Stripes of silver hang in the air and rivers of water crisscross the track, but Camelot, black as the clouds, treads confidently over the uneven ground. Leaning forward in the saddle, I stroke his rain-soaked neck. I breathe in eucalyptus and the dampness of the earth.
My face is wet, as is the hair that’s come loose from my plait. Between the tops of my knee-high boots and the leg flaps of my oilskin coat, my jodhpurs are sodden. I run a finger inside my collar and re-fasten a press stud, shivering as we skirt around the tree roots. Notwithstanding my gloves, pins and needles prickle my fingers as I clench and unclench my hands. When I push Camelot into a trot, my body warms, but the wind is cold on my cheeks.
Camelot, as happy as a platypus swimming in a stream, breaks into a canter at the top of the rise, and I laugh as I pull him back. ‘Not today, boy.’
A rumble of thunder sounds in the distance as we pass Mr Riley’s shearing shed and sheep pens. The water tank is shrouded in mist. When Camelot shies, edging off the path and into the bush, I increase the pressure on my outside leg to bring him back to the track…