Monday, June 9, 2008; 6:52 PM
On the dark horse

Yesterday McCool woke up a grumpy me at 7.30 am, after a day of hard work at the barn. I was blurry eyed and sleepy and not very happy at the early start on a Sunday, but it was for good reason : The Melbourne 3-day Event - Final Olympic Selection, and Sunday was cross country day and this male was amazing enough to offer to take me all the way to Werribee for the event!

Armed with his technologically advanced camera, we ate a sleepy McDonald's breakfast as we caught the early morning train in the morning mist, transit to the city and then change trains all the way out to the countryside suburb of Werribee: home to Melbourne's National Equestrian Center, Werribee Park and Mansion.

It was a delightful train journey, travelling out by the ocean, full of quirky little sights and beautiful scenery. We were both cheerful and in good spirits, despite being groggy and sleepy headed.

When we finally got to the Equestrian Center, I was completely astounded by how many people had turned up for the competition! The driveway was packed with cars queueing up to go in and horses were everywhere - being ridden, being exercised, whinnying and neighing and snorting. The air was heavy with adrenaline and hoofbeats. It was spectacular!

Bill Chrisanis was competing in the two star event - he is the husband of Linda Williams, who is my riding instructor at Blinkbonnie, so I was very proud and excited to cheer him on! McCool was generously cheerful and eagerly volunteered to be cameraman of the day, so we set out to explore the course.

Werribee National Equestrian Center was huge!!! It had four outdoor sand arenas, two huge indoor arenas, showjumping areas, and acres after acres of stunningly beautiful cross country landscape, as well as polo fields and grand old stables. It was breathtaking! I wished Blinkbonnie was as grand. There were beautiful horses everywhere! Even the very non-horsey McCool wondered in awe over their sleek, shiny coats.

some of the outdoor sand arenas

a horse being hotwalked after completing it's course

Then we decided to explore the grand Werribee Mansion - McCool smiled at me and said we might as well make the most of this rare trip out to country, so we had a blast wandering around the gardens as he obsessively took photos of almost anything!

me at the entrance to Werribee Park

beautiful backdrops for jumps

each horse had a huge number of grooms to fuss over it

the interior of Werribee Mansion. Dinner, anyone?

It was a long day, but so very brilliant. I had an awesome time watching all the top competitors and their amazing horses, and McCool enjoyed himself too, which is a good omen for future horse competitions to come. We were exhausted by the time we got home, but in good spirits and I fell asleep the moment my head touched the pillow, much to the amusement of McCool who tried to wake me up multiple times.

When I watched the riders begin their course, seeing the horses whirl around in excitement, chomping their bits, stomping their hooves, snorting the air - all the adrenaline washed over me and all I wanted was to be in the saddle at that moment, eager to begin my lap - jumping the great fences and galloping at great speed towards the finish line. What a dream to be able to compete at such a level someday. I only hope that I can attain it in the future. Pleasure riding is one thing, but there is something in the air about a competition that gives me this urge to be a part of it.

Bill Chrisanis jumping on Qualim. He's my instructor's husband.

Cassia Montgomery on Arkie going through the lake

Edith Kane on ESB Irish Justice. What a cute jumper!

Lucinda James on ESB Irish Denial. The crowd was cheering for her and look at that smile!

The magnificent wagon jump

Shane Rose, OMG!! In the flesh! Jumping on Cleddau Bobby Dazzler. I was completely starstruck. I *heart* McCool for this amazing photo!

Megan Jones on Kirby Park Allofasudden. askdhasjdh Megan Jones!!!!

I'm looking to the future with bright hopes. I hope someday I will be able to own my own horses whom I can compete with, cantering through a lake, splashing water that filters the sunlight behind our thunderous hoofbeats as onlookers cheer me on, smiling, and photographers kneel by the fence with shooting cameras. After all, there is no other place for me than on the back of a horse.

I will be uploading more photos on my Facebook page too. :) Link is to the right.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Such a pretty place and exciting event you've attended there *_____* My liking to horses definitely won't be as big as yours but if it had been archery instead <3 then i would probably be so ubber spazztic XD