In 2010 my stallion, Siri Mahali was born. At barely a month old, Sizzy suffered an injury which left him incapable of being anything but a paddock ornament and breeding horse. He was my very first foal, I was there from his first day and I’d fantasized of the day I’d break and train him myself for endurance – so to say I was devastated would be an extreme understatement. When I came to grips with the loss of my dreams, I settled for one day riding his foals. It would be a distant future, with little choice but to wait – then, a year after his accident Sizzy’s half brother, Amir Halo (Mizzy as we call him) was born to one of my favourite mares, owned by some dear friends of mine. I was there the day he was born, but I had no idea what the future would hold.
Jump forward four years and Mizzy has been mine a year. My friends decided they couldn’t manage the stifle lock that he had developed as a youngster and gave him to me – with that my dreams came rushing back! Starting my own baby horse, taking him through his first ride, getting him through his first 40’s and 80’s, dreaming of the day he’d be old enough to do a Quilty.
When I first got him, he’d spent a few weeks with a breaker who had an untimely accident with a different horse and cut short the training he’d started. In the end it was just as well since I felt Mizzy was still a big baby at only three years old. So I didn’t continue his education and opted for turning him out with his brother and my other young ones to grow. It ended up being a good thing because he grew another three inches and became a bit broader. He was just as sweet as his brother, they look very alike except for their different shades – one fiery chestnut, the other glistening gold.
It was July of 2015 and Mizzy was about to turn four, so it was time to see if he remembered any of the things Malcolm had taught him. Having had so much trouble with Koda’s teeth with her bit as she aged from 3 to 5 I decided to avoid the issue altogether and started Mizzy in a rope halter. Malcolm had said Mizzy was one of the smartest horses he’d worked with, he was clever but cheeky too – time would tell if it would all come together.
So it began, day after day of pressure and release, pressure and release; left and right, left and right; back and step forward, back and step forward. He remembered it all – Malcolm was right.
Within a week I was riding the little scamp around the regular training tracks, bareback at first and then we graduated to a saddle. The stifle lock would disappear once we were on the move – after consulting my vet he suggested that warming up before vetting in at a ride would be beneficial and there was no reason Mizzy wouldn’t make a strong riding horse. So, I was riding my golden pony, my dreams were coming to life! Where would we go first? Well, there was a ride at Widgee in three weeks – why not start there!
So we decided to load up the float and take Mizzy, Milton and Sally to Widgee for a slow and steady 20km. After Sally’s unfortunate vet out at Rockybar I thought it would be a good idea to try her at a shorter distance and it was only a fortnight since Biggenden so a quiet short ride was just what we were looking for! Along for the ride was my little sister for her very first endurance ride.
It was a long one, Mizzy was barefoot and bitless but he took it all in his stride and we babied him around the 20km track. He’d been under saddle for three weeks and his first entry in his logbook was a completion – what more could I ask for? Well, a completion for Sally was icing on the cake. My sister was over the moon and wanting more. There was more than one funny moment – the best being captured by Kevin Coppalotti at the creek crossing! I remember Milton balking slightly and then slowly wading in and across, I followed in closely behind with Mizzy who just glided through gently. We were almost the whole way through when I heard a shriek and then I was covered in water as Sally, in a panic thinking she was being left behind, leapt into the water and caught my sister off guard. The photos were priceless and I couldn’t ask for a funnier memory!
It was the start of a long journey with the golden child, it is still going even now and I hope one day that those dreams I dreamed will be real. Even if I’m not the one in his saddle, I will be so proud to have played a part in making it happen.