"It feels like winter is here already" says Kate McKenzie | An Eventful Life

"It feels like winter is here already" says Kate McKenzie

We might not have snow on the ground but gee I'm glad I've got my thermals!

Well, it might be Autumn as far the calendar says, but quite frankly, I reckon it’s winter! The mornings are now quite chilly, with the apparent temperature around the minus four mark every time I ride these days. This has necessitated the rapid purchase of merino thermals … thanks to the eBay gods. I have begun to seriously question my sanity, especially when this morning I was all rugged-up, gloves and hat included when I was leaving the house, Laura started to cry. So I had to unwrap myself to give her a quick feed, which would hopefully settle her until a more respectable time. The things we do to enjoy this sport amazes me sometimes!

The Canberra Event ran really well, with over 270 horses competing. I was really happy with how it all came together, all that hard work by our dedicated crew paid off. I also managed to find time to ride in the pre-novice class (whoops the Ev105!), but only just! I was walking past Astro to check how things were going and someone said ‘are you getting ready to go cross country?’ and I realised I had forgotten I needed to! It’s kind of good to saddle up, change clothes and remember the cross country course when you are about to ride! Given I had flagged the course you’d think I would remember it and luckily I did. Astro blasted out of the start box and it took me a while to bring him back to a more controllable speed. I think he burnt up a bit too much energy at the start as there wasn’t much petrol in the tank as we finished the course and I was about 30 seconds over time. Even being nice to the cross country finishers didn’t reduce my time, so it just goes to show it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s a pretty fair sport … once the dressage phase is over of course. Astro recovered really well and did a super show jumping round much to my delight and I let out a big cheer as I went over the last. Anyone would have thought I’d won! But to organise and compete (with double clear) I felt it justified. Watching back over the footage, from sunnies cam, the autumn colours were just simply stunning.

Astro puts in a great leap at Canberra but did run out of petrol a bit at the end

Enjoying cross country at Canberra

You should probably turn down the volume on this one - the wind isn't great and I do have a strange laugh when I get a bit close to a fence!

Juggling the family life and riding hasn’t got any easier and if anything I think it’s going to get harder as the weather cools down. But I guess I should be grateful it’s not raining (I do feel for those over in the UK!). Getting Astro clipped has certainly made life easier and he is definitely feeling a LOT faster now without all that lovely fuzzy warm hair! I managed to get in two rides this weekend during the daytime, which felt just wonderful. On Saturday I did some showjumping and Sunday I went out to Equestrian Park (which luckily for me is next door). It’s been about four weeks since I’d jumped any cross country jumps so it felt great to go out there. A tip for those new mums and mums to be out there (blokes probably don’t want to read this) DON’T try and squeeze into your cross country back protector when you haven’t recently fed your baby. Believe me I found out that it really, really hurts!

I’ve been following the competition over in Saumur and really enjoyed watching the cross country that was streamed live. It’s been great to watch it knowing that Bek Thompson has made it over there to be with Chris. Even better now that he came first and second, beating some pretty classy competition - my country folk, Andrew and Mark. Those two old Trojans who don’t seem to ever stop impressing us all.

I’ll be at Camden this weekend along with everyone else it seems! I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve got a fair bit of work to do before then, one being working out how to get on my horse. This morning I was there on my own, and he would NOT stand still beside the mounting block. He’s almost 17hh. I’m approaching the f word (that’s forty – oh dear – I’ve said it) and I’m not as nimble as I used to be and he doesn’t tolerate toes in his sensitive side, the precious dear! This morning resulted in Astro:1 – Kate:0 and he was lunged instead.

Having a mounting block is all well and good but not helpful if your horse wont stand still

My other issue is my float. It was last used at Canberra and everything was pretty much flung back in a very haphazard fashion (wonder why?!) so it needs to be tidied up and packed before we go. Then I’ve got to juggle all that around swimming and ballet lessons, taking kids to school, it never stops. I’m not sure when it’s going to happen but I wish I could turn into that super woman people keep calling me and get it all done without having to plan every half an hour like I seem to have to do at the moment!

That’s it for me, hope you all get out there soon and enjoy our fantastic crazy sport!



I just love your blogs! I can soooo relate. I have three children (aged 11,9 and 6). I recently started eventing and am now competing Intro (so not nearly as good as you, but getting there!). My husband started at the same time and is also competing Intro - and two of my three kids are in Newcomers, so I ended up preparing six horses, competing myself, watching my family compete!! We never have enough jump boots or anything so we have to wait at xc the finish pegs and grab gear off whoever comes home first and put it on another horse. All that, and we lives miles from anywhere - and my husband and I make up about a fifth or the organising committee of the Mid West Equestrian Club at Nyngan which holds two events a year. So not only are we all competing - but have usually also put up dressage arenas, flagged courses, put up bunting, organised the prizes etc etc.....!! I'm so impressed you're doing all of the abover and BREASTFEEDING!! Good on you. As for the mounting block thing, I broke my leg about three years ago and struggle to get on any sized horse. It can be very funny as I try and find suitable things to climb on. My latest method is to use the tailgate of the horse truck. It is wide enough that the horse can walk forwards but I still have a platform to launch myself from!! Good luck.

So pleased you enjoy them! I have to wedge Astro somewhere or he'll go backwards and sideways! Thankfully there was a Hose bay nearby at Camden this weekend! Great to hear other mums out there giving it their all to enjoy the sport!,

As a mum of one with another on the way, I always wondered how you did it, Kate! Every time I saw you at an event you'd be in complete control (well, as much as you can be when the dressage judge is late, the Newcomers SJ is kicking off and someone needs more timesheets - all at the same time!!). So, great to know it's not just me feeling frazzled and pulled in so many different directions as I try to compete in what has to be the most time and money consuming sport there is! See you round at the next Canberra event. And REALLY well done at PreNov. You and Astro looked super. :)