Were you lucky enough to make it to Equitana this year? I was. Equitana is a celebration of all things equine. Last year’s devastating attack of Equine influenza in our country meant that Equitana had to be postponed from 2007 until 2008. Well, was it worth the wait? Absolutely!
The venue was the Melbourne Showgrounds and I was lucky enough to be invited to be part of it with Saddleworld Australia. For four days I had the chance to catch up with readers and talk to them about my Riding High and Pony Patch books. I was kept busy signing – everyone wanted to buy a book. Some wanted stocking fillers for children and friends and some just wanted them for themselves. Lots of you had already read some or all of the books and some of you even bought books in from home for me to sign!
As well as plenty of book signing action, I got to watch the World Cup Showjumping event, which was won by Olympian Laurie Lever. I also had the chance to see a demonstration by well known trainer and bush poet, Guy Maclean. What a wonderful way he has with his beautifully trained horses and he’s a born entertainer too. Olympian eventers, Megan Jones and Clayton Fredericks, proudly sporting their silver medals from Athens, were also at the Saddleworld store.
There was so much to see and do at Equitana that it was impossible to fit it all in. Can’t wait till the next one in 2010 so I can catch what I missed this time!
Gosh, things have been so busy for me that I have had no time to update this page until now! Not much has been happening with the horses. My lovely black mare, Summer Eclipse, now has a new home as a games and jumping horse. Congratulations to her new owner, Andrew Rodaughan. Andrew is an expert novelty rider and has represented Victoria many times as part of the state games team. I know Jess and Andrew are going to have heaps of fun together.
My darling little babies, Jaspar and Cadence, are now over one year old and growing very fast. Both are very friendly and always come running to the gate to greet me. They love to be rubbed and cuddled but I have to take care not to spoil them too much so that they don’t become too pushy.
Bickham is enjoying just relaxing in the paddock without a baby to look after this year, and Spider has been started under saddle and is now having a bit of a spell too. He is three years old now and almost 15.3 hands high.
My two Morgans, Cruise and Tuck, are both fat and full of mischief. Tuck is having a break after competing at a few navigation rides over winter. He and I were very happy to place in four out of five of them, two firsts and two seconds, which gave us third place in the HRCAV top ten award for 2008! Cruise has just finished a dressage competition where he performed well. He and I will have our next competition at a show in early December.
From the 20th to the 22nd of November I will be at Equitana at the Melbourne showgrounds. I have been invited to appear as a guest of Saddleworld to sign books in my Riding High and Pony Patch series. Equitana is a huge horse event with lots of displays, educational presentations and things to buy and look at. It has everything and anything you can think of to do with horses – horse heaven really! So, if you want to stock up on pony books for Christmas, I will be there and would love to meet you and personally sign my books for you.
I have more exciting news too. I will be releasing another book next year. It’s still quite secret so I cant tell you any more than that but keep your eyes and ears peeled in May 2009.
Finally, after a long wait (especially for me), Norton is back. Once again Liz Alger has done a beautiful job of bringing my naughty Norton to life in Norton Saves The Day, and, Norton’s Blue Ribbon. He’s just as cheeky and naughty as ever and twice as lovable. Both books will be in bookstores in April.
And now for horsey news…
Both foals, Jaspar and Cadence, are now in perfect health and both growing very fast. My little Morgan superstar, Cruise, performed well at Barastoc in the Performance Pony section, and managed to place eighth against a lot of older, more experienced ponies. He jumped a beautiful clear round and scored well in both the dressage and led sections as well. This weekend, he and Tuck are off to compete at the Australian National Morgan Show. After that, I’ll be hanging out in front of my computer, working on my next book. This one will be something new and different – horses will be part of it, and it’s about an amazing adventure that took place in Australian history but that’s about all I can tell you for now.
It’s a huge relief to know that Equine Influenza has finally been eradicated from Australia, after a long spring and summer of no competitions in most states. I hope all of you who are lucky enough to have your own ponies are back out enjoying pony club and other activities with your horse.
It’s been a busy time since my last post. I can’t believe that Christmas is here already. I hope you all had a good year at school and are now looking forward to summer holidays. For those of you who are lucky enough to have your own horses, I hope you manage to spend lots of time with them over the holidays and that your horses stay healthy and happy. Hopefully we will all be soon out and about again as the Equine Influenza crisis seems to be easing. If all is well I am hoping to take Cruise to Barastoc in February. He is entered in the performance pony classes.
As I write this I am sad to report that one of my foals is sick. Little Jaspar has picked up a bacterial infection and is taking his time over getting well. I hope in my next post I can report better news about him. He is a dear little colt who loves attention and he has a way of making everybody love him, so fingers crossed he is well again well very soon.
The other foal, Cadence, is growing rapidly and loves nothing more than a good old scratch on the rump and shoulders. She is losing her foal coat and a lovely golden Palomino colour is beginning to show through underneath.The rest of my equine ‘family’ are all doing well. Oh, and by the way, keep an eye out later in 2008 for the next two books in the Pony Patch series. Hoping that all of you have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. Best Wishes, Bernadette Kelly.
Saturday 22nd September was a very busy day for me with the arrival of not one, but two foals. I had been keeping a close watch on both the mares for several weeks. At 4am on Saturday morning I was woken by the sound of Josie’s horse, Doc, neighing. Thinking one of the mares might be foaling, I quickly dressed and went outside in the dark to investigate. It was hard to see but I didn’t take a torch as I didn’t want to disturb them if they happened to be foaling. Most mares deliberately wait to foal in darkness so that they can be assured of some privacy.
Both mares had taken to standing in the corners of their paddocks, facing each other across the laneway for company, but Bickham wasn’t in her usual place. I was giving Jess (Summer Eclipse), a scratch and a pat when through the darkness I heard a special little nicker from Bickham. I recognised it straight away as the nicker that she reserves for her foals. I have never heard her use it at any other time but for a foal. I ran back to the house to get a torch and sure enough, running beside Bickham, coat shining bright and creamy in the torchbeam, was a rather large palomino foal. I went back inside to wake Josie and together we admired the foal for a while. In the dark I couldn’t tell if it was a colt or a filly but we soon established in the daylight that she was a filly. We have called her Cadence, after Erica’s dressage horse from the Riding High books.
Then, at 5.30 that same afternoon, I saw Jess lying down in the paddock and raced over to see her foaling. This time it was in daylight. It all happened quite quickly. We have named Jess’s little chestnut colt Jaspar, which means special. He is very special because Jess had already lost two foals, born much too early to survive, before we finally had some luck with this one.
What a busy time it’s been since my last post. Myself and Black Dog Books Illustrator, Richard Morden, recently had a lovely day speaking to Mentone Grammar primary students at the school’s Shoreham seaside camp. It was a delightfully sunny winter day and the students were all fabulous listeners. They were all very keen to ask lots of questions about books and writing.
For me, that day was soon followed by another visit to Assumption college to speak to the 2007 crop of year seven’s. Again, a very interested and enthusiastic group of students with some very thoughtful questions and responses to my presentation.
My other life as a horse breeder is about to become very busy too. Both the mares have huge bellies that look as if they might burst at any minute. I don’t think the foals can be too far away now from making their entrances into the world. Foals and older horses are especially at risk from the Equine Influenza virus so I am carefully watching the current situation. My horses are at present safe in Victoria but nobody knows if the disease will eventually spead down south from NSW and Queensland to here.
If any of you reading this have your own ponies, please keep them safe from this current Equine Flu outbreak and most importantly, keep them at home so that the Department of Primary Industries can contain all the affected horses and stop the disease from spreading. The horse flu would have to be one of the most contagious things you can think of. Because the bacteria that causes the virus can live for a long time on any surface, it can be spread not only from horse to horse, but by people, gear, vehicles and even just through the air.
If we all do our bit we can hopefully stop the spread before it covers the whole country and we all have to live with it forever. If any of you have had to miss out on competing because of the flu, that is disappointing. But just remember that we don’t want to have a situation where we are always putting our horses at risk of the flu just by going to events.
But on a much brighter note, keep an eye out here on the blog and on my horse page. I hope to soon be posting pictures of the foals. Here’s hoping for healthy, happy, mares and foals everywhere this breeding season.
Gosh, it’s July already! What happened to the year so far?
Lots of things going on this month. Finally my new Pony Patch series has been released. There are two titles, Naughty Norton and Losing Norton. These are illustrated chapter books about a really bratty little pony called Norton, and his owner, Molly. Molly is so madly in love with Norton that she thinks he is just perfect, despite all of his (very) bad behaviour. You can check out the Pony Patch page to see more about Norton.
Keep an eye out too for book seven and eight in the Riding High series, Making Waves and Pony Trek. They are both due to be released in August.
Lots of things have been happening at home with all my own ‘ponies’. My two mares, Summer Eclipse (Jess), and Red Bickham (Bick), both have huge bellies now. The foals are both due in early September. My ‘two fat ladies’ only have about seven weeks to wait now for their new babies to arrive!
There has been a new addition to my equine family with the arrival of Haymeron Park Kentuckyman (Tuck). Like Cruise, he is a purebred Morgan. It will take some time for Tuck to settle in after living most of his life so far at Haymeron Park Morgan stud in Bonegilla. I am looking forward to teaching Tuck about the world and eventually getting him out and about to competitions.
Meanwhile Cruise and I are still going strong. We’ve been doing some navigation rides, combined training and horse trials. Cruise really seems to enjoy getting out and is still bringing home ribbons. We have even won a couple of our events! Of course, the ribbons are nice to receive but the best thing is just having fun with my horse-and with such a willing little horse as Cruise riding is always fun.
Vital Signs (Doc) has been having a very lazy life lately. My daughter has been busy with study and doesn’t have as much time to ride. I don’t think Doc really minds too much. I guess that lazing around a paddock with plenty of food and company is probably a horse’s idea of a pretty good life.
Spider is growing up fast. He is no longer small but now stands at just over fifteen hands. Right at this minute he has a long shaggy winter coat and is all covered in mud. Soon I will begin to get him ready for the palomino show in December. He’ll be groomed and rugged, and I will begin doing more in-hand training with him so he’s at his best by the time the show comes around. The way the year is flying by, December will be here before we know it.
Things have been very busy for me since my last post. I have been writing books seven and eight for the Riding High series and working on a number of other projects as well. Look out for Riding High seven, Making Waves, and Riding High eight, Pony Trek. Both are due out in stores from July.
Look out also for the first two books in my new series, Pony Patch, which are also due to be released in July. The Pony Patch books feature gorgeous and funny illustrations by Elizabeth Alger. They are about a young girl called Molly and her very naughty pony, Norton, who gets up to all kinds of tricks that drive Molly crazy. The books are called ‘Naughty Norton’ and ‘Losing Norton’.
I am very proud and happy to announce the arrival of my new horse, Haymeron Park Kentuckyman. Tuck is a beautiful big bay Morgan horse and I love him already. As soon as I can get some good photos of him he’ll be featured with the other horses on my website.
Spider has been doing some training with me. He has been getting used to scary (for horses) things like plastic bags, bouncing balls and popping umbrellas. I must say he didn’t seem too scared of any of them.
I can’t forget to mention my little Superstar, Tredway Cruise. He has been out to several events with me lately and bringing home place ribbons from all of them. What a fantastic pony he is and great fun to ride.
Happy reading until my next post!
A big congratulations and well done to my daughter Josie and her horse, Vital Signs, for winning the C grade two round championship at Bendigo and finishing the day as C grade showjumping champion. Vital Signs is now having a well earned rest until the school holidays next week, when Josie and myself plan to do quite a bit of riding and a couple of competitions as well.
Tredway Cruise and I attended the long awaited national Morgan horse Show on the 3rd and 4th of March at Tonimbuk Equestrian Centre. We met lots of new people and Cruise made himself a new friend in Mt Tawonga Kiewa, who was stabled beside him.
Cruise is such a wonderful willing horse and he made me proud when he won Reserve Champion Morgan gelding, as well as the pleasure rider dressage and the working show hunter classes. We also attempted our first show jumping round to finish in second place. What a superstar!
Good luck to Zoe who is now the proud owner of Redman. I wish you both the very best for your future together and I know Zoe will look after Redman and love him as much as he was loved while he lived with us.