Until a couple of years ago, my attitude to horses was similar to Billy Crystal‘s “Yeeha” in City Slickers (at 1:44 in the trailer below):

My first experience with horses was a sunset trek with friends more than a few years ago. I remember being taken aback at how big these beasts are, never having thought through the amount of muscle and bone required to carry riders in countless westerns and Black Beauty reboots. When we were led to a corral with horses, I requested a “quiet one with a touch of adventure” and was introduced to a gelding called Bruce.

Bruce and I got on fine: he followed the rest of the group over various tracks in the hills behind Johnsonville. I remember thinking how westerns never show a horse pooing voluminously or farting freely as they moved about.

A while into the trek an open paddock beckoned and the more experienced riders broke into a canter, leaving us behind. I remember urging Bruce on — with maybe a polite “Yah” and a tentative kick of the heels — and he accelerated from a walk to a trot to a canter, all the while I slid in slow motion from the saddle, hung onto his neck for a couple of strides, slipping further and further down until I was deposited on the grass and Bruce showed me his heels and backside.

There were no hard feelings. I was only winded. I had requested a mount “with a touch of adventure” which had obviously exceeded my ambition. Someone caught Bruce, I got back into the saddle and the rest of the trek was uneventful.

I’ve ridden a horse once since that trek, and although I’m told I “look good on a horse”, they’re not really my thing (though a part of me thinks horse riding could be a useful skill after The Crash). The Goddess is — there’s no other way of putting it — horse mad.

Which brings me to an overdue introduction of the cavalry troop at Fortress Mamea:

Call sign: SUNDANCE
Call sign: SUNDANCE

The Goddess’ mount, The Kaimanawa Pony stands 14.2 hands high.

In the past week, the troop has doubled increased by two-thirds with a new recruit:

Call sign: BONFIRE
Call sign: BONFIRE

A paddock companion for the Kaimanawa: The Exmoor Mini stands 10 hands tall.

Onwards, ho, indeed.


Health Warning: Pix to Follow

When in doubt – or experiencing a dearth of bloggable material – post pictures.

For starters – by special demand request: Fortress Mamea’s mounted element, The Kaimanawa Pony.

The Kaimanawa Pony


GOODBYE MY FELENI: Order of Battle

The “Goodbye My Feleni” cast (left to right): Taofia Pelesasa, Samson Chan-Boon,Leki Jackson Bourke, Andy Sani

We don’t have stocktakes or inspection days at Fortress Mamea where the menagerie present themselves front and centre with clean nails and shiny coats.

We do have a standing order of battle: our Forward Operating Base (FOB) Pi*, The Dog, The Goldfish, and The Chickens. I like to keep The Amphibian, The Kaimanawa Pony (Goddess permitting) and The Kitten** in reserve.

The Goodbye My Feleni production also has its order of battle:

Rehearsals commence next week.  I’ve gone cold turkey on Left 4 Dead II in order to finish the last draft of the script.  And our faithful and loyal avatar, Chocolate Stigmata, has gotten itself a twitter account.

At Goodbye My Feleni HQ this phase of operation is not called ‘getting one’s ducks in a row’ – Jenni insists that we  call it getting ready to stomp on your shit.

* Pi – Samoan for honeybee (pronounced ‘pee’), rather than the Greek letter and irrational number.
** Yes, an update on the expanded menagerie will follow, complete with pictures for your desktop, laptop and phone wallpapers.