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)
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)
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.
Trail Riding is something very special.
We ride together, we eat together, we share a house together.
And we absorb together.
The magnificence of the Barossa Valley.
The scale of the gum trees.
The tragedy of the drought.
The generosity of the horses.
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;
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.
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
Or perhaps more drinking.
Then again, just lying in the sun : just ‘being’
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”
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.
The food was amazing,
the wine outstanding,
an evening not to be forgotten.
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,
warm fires and hilarious jokes.
Or are All jokes hilarious if the food and wine is good?
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:
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).
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”
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
And summed up by Susannah in a poem she just ‘whipped up’ for us – quoted below:
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.
Jen & Jeremy of
are the most amazing hosts
and without any doubt,
made this an extraordinary adventure.
Thank you Both.