The remainder of 2020

The year of covid-19. The year of lockdowns in Victoria. But since we are in regional Victoria, we still had plenty of opportunity to train and do fun horse things with The King’s Horses folks.

The hot summer gave way to autumn and then winter, and finally spring and summer again. Restrictions and lockdowns came and went. I was mostly busy with my PhD thesis, and I was working from home. So it didn’t affect me too badly. And while the restrictions allowed us to meet as a group and train, we did, and much progress was achieved.

Phoebus He went from a green, just started horse to being a good trail riding mount. He learned to amble under saddle and he was introduced to walk, trot and then canter passes down the list and the quintain. And of course he learned about armour. So by the end of the year, he was doing quintain passes in full harness, wore the shamfron and had done plenty of canter passes with various other horses. We practiced killing a dragon, by May 2020 and it shows how good he was with a lance even back then. There is another video showing how smooth his gaits are. I’m riding him in walk, amble and canter carrying a drink.

I’m very pleased with how he is progressing. There is still work to do, of course. He is a bit one-sided, we have a beautiful canter to the left, but the canter to the right is not yet there. We have however, established shoulder-in and travers both sides at a walk. Currently working on half passes. Oh, and we have the basics of a Spanish Walk.


She has been on some more trail rides and had more rides with me in harness and doing pretty well.


I started to do a bit more work with him. He had a few more trail rides alone and in company, and I introduced him to armour, which he took remarkably well. I took a video during his second session with me wearing part harness and doing some general work in the arena.


He had some time off since he isn’t fully grown yet, but I started to do a bit more ridden work towards the end of the year. I mainly did trail rides with him, to get him happy and forward going. I introduced a bit, but he is still in four reins at this stage. I’m getting some nice amble from him, as well as foxtrot, trot and a nice little canter.


We participated in the Icelandic Horse Association of Australia annual high-point award, so we participated in some of the monthly small challenges. There is a video of Keldan and I doing a walk and toelt test with a drink and another one of the pair riding test, with Amber and Sparky as our partners. Why did we do it dressed as a knight and his lady? Because we could! It made it a little more difficult for Keldan and I, and it looked pretty cool. Keldan has also been out on trail rides and been part of our training sessions, helping out with visitors mainly. We also did a few quintain runs here and there, started learning Spanish Walk and amused ourselves with other things

Aside from that, I helped out with a couple of young horses that are being started that are agisted with me, and I have started working with Lorenzo. I’m still very busy with my PhD studies, so I probably will only do little bits here and there with him. But that works well, as I don’t like to rush horses.

December saw the arrival of two colts. A chestnut from Brana, by Nele’s stallion Lotto, and a rabicano chestnut from Chica, by Rev. They are very different, but they are both very nice. The only thing that would have improved them would have been if they had been fillies!

So that’s the end of 2020, and we hope that the next year brings good news with regard to the global pandemic and in every other way!


The author Chris Bahlo