It’s ANZAC Day and I am putting the day off work to good use by re-visiting the world of Jay and her friends as I work on finishing the sequel to “Flying Changes”, titled “Against the Clock”. Here’s a quick extract from part-way through the book…
When we arrive at the show grounds, I’m happy to see that everyone’s Christmas spirit is alive and well. The jump stands are wrapped in tinsel, riders are sporting Santa hats and fake beards, and the horses’ browbands and saddle blankets are wrapped in tinsel. I notice the Foxhall-James’ truck nearby, easily identifiable from a distance by the large inflatable Santa bouncing off the top of it, ready to terrorise everyone else’s horses. Christmas carols are being blared out over the loudspeakers as we pull into a parking space and whip the ponies off the truck to get tacked up, as our first class starts in twenty minutes.
I give Finn a quick once-over with a body brush before putting her saddle on. I spent hours last night stitching tinsel and attaching sprigs of plastic holly onto her saddle blanket, and I now wrap a strand of silver tinsel around my helmet and tie a red piece into her tail – both festive and functional, warning other riders not to get too close to her ever-ready heels.
Tabby is painting the words to Christmas carols on Trixie’s rump as Alec tightens the girth, elbowing her attempts at nipping him out of the way. “Anyone seen my jacket?”
“In the truck,” Tabby tells him as I check Finn’s girth and mount up.
A jingling noise alerts me to the approach of Tegan, trotting over to us on Nugget. A pair of red felt antlers are attached to his headstall, half a red plastic bauble is stuck to his noseband, and his tail has been sprayed through with silver glitter. She has attached bells to her stirrup irons and to his bridle, and Nugget keeps shaking his head in annoyance at all of the decorations.
“It’s Rudolph the red-nosed show jumper,” I greet her.
“And one of Santa’s tiny elves!” Alec adds as he jumps off the ramp with his jacket in hand, and a red Santa hat pulled on over his helmet. Tegan flips him off as he vaults up onto Trixie.
“Oh come on now, that’s not very festive!” Alec teases her, and we both roll our eyes at him and turn our ponies away, leaving Alec jogging along behind, tightening his girth as he goes.