Barossa Valley heaven

 

I cannot in all truth begin this with

‘there are no words’

which is usually how I feel about my amazing horse riding adventures.

There Were words.

Plenty of them.

Well, for starters, there were 8 women,

thrown together by the love of horses and adventure.

And in case that was not enough of a conversation starter,

there was the countryside, the horses, the food and the amazing wines.

Allow me to introduce our ‘Barossa Belles’ by way of these photos.

(the word descriptions will follow)

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That’s “US”                                                                                                  The Formal ……
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and the far more ‘real’ us

And it turns out all the ladies loved words.

And we didn’t stop using them the entire trip.

Trail riding is something very special.

There is the ‘getting to know’ your horse.

We are each allocated a horse, based on, well observation during our first lunch together I think.

And with Jen & Jeremy’s uncanny skill, they matched us all perfectly.

No one at any time thought about changing horses.

And I, happily, had my old friend Basheer again –

goodness I had forgotten how much I loved him.

Tassie Tigers….. (a very good description of the love of my life is in this link)

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And so it was that we and our horses were ‘a pair’,

We had more or less worked out ‘the basics’.

Every trainer has different ways of ‘communicating’ with their horses and so,

apart from knowing which is the front and back ends

(I have more or less mastered That one now 🙂

there remains the small but important things like,

‘go’, or perhaps more importantly ‘don’t go’.

Which I can assure you differs from horse to horse.

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Not sure what exactly Piccolo’s trick was – but it raised a laugh!

 

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Ruby allowing Jan to show her trick
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Basheer’s trick is to cuddle – me

Trail Riding is something very special.

We ride together, we eat together, we share a house together.

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And we absorb together.

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We absorbed the beauty
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the conversation
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the space
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the solitude

The magnificence of the Barossa Valley.

The scale of the gum trees.

The tragedy of the drought.

The generosity of the horses.

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The views
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were breathtaking
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and sometimes took the
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horses breath away
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too with the steepness
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The trees
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were so amazing
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it felt as though each
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could tell us a
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a hundred and one stories
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about their lives…
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water so scarce, so muddy, the sheep get bogged and cannot get out
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almost the only water we saw on the ride

Sometimes we ride in single file.

Sometimes alongside someone.

Sometimes we talk.

Sometimes we don’t.

There are times when it’s all in my head,

the surprise that I am actually riding a horse;

the enormity of the space around me;

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A lunch time stop.

the sounds of riders talking to others somewhere in front, or behind,

-a soft murmur of words,

unintelligible but creating a sense of well being.

Reminding me as I write this,

of the murmur of parents voices when,

as a child one falls asleep safe in the their sound.

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smiles…
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Private thoughts….
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shared moment…..
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trail riders….
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finding our way

 

Trail riding is something very special.

Because it is not all about riding.

There is ‘down time’ – when we sit and chat,

when we sit and eat

when we sit and share:

our stories, our lives,

our adventures, hurts and joys

when we sit and laugh and even be foolish

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That sun ….
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Or perhaps it was that wine….
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Either way ….
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spooning was the way to go

Or perhaps more drinking.

Then again, just lying in the sun :  just ‘being’

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Of course
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the views
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and food
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made for such
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joyful smiles
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and conversations

Our home from home

Our making ourselves “at home”

Trail riding is very special.

You can cover so much ground and it is often so relaxing

but at the same time you can never really relax

as these amazing animals can spook at their own shadow,

or yours, or even a butterfly, or for no reason at all.

And it behoves one to always “be alert, so as not to be alarmed”

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and so we remained alert
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as we cantered through
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the most amazing forest

Of course your understand we are not cantering in these photos 🙂 🙂 🙂

We are absorbing the smell of the pine trees,

the hushed sound of the hooves on the soft turf,

the call of the  Currawongs  disturbed by our presence

for the duration of this particular ride, there really were no words,

we were in awe of the place.

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There was a very special night
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at St Hugo’s where
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we had scrubbed up and donned our bling…
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to learn about this estate, its history, it’s ups and downs
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all the while indulging …. but with class 🙂 🙂
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There was much to absorb
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and learn
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and put into practice
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with joy and smiles

The food was amazing,

the wine outstanding,

an evening not to be forgotten.

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And if bling isn’t your thing,

you eat at the Farmer’s Market.

Where the food is offered with as much love and care

And your back pocket will thank you

As we did them, for a wonderful breakfast.

Not to be outdone,

a night at Grand Cru Estate

where 5th generation winemaker,

Peter Seppelt entertained us

with his home made pizzas,

Seppelt wines,

warm fires and hilarious jokes.

Or are All jokes hilarious if the food and wine is good?

Perhaps

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The pizza oven
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with everyone waiting
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The home……
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the food…..
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the company…..
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oh and the wine….
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Did I mention the
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food
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or the company
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and as for the chocolate dessert!!!!!
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Everyone was very mellow
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as we listened in awe
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to Susannah’s poetry recital

 

I said there were words,

heaps of them and

amazingly our resident poet produced the most wonderful limericks of

us and our horses.

So good I am sure you would like me to share:

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Lee and Basheer

A remarkable woman named Lee

Could never pass by a good tree

“Take a photo!” she’d cry

Bounding happily by

On Basheer (who I’m sure would agree).

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Jan and the matriarch Ruby

Striding out at the front of the pack

Unerringly finding the track

With the wind in their hair

A formidable pair

Boss girl Ruby, with Jan on her back

 

And tricky Vicky with her agile Moo:

A competent rider is Vicky

Whose jodhpurs were (luckily) sticky

Moo went down on her knees

But as calm as you please

She rode on and smiled “That wasn’t tricky”

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JANE and her equally striking Gem:

 

Now Jane has been riding a while

And it shows in her posture and style

With her Gem of a horse

She conquered the course

And all with a beautiful smile!       

 

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JUDY who bred miniature donkeys on Piccolo

For Judy, a donkey’s the go!

And she thought she’d prefer to go slow

Then she cantered the hill

And she’s praising him still

Her wonderful steed, Piccolo.

 

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Linda and Colt 45

This pair were so bright and alive

Gentle Linda and Colt 45

When we started to trot

Little Colty got hot

And his jogging turned into a jive!

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HELEN and Opal who clashed with a gate – no damage done 🙂

Opal had Helen’s trust from the start

The calm pretty mare won her heart

Until an old gate

Intervened in their fate

And caused them, just briefly, to part.

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The views, the light, the skies, the horses, the food, the people.

I almost said ‘no words’

But that would be untrue for as you can see

we had lots of words

and a final fling from Susannah

which I shall keep for the final lines of this blog.

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We rode through vineyards, gold and crunchy in the autumn sun,

the creak of the saddle and crunch of their feet in the leaves the only sounds.

And just because we could,

a visit to Maggie Beer’s Farm

and a cookery demonstration.

 

And just like that, a week of unadulterated joy was over.

And we went our separate ways,

Joined forever by memories to treasure

forever.

And summed up by Susannah in a poem she just ‘whipped up’ for us – quoted below:

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Susanna and her
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and her Jaberwocky
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who helped with the words

AUSTRALIAN HORSE ADVENTURES

There’s a stirring in the vineyards and a whisper in the leaves

And the magpies joyful carolling is heard

For Australian Horse Adventures have arrived back in SA

With their happy, willing, home-bred Arab herd

The beginner and the nervous, and the confident, the brave

The older, “Can I do it?” come to ride

There’s a horse to suit all riders, there’s a mount to keep you safe

And a saddle that will cushion every stride

There’s pretty little Opal, Ruby – Queen of all the herd

And sweet and grey is photogenic Moo

There’s Tikka, little Colty, and Bashir and stately Gem

And Jabberwocky – just to name a few

The team behind the horses? Smiling Jeremy and Jen!

There’s nothing that’s too hard or can’t be done

Every rider’s warmly welcomed, feels like family from the start

And they know that wine just magnifies the fun!

And their passion is their horses, they are proud of all the herd

Their barefoot, bitless, fit and healthy crew

They can tell you endless stories of adventures on the trails

And the tricks their clever equine mob can do

And Phil from up on Tower Hill comes down to lend a hand

To start your day with bacon, eggs and toast

And he boils the lunchtime billy and his pumpkin soup’s the best        

(sorry Jeremy, it just rhymes!)

He’s the humming kitchen fairy with the most!

And the countryside is stunning, ancient red gums, high bare hills

Where the breezes cool you after every climb

You can canter shady forest paths or trot between the vines

The only part you’ll hate is passing time.

And the food! The wine! (The laughter!) A gastronomist’s delight!

Each day a chance to taste Barossa’s best

The experience of meeting those who grow this produce too

Just makes this ride a cut above the rest.

And heading home – such sadness, the Barossa ride is done

But memories and photos tell the tale

Of a landscape of great beauty seen between a horse’s ears

And the best of times and friends made on the trail.

The oldest Shiraz vines in the world since those in France were destroyed by disease.

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Moments captured

Jen & Jeremy of

Australian Horse Adventures 

are the most amazing hosts

and without any doubt,

made this an extraordinary adventure.

Thank you Both.

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