with chainsaws and sheep would be encapsulated in time, waiting for stories and his journals to be unearthed to discover what he really was thinking. With a heavy heart, in the early hours of Tuesday morning he passed away, out of pain and leaving a massive hole in the family and small little town.

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