May 3, 2012
On a cold and rainy morning nothing stands as stoic as horses having their blankets lifted from their warm backs on the Bicentennial National Trail.
Steamy warmth envelopes Sam Alexander on the outskirts of Canberra as he tightens a girth strap and steels himself for a wet spongy saddle.
On average, only three people a year finish the 5330-kilometre journey he's on, from one end of eastern Australia to the other.
This is the 24-year-old medical student's first break from text books since high school. Three weeks before getting into the saddle he broke in two bay geldings, Ranger and Laddie who are on the ride with his chestnut mare Marda. Moonlit trails and snowy peaks have led them through lean times in the high country. So they're on a break near Canberra where the horses are regaining weight in a lush paddock at Hall.
Mr Alexander says managing them and understanding their psychology are his biggest challenge.
In brumby country he discovered Marda was in season and ready to push her luck with his portable electric fencing...
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