Australia’s Peter Handscomb overcomes fear of horses

Despite being married to an eventing rider, the Test batsman had never dared mount a horse until the lockdown period.

Peter Handscomb has played 16 Tests for Australia.   -  Vijay Soneji

Saddled with plenty of downtime during the coronavirus shutdown, Australian cricketer Peter Handscomb has used home isolation productively by overcoming a life-long fear of horses. Despite being married to an eventing rider, the Test batsman had never dared mount a horse until being locked down at their rural property near Melbourne.

“My wife has four horses. And in seven years, I’ve refused to get on them out of sheer [being] scared of the size of them and all of that,” the 28-year-old Victorian told reporters in a video conference on Thursday.

“So the other day I actually decided, ‘Right, it's time.’ So I jumped on a horse, we basically just went for a little walk and it was delightful.”

Yoga and Pilates

With virtually all domestic and international cricket suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Handscomb has little idea when he will be able to pad up again so he has been trying to keep fit with trail runs in the suburbs, some yoga and Pilates. His wife, who had hopes of competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics before suffering an ankle injury from falling from a horse, may have been pleased with his efforts to clean the house - but not so much his gardening.

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“In something to do to pass some time, I did a massive spring clean and basically cleaned out my cricket room, or ‘the crap room’ as my wife calls it. So I had to pack up a lot of stuff there. That’s all in the garage, I’m not entirely sure where it all is. I tried to grow my grass out the backyard to be absolutely perfect, but in doing that, I killed about half of it,” he said.

“So, I’ve got to work on that a little bit, that’s been keeping me entertained.”

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