A story about a story, by Joanne Verikios
How much do you remember about your primary school days? I attended the same school for seven years and remember the names of most of my contemporaries and all my teachers. I still see the thorny, purple bougainvillea creeper under the headmaster's window; smell the cool, shady area underneath the school where we played games like "beam" (where you bounced a tennis ball off a beam); feel the heat rising from the asphalt quadrangle where we would assemble for parade, flag raising and marching into class to the tune of The Colonel Bogey; recall the scrubbed floor boards and the scarred wooden desks with holes for inkwells; relive our progression from slates and slate pencils (which we would sharpen by rubbing them on a kerb) to exercise books with lines that got narrower every year, to reflect the improvement of our fine motor skills, and real graphite pencils; and grimace with disgust at the crates of cute little, gold-topped bottles of government-supplied, compulsory sun-warmed milk that I never drank.
This original article by Joanne Verikios was first published in Equestrian Country Magazine, Issue 3, Spring 2017
as "Have Clipboard Will Travel - What Happens On Tour!"
(All photographs courtesy of Eric Lloyd Photography)
You may have heard of the annual Assessment Tours which feature on the calendars of several of Australia's Warmblood breed associations and societies. In its simplest form, a Tour is a benchmarking opportunity which is relevant for Warmblood owners, riders, potential buyers and especially for breeders.
As Warmblood breeding has matured in Australia, the breed administrators here have sought to provide a similar service to the European Keurings and other well-regulated events like Mare Grading, Foal Branding, and Regional Foal Shows. Faced with the huge challenges of distance and diversity of facilities posed by this country, however, they have wisely decided to take the judges to the horses, rather than the other way around. Perhaps the simplest analogy is that a Tour is a bit like a huge breed show, except the judges do the travelling instead of the exhibitors.
From a very early age I have been able to tune in to what horses and ponies were thinking and what they were likely to do next.