Kay Harding jokes that it takes her about three laps of the big paddock at home to really loosen up.
The 66-year-old admits both her and the now-retired Jirrima Variety Show (aka "Festy") are a bit stiff in the joints these days.
"Three laps equals about three kilometres - the first lap loosens us up; the second lap gets us into a rhythm; and by the third lap we're ready to do some work," she laughs.
With a body that's still able and a mind that's willing, Kay has enjoyed a successful return to riding her beloved horses after a freak fall left her with a serious brain injury in 2012.
It had been just another day at the office for Kay and her eventing daughter Tania, who run Jirrima Performance Horses from their 700-acre property at Walla.
Kay, a highly experienced horsewoman, had been riding a "quiet little horse" at Wangaratta when it lost its footing and slipped out from underneath her.
The fall saw Kay flown to Melbourne with significant brain trauma and placed in intensive care for several weeks before undergoing 12 months of intensive rehabilitation.
The already close mother-daughter team overcame new hurdles, shelving some of the farm and horse pursuits to help Kay relearn basic skills such as balance, co-ordination and conversation.
I'm happiest being alive and just being able to do things every day.Kay Harding
The pair's undying passion for their horses played a big role in the recovery process.
"You just had to work day by day because we really didn't know at the time how much Mum would regain," Tania said in 2015.
"We have always lived our life around horses and more than ever they have given Mum a sense of purpose and self-worth."
Seven years later Kay is firmly back in the swing of things and has a new equine partner in Jirrima Candyman, one of their many successful home-bred performance horses.
Kay recently returned from Werribee where she competed with Candyman for the first time at the 2019 Equestrian Victoria Masters Games on February 16-17.
They came away with a first and third placing in the dressage and won the combined training in the 60-plus division.
"We get on really well together - he looks after me," Kay says of her 11-year-old "pony".
"He's only 16.2 hands (whereas Festy was a mighty 17.2 hands)."
It's not the little triumphs in the competition arena that keep Kay cantering on.
"Getting the placings (at Werribee) was fantastic … but that was yesterday," Kay muses.
"You have to keep moving forward - that's how I keep going."
Kay says the steadying support of Tania has been instrumental in her recovery.
"She is mother hen," Kay laughs.
"She is an amazing person on all levels.
"The hardest part with a head injury is I wasn't aware I couldn't do things.
"It's been my really big problem - my brain has never said, 'you can't do that'."
But Tania does, in the nicest possible way.
Like the time Kay took it upon herself to trim the feet of some horses while her daughter was away.
Everything went smoothly until the last horse put its hoof down on her foot, according to Kay.
One broken toe later and Tania gently suggested, "I think you should have waited until I was here".
While Kay is relishing her return to the saddle, she is adamant her riding interests take a backseat to Tania's.
Tania competes at the elite level of Australian eventing with "once-in-a-lifetime" horse Jirrima Yorkshire and has achieved much success aboard a string of home-bred horses.
"I'm the second cab (off the rank)," Kay says.
"When Tania has competitions, she takes priority and I'm the strapper."
Kay says she wouldn't have it any other way and is completely content with life on the farm, the horses, day-to-day chores and her leadlighting class on Mondays.
"I'm happiest being alive and just being able to do things every day," she says simply.