Today was the National Memorial Day for the Christchurch Earthquake. We had a holiday in Canterbury and there was a huge service in Hagley Park which thousands of people attended. We both decided not to go and took a drive on the main roads through to Brighton so that we could get some first hand feel for the damage. The roads were quiet, but as John said, he almost needed to go into four wheel drive mode. There was not an undamaged road and there was mess to some degree on every street. Some roads have massive dips and humps in them and there are ripples like big waves in some places. We chose not to go onto the residential streets out of respect for the people living there, but we certainly saw some awfully damaged buildings. It was amazing that there were not more people killed.
This photo was taken from the Port Hills just after the quake struck. The "fog" in the middle is the dust from the falling rubble in the central city.
I can't help but feel grateful that we moved out of the city. I love driving out through the little bit of countryside to get home.
On the looking forward note, something exciting has come my way. Last week at my lesson I was told about a horse that was being given away that might be perfect for me. Johnny didn't say no straight away so I got very excited. My instructor found out how much it would cost to keep a horse out at the farm, and for the farrier. My heart sunk. By the time we calculated how much it would cost to keep per year, we were talking thousands. Plus the farm isn't exactly handy. I would be very unhappy if my horse was stuck somewhere in a paddock where anyone could get in. So we decided not to go ahead with finding out if the horse would be suitable. There were understandably lots of tears. Right now I'm crying at the drop of a hat.
So onto the good news. This is Zanny. You've met her before when we went to visit her baby Fraser. By the way, Fraser is big, gorgeous and has a coat that feels like teddybear fur. Zanny has been at Horse Clubmed in Ashburton fattening up because Fraser sucked the life out of her. As soon as she gets back I am allowed to ride her and love her whenever I want! I'm so excited. She is very placid and safe, and I'll be able to continue my lessons plus have extra rides to practise on my own. She is a very, very special girl who is much loved by the family, so anytime I'm not with her she will be getting the very best of care. It is the best possible arrangement for me and so kind of Zanny's family.
Note the nice mane for holding on to. Sam's is so thin I've hardly got anything to grab onto in an emergency. Also see that velvet muzzle. Hope she likes kisses. Sam does.
My goal is to be able to ride a simple dressage course with style and accuracy and to feel confident at trot and canter. I've got a long way to go, and am looking forward to trying hard to make it happen.