Written by Kylie Savidge – Owner, Southampton Station.
As I said earlier, Paige joined us in December to get her Aussie legs under her before heading off for her adventures in Australia. She settled in to our family like she had always been a part of it; being very much a country girl coming from a semi-rural area in Alberta, Canada she found herself quite at home albeit the temperature was a “little” higher.
Paige with Kokoda.
Paige branding calves with TJ and Jack.
Mostly she came to work our young horses and get them started under saddle, however that soon turned into her doing everything else as well: mustering, cooking, pig chasing, horse painting (yep you heard me), butcher, gymnastics teacher, weed eradicator, and goat whisperer! Her plans to stay her 88 days required for the second year visa extended to nearly five months with us.
Kylie and Paige.
Paige became a pivotal part of our family, someone you could rely on to get the jobs done, and to care for Meghan like she was her little sister. She just took care of us all. At 18 that is pretty amazing. She shared her 19th birthday with us and we hope we made it memorable for her.
Our working dog fleet has gained and lost some of its members. Pickle, Julie, and Gus have joined our bunch of mad hatters. Pickle (who is a red and white collie) and Julie (who is a black and white collie) are sisters who are finding their place in our pack. They are showing promise of becoming very handy additions.
Pickle and Julie.
Gus, is a Jack Russell x Dachshund, and is a pocket rocket of epic proportions. Totally convinced he is a sheep, cattle, pig, goat, chook, and guard dog all rolled into one, he leads an interesting life which consists of him mostly getting into mischief. He believes kangaroos are evil incarnate and must be removed henceforth immediately. He allows his cats in his yard but heaven forbid that Mum’s cat come for a visit! He could have an entire blog of his own!
Gus, momentarily caught on camera, out playing with the big dogs.
Patrick, the goat, deserves a mention (yes, another blasted goat). Patrick is Paige and Meg’s baby, and he believes without a doubt he is a human goat, not a goat goat. Despite my attempts of convincing him otherwise, mostly by chasing him off the veranda with a broom and throwing cups of water at him, it all turns rather volatile when he decides he should slide open the door and waltz into the kitchen or lounge room to see what is going on! He was left orphaned in the yard and brought home by some soft-hearted fellow who shall not be named! Gus and Patrick are mischief personified when together, careening around the veranda at warp speeds, bouncing off all available furniture! Patrick is adjusting slowly to the fact he really is a goat goat, spending more and more quality time with my Mother’s milking goats. On the weekends when Meg is out he comes to visit, complaining bitterly of all the horrid things that have occurred whilst she has been at school.
Patrick camping on his second favourite object.
We lost two of our equine family this year. First was young Trooper, a little bay brumby gelding who had stolen our hearts with his gentle ways and kind but nosy nature. He broke his jaw in the yards one morning fooling around with the other young horses and hit the side of his face on the fence as far as we can ascertain. I found him with blood running down the side of his head. I led him over to the house yard and we laid him down to see what we could do for him. The crunching of the bones high up in his jaw soon told us there was nothing we could do for him other than give him a peaceful passing. A horse cannot survive without being able to eat, to heal bone it must be kept still and stable. That was an impossible task. He was in pain, we could see it in his eyes yet he called out to us when Meg brought out his favourite treat, an Anzac biscuit. She said that he should have a special treat. It broke my heart to watch him being led away.
Commodore and Trooper.
My old bay stockhorse, Shine, passed away this June at the ripe old age of 24. I had known it was time to make the call and lay him to rest. I am not sure if I am happy that he beat us to that decision or sad. TJ found him camped in his favourite sand hollow and came home to break the news to me. I felt shattered; he had been with me nearly 20 years.
It is never easy to lose one of your family, four legged or not.
Paige’s last day with us.