What an action-packed New Year it has been!
Its hard to write about News at this time without remembering the disastrous floods of South-east Queensland and Victoria and now more recently the terror of Cyclone Yasi lashed more trial and devastation on the people of Queensland. The human tragedy and suffering of all flood, cyclone, and bushfire victims is overwhelming. Stories of hope, joy, and pain abound whilst across the nation animal lovers are also worried about what happened to the wild animals and pets, in particular the horses.
The type of weather we are experiencing in these particular climatic conditions means that we need to be very mindful of our horse's comfort. There has been a dramatic increase in insect activity, causing shin irritations, eruptions from bites, allergies and fungal infections. Be vigilant and inspect your horses daily for any signs of skin irritation. Caught early and treated, most will disappear quickly. Fungal infections in particular are difficult to control once they get a go on.
The Heat - Overheating will exacerbate these problems, causing distress and dehydration. So provide your horse with shelter/shade and go easy on those rugs or they will cause the coat to bleach. Light summer rugs, fly veils and surface sprays can help.
Fortunately things have been a little quieter on the home front - we slipped back into business as usual after the Christmas break with a Three-Day School in January. It was a great school with 16 riders enjoying a varied programme of activities and pleasant weather.
Those who attended the January School were: Natalia Kleaner-Carr, Emilie Casworth, Carlie Lind, Bronte & Alexa Talbot, Evie Gardiner, Ellie Nichols, Olivia Salt, Jarrod, Tamikah & Taylah Mills, Andrea Russell, Beck Ryan, Georgia Coffey, Juke & Keeley Walker.
The Schools we run are perennial favourites and have been in the past enjoyed by well-known riders such as Gina Montgomery, Kim Durante, Sue Baldwin, the Crawford twins, the Tynan Family, Kristy Oatley, Shane Rose, Sam McLeod, etc. These Schools help develop riding skills, self-confidence, initiative, horse knowhow, and a sense of achievement in the pupils as they discover their capabilities.
The benefit to the pupil both physically and socially is immeasurable.
Pictured at right are the pupils who attended our Three Day School in December 2010, lined up ready to ride with instructors, Lindy & Melissa.
Allan Wallen Clinic - In keeping with our aim to always expand our pupil's knowledge and skills, we arranged and hosted a clinic by Allan Wallen on 27th & 28th January, 2011. We were fortunate to secure a trainer of Allan’s calibre for this Working Stock Horse Clinic. He has won many State and National Championships for Australian Stock Horses and he and his family have always been involved with top show horses.
This schools was open to Marena pupils and to their families as observers. We had 12 riders attend. Unfortunately three people had to cancel - Maddy Hodges, who had Glandular Fever, and Gabi & Emma Hollows due to the clash of the date with an important family occasion. The Clinic was conducted in two groups, the first for those with Working Class experience, and the second for those who needed to learn the basics of Working Classes.
Allan was very impressed with the riders that are our regular pupils, and he complimented Lindy on the job she had done on them.
It was great to have Brett & Campbell Jones of Scone who are rodeo and show competitors, and from Muswellbrook Chris Hayes, who does dressage and showing, attend the Clinic. Allan rode and gave every rider's horse some training.
The Clinic provided good practical experience and it dovetailed neatly into our own teaching programme. Some though the Clinic was only for those competing in Working Horse classes. This was incorrect. Allan and his family have been show riders at Royal and Agricultural shows as well as competing in Campdrafting and Working Horse classes at the top level. His daughter Kaycee rode Whitmere Top of the Pops to win Champion Pony Hack at Sydney, Canberra and Toowoomba Royals amongst other wins.
In the final analysis, all riding starts with the same basic principals - correct position, balance, timing, discipline, and the understanding of the horse's psyche. if the basics are taught correctly, the rider can branch off in any direction they want. For example, our pupils have become competitive in not only showing, but also Dressage, Showjumping, Eventing, and sporting of all kinds.
The Allan Wallen Clinic was aimed at introducing another dimension to our pupil's education. In summary, the clinic was a great success.
For those who missed out, another Clinic by Allan is planned for 1st and 2nd April, 2011. We have repeat bookings already!
L-R: Ellie Nichols, Campbell & Brett Jones, Melissa Melton, Nell Evans, Lindy Walker, Karen Talbot, Chris Hayes, Will Evans, Allan Wallen, Bronte Talbot
January held some surprises for me too. I had agreed to judge APSB ponies at the Victorian All Breeds Show in Bendigo, and on the following weekend, ponies at the Melbourne Summer Royal. Lindy was also judging there. Unfortunately over the Christmas break an innocent looking "wart" on my leg turned nasty and began to grow at an amazing rate. The upshot was that I was unable to judge at these shows and was admitted to hospital in Sydney for an operation on my leg. This was naturally very alarming as I have had two major surgeries in the past for Melanomas. I wish to thank all my friends who sent their best wishes on this occasion. All's well that ends well - I had good news following the surgery.
Lindy and I have also been asked to judge Auckland Royal Show but we have had to decline due to the clash with Sydney Royal.
The Talbot family is all set-up now with new horses - a galloway show hunter, Stillbrook Dashing and a Riding Pony for Alexa. Karen sadly lost her lovely Hack, Marena Goldleaf in a freak accident when he was electrocuted by a faulty power pole in the paddock.
Now they are looking forward to showing this year. Both girls are progressing well and ride many different horses at Marena Stud. Bronte won her Riding class and Reserve Champion Rider at Morisset Agricultural Show in January on Dashing. Karen and Bronte will be competing at Canberra with us.
Kristie, Ellie and Anna Nichols - Welcome back, they have returned to reside in the district. Kristie, who worked with us for a number of years, is having a baby, due mid April. Ellie, now 13, has slipped back into riding as though she has had no break, attending shows with Lindy and riding our ponies.
Harriet Hooke, having successfully completed her HSC last year, is having a gap year to catch up on riding her own two horses as well as many horses of ours as she can fit in whilst she is staying at Marena Stud. Harriet also plans to go to England for a few months in the Manchester area which will give her a chance to take in a few Shows whilst she is there..
The Hooke family has recently purchased a lovely horse property in the Bowral area and they will move there soon.
Nell Evans is continuing her studies at Canberra Uni, but continues to ride whenever she can. Last year Nell broke her ankle when a horse fell with her. She missed a few Shows but was back in the saddle at the end of 2010.
Will Evans has also been in the wars having cut off the ends of three fingers. Fortunately he is all healed now and back in full swing and riding just as enthusiastically as ever.
Alex Keith, one of our long-time pupils completed her HSC last year with flying colours. She has completed Uni and is now working in Victoria. Alex always turns up for a riding lesson when she can.
The 2010 foaling season was eagerly awaited for the arrival of the first foals by our new Stallions, Kolbeach Royal Print and Kolbeach Scandal. We are thrilled with them, they are both classy and quiet on nature. Marena Sky Chief, now 29 years of age, is still producing stunning foals for us and Cedar Lodge Konrad's foals are always quality. These are just a few of our new foals. We will upload more next time.
Melissa Melton came back from her holiday overseas refreshed to start the New Year. She continues to grow and develop as a valued member of our Team and as a rider with great potential.
Zoe Northedge is a new member for our Team - Zoe hails from England and was trained in that county's meticulous ways with horses. Zoe and her family have lived in Australia now for nearly two years. She is an experienced riding instructor and is a great help to Lindy.
Canberra Royal - We will be attending this year with a reduced Team. Some of our clients, although their horses were accepted to compete, were not allocated stables. They had no choice but to cancel their Entries. Those affected include Nell & Will Evans and their three horses, Carlie Lind, Emma Hollows and Maddy Hodgetts. We will miss their happy company. Our Team this year will consist of Harriet Hooke and her 2 horses, Karen and Bronte Talbot, Ellie Nichols, Melissa Melton with Lindy, Keeley, Luke, Maureen and Bruce with our 5 horses,.
Amanda & Kate Marfleet - News from England is that they are going from strength to strength in the Shows there and are still wining with "Murrum Park Phantom" and also with their new horses.
Bruce and I have received an invitation to the wedding of Amanda's son James in July. It will be great to catch up with our English friends again, visit some Shows and watch Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks Eventing at Badminton, etc.
Santa's Reindeer - The scarecrow horse that Bruce, Lindy and I built from recycled materials for the Yarramalong Valley's Annual Scarecrow competition became a Reindeer for the Christmas Season seen here being installed by Bruce, Lindy & Peter Walker.
Peter is working in New Caledonia at present and has been home for a week's "holiday". Between other jobs on the farm he is kindly updating our Website again.
Good Luck to you all,
Quote of the Month
Contact - Maureen, Bruce or Lindy
HB & M Walker
336 Yarramalong Road, Wyong NSW 2259
Phone/Fax: +61 (0)2 4352 1707