Host: Saltriver Horsemanship
Written by Heath Stewart – Owner, Saltriver Horsemanship and Performance Horses.
My father had spent many years in the Kimberleys as a young man, so when I finished boarding school he suggested I do the same, and arranged for me to go to Jubilee Downs with Keith and Karen Anderson. Dad drove me up and we called into the Fitzroy Lodge before heading out. In one corner sat Jim Motter and Peter Leutenegger which I promptly summised to be the local mafia. Across the room Dave Fielder suddenly threw someone he was drinking with head first over the bar. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into!
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the Kimberleys and the people there. Two seasons at Jubilee followed by two years at Parron Place at Badgingarra (then owned by Moola Bulla) preceded five years of horsebreaking on several stations including Degrey, Mandora, Brooking Springs, Quanbun, Fossil Downs, Moola Bulla, Springvale, Rosewood, and Carlton Hill. This gave me the opportunity to see a lot of country and meet a lot of people.
I was pretty green when I started breaking in, I lost count of how many times I got bucked off that first year! A lot of what I learnt was the hard way and I made plenty of mistakes but I am grateful for the lessons. When I think of how hard breaking in was for me and the horse back then compared to how we start under saddle now, it’s quite a contrast!
I met Kellie in 1999 and together we purchased Topstock WA Feed Services off my father and started up Saltriver Horsemanship and Performance Horses. Kellie has been instrumental in taking me from a “busted ass horse breaker” to being part of a company that serves and helps many people, particularly in the pastoral industry. When it all boils down to it I’m good at two things – making stock licks and teaching horsemanship. As our work is seasonal I will share previous adventures rather than just these five days. Tomorrow I am going to put on my Saltriver cap and talk about our station horsemanship schools.