On the road

Host: Saltriver Horsemanship
Written by Heath Stewart – Owner, Saltriver Horsemanship and Performance Horses.

Usually the station clinic run is broken into 2 or 3 blocks, but last year with Easter being earlier we managed to sequence the run. First cab off the rank was Roebuck Plains where Doug takes on quite a few young Aboriginal trainees. Some of the trainees are quite young so keeping them focussed can be quite a challenge, one which has required me to improve my communication and presentation.

Sometimes things can get lost in translation so I make sure I explain things in several ways to make sure the concepts are understood. It can cause a few laughs. When I told one young fella who was yelling at his horse when it failed to do what he wanted, that the horse didn’t understand English, I quipped to try speaking in Spanish. Another wide eyed young fella said in complete seriousness “Is that horse Spanish?” which gave us all a good chuckle.

3.1Before the clinic at Roebuck.

Next stop was Ruby Plains where Merv and Jenny always seems to have a really good crew. It’s a welcome relief from the late wet season humidity over on the coast. I was waiting for my horses to crap themselves when the huge herd of goats that roam around the homestead cut through their yard, but fortunately they just stared a bit pop eyed instead. On the last day we get to work with cattle to put the previous days horsemanship into practice. The cattle are much easier to herd than the guinea fowl that occasionally cross the arena!

3.2Mustering Guinea Fowl.

3.3More Guinea Fowl mustering!

From Ruby we came back to Myroodah where Chris and Pam get the trainees as well as the stock camp involved. Having the senior stockmen involved with the young trainees has been really successful here. The respect commanded by the older guys really gets the younger trainees involved.

One of the funnier moments there was when Lesley asked me to explain what I meant when I used the term “persistence”. My explanation was “Well, if you really like a girl and you ask her out but she says no, so you work hard to impress her and later ask again but she says no, so you don’t give up and later yet ask her again and if you’re lucky she might say yes.” “So”, says Lesley, “Persistence is like stalking?”

3.4Riding at Myroodah.

After Myroodah I head to Jamie and Gemma at Meda, where Matt brings the Blina crew for a combined clinic. It’s quite a big group, but everyone gives it 100% so it’s a great few days. It’s hot and humid but a few quiet ales in the evening hit the spot. It was also great to see “Saltriver Solitaire” who is now the resident sire at Meda.

3.5Media and Blina clinic 2013.

Working my way back down the coast next is Mardie with Richo and Lindy. He’s gotten really interested in his horsemanship in the last few years and the results are showing. It’s a smaller group so we really get to drill down deep with specific things that will help each individual. The weather is much cooler and the easterlies were more noticeable down this way. Richo has heavily implemented the LSS principles into his program so the horsemanship fits in really well.

3.6Mardie muster.

Last but not least was Urala, where Joe hosted also Koordarrie, Yanrey, and Mindaroo. It’s my first time here and I loved working with a new group.

3.7Urala groundwork.

It’s an amazing spot within 500m of the ocean, and a fitting finale was to have a swim and some beers after the last day.

3.8Urala beach.

3.9Taking the horses for a swim at Urala Beach.

I arrived home after 27 days of clinics plus 6500km driving within 36 days. Though glad to be home, I had enjoyed the run so much, I could have been heading to the next station! The horses had definitely earnt a holiday!