One Day – Francis Putrawan

Francis Putrawan
Mad about horses, Francis Putrawan traveled from her native British island of Jersey to Bali, where she married local boy Ketut Putrawan, before spending more than two decades in Australia and eventually returning back to Bali and setting up a riding school in Canggu, north Kuta. The 54-year-old mother of two spoke to The Bali Times’ Indra Prayogi.

The sounds of birds twittering and cows lowing wake me from my dreamy state at six in the morning. I live in the countryside and this is my natural early morning alarm.

I’m sorting out in my head what I have to do when I get out of bed and leave Ketut in the land of dreams. The first thing I do is go to the stables at the back of the house and say good morning to our three Arabian horses – at the riding school we have 23 other horses and two foals – feed them, clean out their stables and give them a bit of a rubdown. When they hear me coming they get excited and start neighing. I love being with them; it makes me feel content. I thank my grandfather for introducing me to horses on his farm in Jersey when I was a kid, because since then I’ve loved them.

When I get back to the house, breakfast is already on the table, courtesy of my maid – usually coffee and godoh (fried banana), which I love.

Ketut and I started our business here, Kuda Perkasa (Gentle Horse), in 2003 and Ketut also runs a sports-injury clinic in Denpasar, where he treats locals and expatriates. He also treats people who have had accidents, like falling off motorbikes. At Kuda Perkasa we manufacture equipment like saddles and clothing and sell to riding schools.

I also do some consultancy work for an equestrian center in Canggu, near to home, but only every other day – mostly marketing and teaching the staff how to deal with customers and ride properly. The owner has a local newspaper and television station.

For lunch I might have a banana pancake, my favorite. But if my schedule is too tight I’ll skip lunch and keep going. There’s so much to do.

When I first came to Bali, in 1977, I met a cute local boy who turned out to be my future husband. After only a few months we decided to get married – I was 25. We had a short honeymoon in Bali and then moved to Sydney to start a horse-riding business there, which we ran for 24 years before returning to Bali and establishing this school. It’s such a nice thing to have your hobby as your job; I never tire of the work. Right now business is going well. There are a lot of stables in Bali so we have to be competitive

Both our sons, Leo and Made Jay, were born in Australia. Leo is 28 now and lives in Germany with his German wife. He’s a computer engineer. Made Jay is a musician and is 26 – he lives in Belgium, where he’s studying music.

The sun goes down so fast. Sometimes I feel that the days are just zipping by, and wonder where all the time has gone. I get home around 6pm and have an Indonesian dinner with Ketut. I’ll wait for a phone call from the boys, or sometimes I’ll call them. Otherwise we email each other. At 10pm it’s off to bed at the end of another wonderful day.

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