Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Grasstree Beach Road

So I have to admit it.

Keeping up two blogs for my different interests to too much for me!

So I am going to roll them into one.  We have just sold our home in town and bought five acres half an hour our of town, as Grasstree Beach, Queensland. My new blog will be a journal of making a house into a home, with thoughts, ideas, photos and projects, including decorating, thrifting, sewing, gardening and of course, horses.

I hope you'll join me over at Grasstree Beach Road.

Here is a sneak peek at the house:

Happy Trails, Deb

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

House hunting and an injury


We have been busy house hunting and getting our home ready to sell the last few weeks.  Finding a property at the right price, not too far from town that is suitable for the horses and a family of six is no mean feat!  We have a shortlist (see here for that), but there are still a couple I want to see this weekend.  We have an offer on ours though, so we might not be able to wait that long!  Anyway, after the week I have had, I might just say yes and move asap.  I can’t wait to be with my horse 24/7.  On Tuesday I took the kids to their lessons where Tana is agisted.  Because I was busy with them, helping them catch and saddle etc, I didn’t go and see Tana till we were doing the feeds and then about to go.  I had seen her grazing in the paddock though, and she seemed fine, although I thought it odd that she wasn’t with her boys, who were up at the fence.  When she came up the hill to the fence for her feed we noticed her limping, and then we saw the cut on her shoulder.  Of course then it was after hours, and getting dark, but we rang the vet and they said they’d be there within half hour – which they were. 

Shut your eyes if you’re squeamish!

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I took a close up too, but it is really gross.  Here is the vet, Jenny, stitching her up by the headlights of my car.  She needed re-sedating half way through, as it started to wear off.

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And the finished job, 30 cm of stitches.

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Half an hour later she was walking around, happily eating hay. And here she is the next afternoon.

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She has to have an injection of antibiotics for the next five days.  I helped, or tried to, with the first one, but it is definitely a job for the experts!  Tana really did not like getting a needle.  She even walked away from me afterwards when she the camera phone in my hands! I figure I’ll just visit and give her pats and the odd apple, and she won’t associate me with pain. Let’s hope!

The vet bill was under $800, which was great seeing it was an after hours call out.  I can highly recommend Valley Vets if you live in the Mackay area.

We still don’t know what she cut herself on, but when we move the paddocks will get slashed and checked for anything that could cause injury before Tana is put in.  Hopefully by then I will have bought another horse so she will have company.  I am thinking about my sons’ favourite, a ten year old quarter horse called Stumpy, who lost his tail in a bandaging incident.

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Maybe once I pay off the vet bill!

Happy trails, Deb

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A fall and finding a farm


I have been riding once or twice a week for the last five months, after not riding for about ten years, and yesterday I had my first fall. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t too bad.  Tana had stepped into a hole and spooked, and I almost held on. I ended up with my right foot in the stirrup while most of me was off her, and in the end I just sort of let go.  I fell about a metre onto my right hip and arm.  I am a bit sore today, bust nothing was broken.  It could have been worse.


She did take off though back home though, so I had to walk back.  She managed to lose one rein in the process, and eventually stopped by standing on the other.  I remounted and went back the same route.  She spooked again in a different spot, but I held on that time.  We ended on a good note I think.

I had done about 20 minute ground work with her before riding, and gave her a good brush, but I wonder if she was eager to get back to her new paddock mate.  It was our first time riding out alone, and I think that, combined with the wind, was a big factor.  She really seems to love Crazy, her bay thoroughbred gelding friend, and his usual paddock mate, a grey gelding named Ghost, had moved down in the pecking order.



The young girls at the riding school tell me it takes at least 21 falls before you become a good rider.  Well, I have only had two falls, and the one before this was when I was about 16.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a great rider.  I really don’t want to fall again!


Anyway, I got back in the saddle again.  We also went to look at houses and acreage today -  I am determined to move out of suburbia and stop agisting.  I found a great place about 30 minutes out of town – only five acres but surrounded by cane fields which would be great for riding.



It also had lovely old sheds…..


A a gorgeous old timber home.


Here’s hoping our house sells soon!

Happy Trails, Deb

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Level 1 Parelli Clinic at Nebo


Last weekend I spent a fantastic two days at a Parelli clinic at Nebo, about an hour from Mackay.  The clinic was run by Parelli instructors Carmen Smith and Rob McAuliffe.

As it has been around 12 years since I last attended a Parelli clinic, I started again with level 1.  The games have changed a bit, and the progress seemed a bit slower than I remember – we didn’t ride at all during the two days – but so thorough.  My aim for the weekend was to really connect with Tana, and after two days of games, I feel that I did.

Both Carmen and Rob are very inspirational, as well as seeming like really lovely people.  Carmen was my main instructor, as Rob worked mainly with the higher level students,  and the way she could get any horse to listen to her within  a matter of seconds was amazing.  Here she is with Tana.


I have been very motivated to work my way through the Parelli program online, and have been paying the games with Tana this week and working my way through the online tasks.  Today as well as a figure of 8 around two cones we worked on circling and touching things with her nose (zone 1) during the driving game.  They both need a little more work, but Tana is very good at backing up, and I sent her backward though a gate and between a tractor and a fence with no problems.

Tana was definitely more relaxed on the trail ride today, and much more responsive to me.  I rode out with a friend and her horse (Saxon, an ex-racehorse), who had also attended the Nebo clinic, and both horses were great. We had no issues at all, and I rode Tana on a very loose rein most of the time.  She loved going through the dam, and had a big splash.  After our ride we took the horses back to the dam for a play.

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Saxon loved it!  Tana splashed but didn’t roll, which had been my worry when I was riding her.  She did eat a bit of pond weed though!

Another fabulous day (it’s Show Day here so a day off) and more motivated than ever to progress with the Parelli Program. 

Deb xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Long Weekend of Riding & Puppies

It’s a long weekend here, for the Queen’s Birthday, and what a better way to celebrate than by doing something the Queen loves – horse riding!

I went on another trail ride yesterday, after a bit of work in the round pen and grooming.  I even got all of the burrs out of Tana’s mane – baby oil works wonders!

When I arrived the ponies and Tana were all happily grazing in the paddock, as a large eagle soared overhead and landed in a tree above them.  I managed to take a photo.


L_R Tana, Presence, Biggles and Spirit (eagle in top corner).

And I get to go riding again today – yeah!

I have only managed to get one of the girls to come with me, as we have a little distraction in our house.


Diva the border collie puppy arrived yesterday, and is 8 weeks old.

I have set up a puppy play pen in the lounge room, with her house, water and toilet.  We have a huge amount of Parvovirus around at the moment, so she isn’t allowed outside until after her 12 week shots. Having lost a puppy to parvo before we are a bit paranoid.


Of course with four children in the house she hasn’t spent much time in the play pen yet.  But she will when we are all off to work and school on Tuesday.  I plan to come home oat lunch time and check on her and feed her, and my eldest daughter gets home from school at 3pm, so she won’t be alone too long.

Last night she was quiet all night, and I was so impressed.  Then my ten year old told me she had slept with Diva on the couch most of the  time.  Not so impressed!

Anyway, wish us luck.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

First saddle & First trail ride


I found my perfect saddle! A swinging fender from HP Australia – on ebay for $600, and only used once.  It came with everything but the girth, including the saddle pad.  I borrowed a girth today, and had my first ride in my new saddle– and my first trail ride on Tana.


I am still getting used to girthing the western way, as there are no buckles like on English style saddles.  It is definitely very secure though.


The saddle is very comfy, and I felt very secure.  The weather was perfect and we had a lovely ride, at just a walk and very relaxed.  Tana did well, even when we met some cows, and she splashed through the edges of the dam quite happily.  

I have ordered a girth, monkey grip and saddle bag from HPs website.  I have also ordered a fly/shadecloth rug for Tana off ebay to help keep some of the burrs off her.  Even though it’s winter here it not’s very cold – the days are t-shirt friendly and the nights don’t get below 7 C.  I am not really a rug person, but these burrs are horrible.  The rug is also great for keeping off bugs, including ticks, and acts as a sunscreen.  I also aim to get her a face mask in a few months to protect her white blaze from the sun.

Anyway, hopefully the rain will stay away and I will get to ride again on Saturday.  Mind you I will be a little busy – we have a new four legged family member on the way.  Watch this space!


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Buying my first saddle


It’s a difficult choice, buying a saddle. Having been someone that has ridden horses whenever and wherever I could, I have ridden on many types of saddles common in Australia. I know there are many different types available world wide, and you can see a great collection at the Narrawin Stud Website. Do I have a favourite though?  Not really.

Traditional Western saddles are comfortable, but so heavy (anywhere from 35 to 70 lbs) , and seem to take ages to put on.  Some new lighter weight versions are available (25 to 32 lbs). The design was originally based on the Spanish saddle of the conquistadors, which in turn came from the Moors who had conquered Spain, and then modified over generations by  Spanish and Mexican Vaqueros or charros - the first America cowboys.


All purpose, English style saddles are lighter, and quite comfy, but I don’t always feel secure. they were designed specifically to allow the horse freedom of movement, whether jumping, running, or moving quickly across rugged, broken country with fences, for things such as fox hunting, hacking and military use.

Stock saddles are a bit of a mix of both, and feels a bit more secure than the all purpose saddle with knee pads, panels and fenders, larger stirrups, and deeper seat and higher cantle.  I do have a stock horse, so this may be the saddle with the best fit too.


I do love the idea of the Parelli hybrid saddle, but at nearly $4000 I might wait a bit. 

HP Australia also has a great swinging fender saddle which looks similar, and is a bit cheaper at around $1,400, and is said to have a very secure seat. 

I am keeping an eye out for a second hand saddle on ebay to start off with.  My conditions are size (17 inch for my large bum), and preferably black and under $700.  That’s about it.  I’ll post an update soon.

Happy trails, Deb