It’s what my old professor Adrian Mitchell called the exemplary trope: the hero, arming himself for battle. (Googling Adrian I discover to my utter surprise and delight that he is now Head of the School of English, Art History, Film and Media at Sydney Uni. Wow! He is therefore boss to my friend Kate Crawford, pursuing her manifold accomplishments in the Media program; also, great heavens preserve us, to my old sparring partner Julian Murphett, now with his doctorate from Cambridge and a couple of books out from CUP. Extraordinary achievements! Toasts all round!)

I had to dig up the fetish gear from various hoards and caches; jodhpurs from the linen closet; green Creekside polo shirt from the top shelf in the bedroom; green Troxel helmet and Ariat half-chaps and leather gloves from the camping equipment downstairs. It all fits again, more or less, and I am the Pony Club poster child for June 2003.

I’m having a lesson with the New Zealand Grand Prix showjumper Toni McIntosh at 6pm. I haven’t ridden since I won the medal round on Austin at the Creekside Show last July, when I was four months pregnant. I’m giddy with anticipation. Epona, goddess of horses, please don’t let me fall off.

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