Host: Saltriver Horsemanship
Written by Heath Stewart – Owner, Saltriver Horsemanship and Topstock WA Feed Services.
Hi everyone, my name is Heath Stewart (also known as “Spoon”) from Saltriver Horsemanship and Topstock WA Feed Services, and thanks for having us back again to host Central Station.
We’ve had a ridiculously busy calendar year so far and covered a few miles, by mid May alone I’d driven 16,000km plus flown 13,000km, whilst Kellie has made several trips overseas furthering her knowledge.
In January and February I got over to Walcha and Armidale campdrafts, and then Landmark Sale which was great.
April and May is our busy time with station clinics, most of our clients wanting to get all new staff on the same page straight away. We added a few new venues to the usual suspects this year. The horsemanship clinics are not just about riding horses, it’s an opportunity to assist staff to problem solve, work as a team, and see the learning opportunities in mistakes in order to improve.
Following the wedding of the year between Matt and Connie (I’m surprised it wasn’t in New Idea), first cab off the rank was Ruby Plains. It’s still pretty warm at the end of March there but I love the weather there. We had a great group, albeit a little cheeky, they decided “spork” was a better nickname than “spoon”. Kids these days, no respect!
From there I got to teach at Killarney for the first time. It’s a beautiful place with great potential, no doubt Jamie will have it running smoothly in no time.
We decided to get some cattle in and planned a small muster. The horses are loaded on the gooseneck and off we go . . . aaaaannnd after 200 metres we spot a random mob of steers. We hadn’t even left the house paddock . . . shortest muster ever!
Then up to Darwin to fly to Perth, pack the truck and drive back up to Wyndham to do a clinic with some aboriginal prisoners. Now if I’m honest I was a little unsure how this was all going to go, but I loved it. Roderick and Alida were fantastic hosts and the prisoners were great students and heaps of fun and keen to learn.
Next I’m back down to Myroodah with Chris and the crew and I am amazed with how every year the boys improve, a credit to the commitment Chris has to the running of the place. A couple of them are getting into the campdrafting and going really well.
Just down the road to Blina where Meda joined us for a combined clinic. Despite the large group everyone focussed really well. We have done several clinics at Blina and the work done in between clinics is obvious with marked improvement in the horse plant and rider skills.
Next was two new stops, Liveringa and Nerrima. I loved the opportunity to share our learnings with the new groups and even though our initial clinics were only a couple of days each, the crews grasped the concepts really well.
Home time and, as you do, I pushed the envelope to get back in 2 1/2 days, tailwind virtually all the way. Winning!
Since being home we’ve run several clinics and started quite a few horses. Doing it in the cold and wet of July and August has knobs on it. Kellie has opened an equine wellness centre which specializes in rehab and agistment. It gives a holistic approach to health and wellbeing particularly post op.
Campdraft season down here has kicked off and managed to pick up a few ribbons at Eneabba. Twelve months ago we were told our best mare Impulse would never compete again after tearing a tendon so it’s a credit to Kellie that she is back on the truck and going so well.
Topstock has also been full bore. The last 15 months have been so busy and we are going to have to get a bigger plant to keep up. Most of our stock licks are sent to the Kimberley and Pilbara.
There’s a few other projects in the pipeline also so there’s never a dull moment here. Sometimes I feel puffed and crave a day off to have a bludge, but usually the next day I’m fresh again and back into it!