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News from Vicki

3 January 2012

So after a blissfully quiet Christmas, we took off down to Bega with 7 horses.  My last trip there had been 7 or 8 years ago when it was 44 degrees both days, and while we were there bushfires were raging at Mount White.  So it had been an anxious trip home that saw us held up at Mooney Mooney for 5 hours, as the policewoman at the Sydney end of the F3 didn't understand that I just had to get my horses home, and Wayne had assured me all was safe and there were no fires... best thing out of that was that I miraculously wasn't arrested and carted off to jail for obstructing the police.

But this weekend the weather was superb, and Gavin Chester designed super tracks in Ring 1, and only got into Ring 2 once, and was 3rd in that class (Issie Whatley's Molly, aka Bling NZ, in the D A2), so happy with Tim Dansey's course designing!  Poss Otton and his committee have been running this show for 16 years now, so it is a well oiled machine now.  Poss' dad Paddy normally does a colourful commentary, but was sidelined with a broken leg this year, but was watching from up on the hill.  Brett Hickey gave an excellent commentary on the big class, the Bega Cup which saw a popular win to local Jamie Grant, super double clear on Cool K, from Tom Sutherland on the lovely Dutch stallion Nolisco, and Grant Hughes 3rd on Blackall Park Atlantis.

Our team was great.  One of my main objectives was to get more performance and education for Kurt.  He had been great at SIEC, but I think being a German horse, was still not totally comfortable on grass footing, but by the third day, after good placings in the 1.30 and the Mini Prix (won by Brett Hickey and Cartouche) Thursday and Friday, jumped absolutely super to be double clear and 4th in the quite strong 1.45/1.50 A and B Ch'ship won by Grant Hughes, who was also 2nd on Atlantis and Yakkity Yak, with Jamie and Cool K 3rd.  Eliza Jane was also a super star, and ended up equal champion jumping horse with Dave Cameron on Ganmelan, by winning the 1.30, the Speed Ch'ship and 4th in the Mini Prix.  Not a bad record for her 3 starts.  Kenny 6th on the first day in the 1.40, but just felt a little unlevel in the presentation parade.  It seemed he had yet another foot abcess brewing, so Mick Lees pulled the shoe off, and made more clearance for his sole, and we then poulticed it up til the Bega Cup time, and he actually felt pretty right at the start of the warm up, but by the end felt a bit off again.  We went in the ring, but when he had a rail down at fence 4, I decided to retire, as I guaged (rightly as it turned out) that there would be sufficient clears for the placings.  Also rode Molly for Issie, as she is a seriously complicated chestnut mare!  We came to a good working relationship, and by the end of the show had jumped some good clear rounds, and was feeling a bit more consistent.  Benny went great on his 3 Nikki, Brad and Willy, gaining placings and super rounds on all 3.  Steph and Ri McKillop also had a great show Cy being his normal exuberant self, and winning the Junior, and tying 1st with Ri and Our Great Show in the Junior 6 Bar at 1.45.  Steph also jumped great rounds on young horse Frisbee, and new horse Royal Masquerade, having his first show with her.

Kurt

Kurt was awesome at Bega, got better every day to finally be 4th with a double clear in the Saturday A and B Ch'ship over quite a serious track.

Benny & Willy

Benny and Willy in the 6 Bar at Bega.

Vicki & Kurt

Aaron Hadlow's brother took some great pics at Bega.  Ok, he cut my head off here (most would say that's a good thing!), but Kurt's jump is so airy and scopey!  In the background working student Kelsie Cranston is walking Janey in preparation for her turn.

So with the truck full of Janeys' new rugs we set off for home on New Year's Eve.  I'd been a bit concerned about getting up Brown Mountain, as Basil Blue and I had never tackled anything like this with 7 horses, but to my delight he cruised up easily principally in the lowest gear in high range, so I thought all was good til we got 10 kms further along, and the engine started to lose power... I knew it wasn't an overheating problem, as I'd been watching the temperature guage like a hawk all the way up Brown, so it seemed to be a fuel blockage.  So we'd pull up for a while, make many phone calls to try and track down a mechanic (on New Year's Eve, yeah, right...), get going for a while longer, and she cough and sputter, and we'd be stopped again (mostly in off the road, but sometimes not!  Hazard lights were busy..).  Finally thanks to the efforts of Tim Dreverman and Greg Grant, truck mechanic Ian Howe arrived to save our lives.  My faith in human nature had been restored by the amount of cars, about 8 out of the 10 that went past, who stopped and offered to help.  So generally I went up to them and said "Look, it's New Year's Eve, and unless you are a truck mechanic, or can fit 7 horses in your back seat, you probably can't help us much!  But thanks for stopping!".  At one point I was reminded that I should be a little more careful, that one of them could have been an Ivan Milat, but oddly enough the only one who looked a bit like Ivan Milat was Ian the mechanic, and we couldn't have been more happy to see him!  Except when he said we'd have to tilt the cab... oh bugger, that means moving my entire bedroom, including the Queen size mattress out from the luton peak!!  Ian was a prince, and got the perished fuel line bypassed, and we were off again, pulling into Cooma showground for the night at about 11.30 (when we should have been on the M7...) to celebrate New Year there, and wish Tim Dreverman's mum a Happy Birthday!

So it had been an interesting New Year's Eve, everyone stayed in good spirits, and the horses were thankfully fine.  Just couldn't understand why I was driving so slowly....!!

Now to get the place immaculate for George Morris' arrival on the 11th.

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