My Mishmash Mob

Host: Gallipoli Station
Written by Jack Bishop – Overseer, Gallipoli Station.

Hello all Central Station followers, and a big hello from Gallipoli Station!

A little bit of info on us for you before we start – we are an outstation to Alexandria Station in the Northern Territory, 96km North of Camooweal, just a pinch over the Queensland border. To put it into perspective of orientation we are about three and a half hours drive north west of Mount Isa. This is the second year my husband (Brolga), my three children, and I have been overseeing the property along with 12 staff, who are the nuts and bolts of the operation. This is our second year hosting for Central Station. I thought we could share some more stories and hope you enjoy our snippets and thoughts for the week. Some of the beautiful photos you will see later this week of the stock camp are courtesy of one of our talented stockwomen, Stace Scott, who has generously allowed us to use her photography to help tell our stories.

Over some time now we have accumulated a furry family, four horses and two dogs. We have had all of them, except the pony, since they were pups/foals and in turn, they have watched my three children grow from babies also, so we are I guess if you want to put it in animal terms, a mishmash mob. I thought I would share some of what I have witnessed with my family.

Whilst helping Miss 6 pamper and fuss over our horses, Master 4, was on the fence ‘talking’ to one of our horses who was tied up whilst drying off, which was fine. Next minute there was a squeal, followed a very upset boy, at my feet, dobbing on the horse. After a bit of a cuddle and an injury evaluation, which was nothing more than a graze, I got the full story . . .

He had been very quietly pinching the horse the whole time he had been over there and she had had quite enough! I had failed to notice him then, but on other occasions had witnessed him doing so and had had stern words about what would be likely to happen if he kept doing it, BUT! . . . there is nothing like a life lesson courtesy of our wisest horse, who was also a mother, to push the point home when she took matters into her own hands and finally nipped him back. I had known retaliation would occur at sometime and as much as I had told him and warned him, he is the biggest stirrer in our family, he is always looking for a rise from someone – and that is a pretty big call in my house!

Another story comes to mind; this was a few years ago now when my daughter was about two. We had been washing cars over in the shed, as the bore water combined with direct sunlight was a bad combination to leave that annoying mineral sheen all over your freshly washed vehicle.

So the horses had seen what we were doing and had come over in hope of getting a hose down each. We were not hard to convince and obligingly gave them a bit of a bath. They had settled down not far from the shed, a little way over but not in front of our house yard having a camp. The time limit for shed jobs for Miss 2 had reached it’s peak and she was tired with the shenanigans, so she set off towards the house. I was still busying myself with packing things away but was calling out to her to wait but she was not going to have a bar of it! So she was half way across the compound before I finally set off after her. I had taken little notice but our younger mare had headed out from the mob to stand herself directly between my daughter and the house gate she was heading for. At that moment I didn’t take much notice but as I took Miss 2 back, our little mare turned back around and walked back to her mob to stand with them again. I thought ‘well that was peculiar!’. She had no reason to do that! No grass to chew on or other horses to talk to, in fact she walked away from the others to block our little one up! I’ll be buggered, she just blocked my daughter up!

This shouldn’t have been difficult to understand as our horses had an annoying habit of hanging around the house like bad smells and had an uncanny knack of always knowing when one of the gates had been left open by accident to come in and eat the lawn . . . which they knew they were not allowed to do! I’m sure they knew every word I was yelling at them too but they had to do that victory lap every time before they exited the crime scene with tails elevated and nostrils flared!

So I guess all of this time they were around, as much as we observed them, they observed us for at least the last two years of Miss 2’s life, so I guess they had seen the rules for this little human and it was probably not much different from theirs I guess. She’d had a foal around her too, so why wouldn’t she know this? I should not have been surprised it was that particular mare though, although she had the tendency to pretend to be sour towards us adults, she was always the first to say hi to the kids over the fence.

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This is one of the many advantages of our lifestyle, we get to live alongside animal families and with that we, if receptive to it, are able to gain a deeper insight to the complexities of animal family groups and intelligence and I can’t help but think how lucky we are to be a part of it.

– Jacki Bishop

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