Here is a collection of articles I have written for the Morgan Messenger Magazine, the official publication of the Morgan Horse Association of Australia.

August 2018

Challa Station Captivate is the ‘Morgan of the Month’ at Challa Station! Otherwise known as Molly, this endearing young mare has captured the hearts of us all as she has progressed under saddle. Molly is a very special mare. She is by Tandarra Millennium (Lenny’s) half-brother, my first Morgan stallion, Koolaroo Klasique Ebony (Wally), out of my first Morgan mare, Mt Tawonga Belinda, (Holly). Half-sister to Challa Station Willow, the most even-tempered mare in the universe, Molly is an exciting young riding proposition. Her education had been somewhat hampered by delays due to hot weather, mustering and holidays. Further compounding this has been the lack of on-site supervision for the rider: me. But one day, I just decided to bite the bullet. Even when my husband Ashley goes away and I am the only person on the property, I ride Molly. I send a text to my Ash, 600km away and tell him I’m riding for an hour, then text him when I return.

Lately I have been lucky; our grader has broken down so Ash has been in the workshop for the past 2 weeks fixing it. When I’m riding Molly, I tell him where I’m going and how long I will be and he looks out for me. And it’s never just in the arena. When I start a horse under saddle I get them out on the trail as soon as I can. Almost all of my schooling is done on the trail and I aim to allow the young horse to enjoy themselves as we go riding. Once the head is in the right place we can work on the learning. Every day we face a new but small challenge, increasing exposure to new experiences and giving the horse the opportunity to work things out while feeling safe. My aim is to produce a willing, yet calm horse, who is able to do a variety of jobs. So far Molly is heading in that direction.

Most days I would carry my saddle and bridle out to Molly past our beautiful, athletic chestnut brood mare called Greenstone Giaginye. Unbroken, unblemished, smart, quiet, her first foal has just been weaned. Standing there with no job… I had advertised her very briefly for lease and then Ashley informed me that he likes Giaginye and she could be his riding horse. So her future was decided. Giaginye, you can call her Gee if you like, is rising nine and now in early work. She has been bridled and saddled, long reined and lead off Lenny on trail rides. Ash was first up on Gee and I have had two short rides on her. I’m taking her to Perth for some education by the legendary Sam Jones (see the latest Outback Magazine) and then when she returns to Challa, Ash and I will continue riding her. I will breed her again one day, I do like my brood mares to be able to be ridden if required, but now Ash has a new riding horse she may not have another foal for a year or two. Like Challa Station Willow… heavily pregnant with her first foal and due in September, I hopped on her on a whim, and went for a ride bareback in just a halter. It’s been months since I last rode her and she was perfect! That’s what a good riding horse is all about. I want Giaginye and Molly to be like this. And the fact that they are beautiful, level headed Morgan mares who are easy and enjoyable to train means that there’s every chance they will become level; headed, honest working horses like the rest of the mob here at Challa.

Guiaginye being lead off Lenny

June 2018

The last two months have been cattle months here at Challa Station. First came mustering; twelve days of alternating between thrills, excitement and sheer boredom, depending on where the action is. We don’t use the horses for mustering, unfortunately. It’s too vast and fast for the horses to be much use. But once this year’s muster was finished, I had 108 newly weaned heifers, plus a few steers, to work the horses with for two weeks.

The main aim of working the heifers is to quieten them down and get them used to moving away from pressure. Then when they come in for subsequent musters they are not wild and dangerous and everybody’s life is a little easier. I ride Lenny in the yards with them, and occasionally introduce a young horse to them in preparation for some time in the future. This time it was four-year-old Challa Station Captivate (Molly’s) turn.

My horses don’t live in the same paddocks as the cattle so Molly has never seen a cow. It took mere moments for the dark-haired beauty to realise where she stood in the hierarchy of four legged beasts. After introducing her to the cattle, I left her in the yards with them. Upon my return a couple of hours later, Molly, Queen of the Bovines, was enjoying her very own round bale of hay and 108 cattle were pushing and shoving around the other bale. I think she’s got them sorted.

Molly bossing the cattle around

Lenny and I train the cattle in the yards, let them in the holding paddock during the day and move them back into the yards at night. Ash had to go away for a few days and left Lenny and I to do this. Not a problem for us, but I did spend some time reflecting on how vital it is to have a good working horse when you are the sole occupant of a half a million acres. The consequences of a fall don’t bear thinking about … I do carry my SPOT tracker to mitigate some of the risk, but I can’t activate it if I am unconscious. Lucky I have Lenny, that’s all I can say.

After working the cattle in the yard, we go tailing out. This is when we take the cows to their new home and settle them in on a windmill, shepherding them out for a few hours each day and then putting them back into the yards. This is best done on horseback and is supposed to be one of those jobs where one does not ever have to break out of a walk. One cannot always see all of the cattle because they feed amongst the trees, but being on a horse means that you can see and hear more than somebody in a buggy. So this one day, our new jackeroo was having trouble with the carburettor in his buggy. He decided to try and fix it while the cattle were grazing. Ash soon saw an opportunity to put his head under a bonnet so he was gone too. The engine revved, the cattle ran away. Simple as that. Alone and unassisted, Lenny and I cantered through the trees and over the sticks and rocks to head them off. One handed, I steered my mighty beast through the scrub, advising the other members of my team over the UHF radio what had just happened. Afterwards Ash explained to me that he can’t actually hear what I am saying when I yell into the radio… apparently next time I am to speak calmly into the hand-held whilst describing exactly what is going on.

After tailing out was finished we had a few days away from the cattle then headed 400km westward to attend a five-day cattle working clinic with Californian Vaquero Jeff Sanders. I have come away from that with a whole new arsenal of skills as well as the further knowledge that though I will never even make it as a Vaquero’s elbow, they have some really neat games you can play with cows that train horses to be really clever. If you want to improve your shoulder in, work a cow through a gate or out of the herd. A good rollback is essential, as is a clam, relaxed horse. I’ll be honest; my rollbacks leave a lot to be desired and Lenny braces in the poll much more than Jeff Sanders likes, but I have a good safe horse who is reliable and fun to ride and a proven cattle horse over some of the most treacherous ground and in some of the most testing conditions in the country.

I just had a read through my last few Morgan Messenger articles, that also appear on my Challa Morgans website, and there are many mentions of this great plan to ride Molly. Well I am pleased to say that we now have completed ride number three, and Molly can sort-of walk in a straight line, turn, stop and back up. Well, she’s been able to do this since she was born, but now she is doing it under command with a rider on her back. I am hampered by the fact that I am on my own so much and really shouldn’t get on a breaker until there is somebody around to keep an eye on me. But we are progressing slowly and hopefully I can safely and quietly get this mare going under saddle.

Challa Gold Rush has left for her new home with Teresa Schwaiger. Teresa owns Crossmatch Cadyllac (Caddy) who is a beautiful ¾ Morgan gelding. She fell in love with Gold Rush when she was born and has waited patiently for her to be old enough to be weaned before coming up to Challa with Caddy to take her home. Teresa and I enjoyed a couple of days together, riding out and sharing stories about horses. Then Teresa and Caddy took Gold Rush to her new home just south of Perth. It is quite clear that Gold Rush has found a very lovely and capable person to share her future. 

 

 April 2018

The Challa Station Morgans performed extremely well in the recent ANMS Photo Conformation Show. Tandarra Millennium was crowned Champion Partbred Gelding (he is 15/16ths Morgan), Mt Tawonga Belinda was Reserve Champion Mare and Challa Gold Rush was Reserve Champion Part bred filly foal/weanling/yearling. The show was judged by an American Morgan expert, Steve Davis, and we are very proud of our results.

Our foals are continuing to thrive here at Challa Station. Some summer thunderstorms have freshened up the grass on the sand hills in the Paddock of the Lost Herd. The Lost Herd is the nickname I have for the mares and foals who run together in the 10km x 8km paddock. The Paddock of the Lost Herd is a great place for young horses to thrive. They travel many kilometres every day as they select the natural vegetation that is on offer at Challa then walk to a fresh puddle to drink. Their hooves wear naturally, their bones grow more dense, they learn sure-footedness and agility as they negotiate the natural terrain. They develop as their ancestors have done, on  sparse shrublands, in a herd environment. They are fed each morning so that we can maintain contact and carry out daily health checks, then they are left to their own devices. They grow up as level headed, amiable horses who understand herd dynamics and when they are in the hands of a good horse handler they are absolute pleasures to work with.

Lenny (Tandarra Millennium) doesn’t live with the Lost Herd. As my main riding horse he has to stay in close proximity. His paddock has an interesting intelligence testing area that I call “the dumb corner.” Picture the stables with a fence running away from it. Horses can access both sides of the fence if they go through a gate 150 metres away. They can get a drink at the dumb corner and food only on the other side. A newcomer to the paddock will very often turn up for breakfast and stand helplessly in the dumb corner, looking on, while I feed all of the horses. Then I have to halter the hungry horse and lead it away from the stables and through the gate to get to the food side of the fence. Lenny, as the long term resident the paddock, has worked out that if he is in the dumb corner at feed time, he needs to walk away from the  food service area to go through the gate and then he can gallop back for his breakfast. Other horses have lived with Lenny over the years – some for extended periods of time, but nobody except Lenny the Legend, has ever been able to master the dumb corner.

Challa Station Morgans have hit the big time in the news recently  in a story about our station in “Outback Magazine.” Writer Jill Griffiths has visited Challa a number of times to ride in Carlos Tabernaberri clinics, and she very kindly wrote a story about our property. Knowing how important the Morgans are to our lives, she included a section about them and Outback selected my favourite photo of Lenny to run with the story. The magazine has just been published, so take a look!

I was lucky enough to travel to Young, NSW, for the Australian National Morgan Show. I caught up with some old friends and was able to finally meet many people that I had only known by name and facebook contact. I saw some absolutely beautiful horses at the show and afterwards and I am forever grateful to those people who made me feel so welcome. Morgan people are really lovely people.

We are starting to get ready for mustering now at Challa Station. The days will get cooler and the nights longer. I can now focus on the young horses, finally climb aboard Challa Station Captivate, (Molly,) my beautiful baroque- looking four year old mare, and work the cattle again on board the completely reliable Lenny the Legend. Hopefully Willow can still squeeze between the shafts to take me for a cart ride and her young companion, Mountain Crk Cartier, can learn that I will always bring her back. Enjoy your Morgans and I’ll see you in the winter!

 

Morgan Messenger Feb 2018

As Tandarra Millennium (Lenny) rests in the shade of the verandah to escape the scorching heat, the foals lie in the sun and the brood mares wait in the shade of the trees before the evening comes and its cool enough for them to feed out. This is summer at Challa Station. Horses don’t get ridden and if the morning is cool enough we work with the foals, hose down a youngster or attend to any other jobs that have been waiting until we’re not so busy and can be done in the shade.

This is the Challa that Mountain Crk Cartier arrived at just before Christmas. Cartier is a stunning palomino colt bred in the purple by Leonie Kable. He is by the highly regarded American stallion, MEMC Tequila Cuervo, out of Mountain Crk Helena. Leonie has done a brilliant job raising him as a foal and prepared him perfectly for his long trip west. Cartier travelled over 4200km and was on the road for more than a week before he arrived at Challa.

Our intention is that Cartier will be the next Challa Stallion and so far, he has done nothing but impress us with his temperament and conformation.

Cartier is unaware of his future, he is running with Challa Station Willow and is still occasionally trying to tell her that he is a foal. Sometimes he looks like a little baby, yielding to Willow and apologising for himself if he’s in the wrong place or somehow offended the mighty Willow. Other times, when he is perhaps looking attentively at a distant kangaroo, I see the stallion in him and I think to myself, “wow, this colt is going to be something special” and I feel deep gratitude to all of the people who played a part in this colt finding his way home to Challa.

Beautiful Challa Station Symphony (Twisty) will soon be joining her new owner, Karen, in Perth. She was sold to a wonderful home last year and stayed at Challa until now. She will be started soon and become a lovely riding horse for her new owner. She is a special young mare who has shown some talent for early harness work and I look forward to hearing of her adventures in her new home.

I keep looking at the horses and wishing the weather was cooler! There’s so many great rides to go on and so much for them to do. Four-year-old Challa Station Captivate is definitely ready to be started and I can’t wait to get her going under saddle. Willow’s cart is waiting for her and her saddle is dusty and of course all the cows are out on the station just waiting for Lenny the Legend to come along and round them up. I don’t ride in summer, it is far too hot, but I do spend my time productively by planning our next adventures.

See you in autumn!

Morgan Messenger Dec 2017

 It has taken six years, but Tandarra Millennium (Lenny) and I have finally reached our 1000-hour milestone under the Morgans for Pleasure Program. I have logged the time I have spent riding him since our very first ride and I am a little surprised it has taken us so long to reach 1000 hours. I am very proud of our achievement and the fact that Lenny is such a great riding partner. I think we are a pretty good combination and I have had a lot of adventures with him over the hours.

Our most recent adventure was to travel to Perth to participate in a clinic with Californian Vaquero Jeff Sanders. I love the way Jeff combines classical dressage with cattle work to create a versatile and elegant working horse with a long working life. His work really challenges me and motivates me to become a better rider. It was really lovely to spend time with like-minded people who are also striving to improve their riding. Lenny was a true legend and a great ambassador for the breed.

 

The other amazing news coming out of Challa Station is the birth of our first colt! Over the years we have bred ten foals for ten fillies and to finally see a colt hit the ground was wonderful. Challa Station Justified is by Koolaroo Klasique Ebony out of Mt Tawonga Belinda (Holly), a full brother to Challa Station Captivate. He is your classic Morgan, as friendly and curious as a puppy. Challa Gold Rush is very pleased to have a friend and the two foals spend hours playing together. Both foals have started their education and will hopefully become awesome riding partners for their humans when the time comes for them to leave.

I recently made the decision to put Challa Station Willow in foal. It was a difficult decision, only because I will lose a great riding and harness horse for a short while. I am sure Willow will be a perfect mother, she is very maternal around the foals and she is such a lovely natured mare. She is the oldest mare with the Challa Station prefix and the first one to breed. It is very exciting knowing my first-born Challa Morgan is having a baby! She is in foal to Watching Royalty and is due in September 2018.

I would like to make special mention of Challa Station Amazon, a lovely part bred mare by Eiben’s Sterling that I sold to Wendy Hegarty when Amazon was a youngster. Wendy started Amazon herself and has just started competing in One Day Events. Wendy says that she is amazing to ride and such a pleasure to be around. It is so fulfilling to see a horse that we bred have such a great beginning in competition. I love seeing how Amazon is progressing and will no doubt be sharing more of her photos in the future.

 

 

Morgan Messenger Oct 2017

We welcomed our new foal, palomino part bred Challa Gold Rush, on August 31 in the middle of the Carlos Tabernaberri clinic here at Challa. For the first time in history, I had a vet standing next to me as one of my mares foaled down. Dr Lisa Clarke was riding at the clinic and she had heard the foaling alarm go off at 10:30 pm. We watched as Greenstone Giaginye gave birth to her first foal in textbook style. I quietly sidled over to see what I had and was pleasantly surprised to see another filly. This is the tenth foal I have bred in my life and the tenth filly.

I decided to put Giaginye in foal to an Australian Stock Horse because they are a brilliant cross. Giaginye was in foal to Watching Royalty when she left Victoria to move to Challa Station, but somewhere along the line, that foal was lost. Now she has a beautiful filly and has proven to be a wonderful mother.

 

The Carlos Tabernaberri Clinic was a great success. I loaned Tandarra Millennium (Lenny) to Carlos for the five days and I rode Challa Station Willow. Willow is an absolute sweetheart, so placid and calm. She did really well at the clinic and had a couple of different riders try her out just for fun. Carlos really enjoyed riding Lenny but a couple of times I took him back for the more technical lessons. My private lesson with Carlos was on Lenny doing bridle-less dressage.

Lenny and I have been competing in online dressage competitions all year and I have been riding bridle-less. I get a mixed reaction from the judges, some are impressed and others think I should put a bridle on. But I have won a couple of ribbons and met the criteria for a medal in the National Morgan Awards so I am satisfied. Lenny likes being ridden without a bridle and it is one way to really improve communication between horse and rider. I like the challenge of seeing just how precise I can be without using a bridle, and am always striving to achieve a similar level of finesse with no bridle as I can with one.

During the clinic, Carlos Tabernaberri rode Challa Station Captivate (Molly) for the first time. She is four years old now and growing into a nice mare. I had done some work with Molly, she had been long reined bitless a few times and had a surcingle on. Carlos only spent one afternoon with Molly but he rode her bareback, and also saddled, around the round yard. Molly looks great under saddle and she is next on the list for some under saddle education. Of course, she took it all in her stride and seemed to enjoy the attention. I just need to get mustering out if the way and I’ll bring Molly in for some work.

Mt Tawonga Belinda (Holly) is getting ready to foal now, and I really don’t mind if I get a colt or a filly – but it would be quite funny if the filly run continued. Holly looks huge as her body relaxes during the final weeks of pregnancy. She is beautiful and shiny and is fulfilling her role as the senior mare very well. She is helping to educate and look after young Gold Rush as she waits for her own foal. This very special mare is in foal to my ex-stallion, Koolaroo Klasique Ebony by frozen semen, so will produce a full brother or sister to Molly. I hope to be able to bring you news of that new foal soon.

August 2017

The winter weather here is truly magnificent! Unlike a lot of riders across the country in winter, I am blessed with some perfect riding weather here at Challa Station. I look for any excuse to be outside with the horses and so they are all getting plenty of attention. The young mares, CS Symphony and Captivate are having some pre-harness training. All the while they cope with the situation and the weather is so perfect, I intend to keep progressing them. Both show great promise as harness horses as well as ridden. Highly trainable and very sensible, they are fun to work with. CS Boudicca, who is home for a while, has been learning to pony off Uncle Lenny. She can come out for a ride with me now on the lead and seems to really enjoy herself. She shows great promise as a riding horse and reminds me so much of Lenny that sometimes I mistake them from a distance. I think if she is given the chance, she will ride like Lenny too. She’s a really nice young mare.

CS Willow finally has a cart, well 2 carts in fact. Both are old and they come with a history. I bought one cart from Griselda Hitchcock, who is very well known in WA. She has trekked in harness for years. It is a basic, home built cart, but built with some very useful features. The other cart was bought from another trekker, Trevor Hayes, who has also done a lot of miles in it. This one is easy to take apart and transport.

It was a simple procedure to put Willow in the cart after all of the preparation she has done. She can now take me out for a nice walk and trot and she is so calm and accepting it looks like she has been in harness for years. Willow is by Mt Tawonga Tobey and if anybody is looking for a really quiet Morgan that is awesome to work with, I would suggest looking at the Tobey progeny. If I ever breed from this mare, I think she will produce foals with the same sweet nature.

Speaking of breeding, I have two very beautifully pregnant mares who are in the final weeks and months of gestation. Greenstone Giaginye is set to foal at the end of August with her first foal. It will be a palomino and it is by Benelong Waymore Wishes. Mt Tawonga Belinda will foal in October and produce a full sibling to CS Captivate. I love seeing the pregnant mares with their huge bellies and forming udders. They have a soft energy about them that resonates calm and a promise for the future.

And as we breed, so shall we wean. Challa Station Wildflower has now been successfully weaned. I had hoped to keep her on Dandaloo for another month, but we have had no rain and so no fresh feed and it was in her mother’s best interests to wean at 9 months. There were a few days of crying out but Wildflower soon accepted that her mum had left and she has remained as part of the young mare herd. CS Symphony (Twisty) looks after her now, she bonded with her when she was little and has been very fond of her. They stick together and Twisty lets her share her breakfast sometimes.

Lenny the Legend (Tandarra Millennium) and I are still working on our online dressage competitions. We are competing without a bridle just for fun. We are also going to try our first online trail competition this month. I would actually love to get off the property to compete but the competitions never seem to align with when I can get away. Luckily I have Carlos Tabernaberri returning at the end of the month, I really enjoy getting together with horse people and spend the whole time talking about horses, horse and horses. Carlos is a great trainer who is highly ethical. I like the way he respects horses and treats them with care and compassion. He also gives us plenty to work with and inspires us to be better horse owners. I look forward to telling you all about the foals when they arrive. Until then, enjoy your Morgans!

Challa Station Boudicca, Symphony and Captivate, four years apart

 

Morgan Messenger June 2017

When you live five hours from the nearest repro vet, and even further from the nearest Morgan stallion, breeding Morgans can be almost impossible. Last year, in order to prove to myself that it was not cost effective, I sent two mares to be bred via artificial insemination in Perth. They were away for three months and only one came back pregnant. I’m now beyond doubt that was most certainly an expensive exercise and I would be better off if I bought foals rather than bred them. I also sent one mare off to breed with a very nice ASH stallion. Even that was a three hour trip, and three months away from home, but she has come back pregnant. This year, I had a decision to make; stop breeding pure Morgans or buy my own stallion. Most people will agree that having a stallion is a huge commitment and often an inconvenience. However, I have decided that, for Challa Station Morgans, having a stallion is pretty much a necessity.

Enter one superbly bred palomino colt by MEMC Tequila Cuervo out of Mountain Crk Helena, born last year at Mt Beauty in Victoria. I have had my eye on Mountain Crk Cartier since he was born and once it was clear he was colt material I decided to go and see him in person. It was a whirlwind 8400km round trip, one night in Victoria and back home the next day. I met Cartier and handled him and I was pretty happy with what I saw. I was extremely fortunate to have the chance to look around Leonie Kable’s paddocks and there were a number of beauties I would love to be bringing home, but I need to keep my numbers manageable. I will, however, be bringing home that very promising colt. Cartier will move west once he is old enough and with any luck he will remain sufficiently magnificent enough to be the next Challa Stallion.

Back at home, Challa Station Willow has been broadening her horizons under saddle. If we liken her level of training to a driver’s license, she is now on “green P’s” – relatively safe with a bit of experience. She is at the stage now where I want her to learn that going riding is enjoyable. Too much time in the arena makes for a bored horse, especially when there are so many opportunities for riding out here on the station. And so many ‘arenas’ for us to ride to and have a few minutes of schooling before riding home. One beautiful autumn day not long ago, I decided it was time for us to have an adventure. I loaded Willow on the float and drove 45 minutes to one of my favourite Challa landmarks, the Windimurra Lake. The 1km long lake is currently dry and the cracked clay surface makes for an awesome arena – international standard, in my opinion. Willow and I had a great solo ride, with nothing but thousands of acres in each direction. She is superbly sensible for a green horse. We rode to the middle of the dry lake where we spotted a couple of kangaroos grazing on the tiny plants emerging from the cracked clay. She looked over at them to acknowledge their presence before carrying on.

When you have a horse that is so calm under saddle that she will canter along on a loose rein, along a newly graded road, past the big piles of tree roots that have been pushed up, you know you have got a good horse. Good enough to go into harness! After just five training sessions, Willow was harnessed up and dragging an old tyre through the bush like she had been doing it all her life. Unfortunately, I only have a pony cart here so I will have to organise a bigger cart, but in the meantime we are honing our harness skills using a combination of tyre dragging and log snigging.

My two riding Morgans are worlds apart in their attitudes. With 1000 hours of saddle time, Lenny is highly trained; sensitive and alert. He powers along, full of energy and enthusiasm for his job. He and I are now so in tune that we work as one. He is an incredible working horse. Willow, on the other hand, is calm and relaxed. She is a perfect family horse. Safe enough for the kids to ride, to put in a cart, to take on a trail ride or to a clinic. One day under saddle, the next day in harness. Morgans are so diverse in nature, but the characteristic that runs through them all is the fact that they are so good at doing so much. That’s why I love to breed them. And that’s why Mountain Crk Cartier will be joining the Challa Station Morgans, so more people can share this wonderful breed.

Meeting MCM Cartier

Morgan Messenger May 2017

Imagine this …. Its forty degrees in the shade and the Photo Show deadline is drawing closer and closer. I am trying to bribe my family members into helping me photograph seven horses and a foal for the ANMS Photo Show. Our son, eleven-year-old Michael is dressed in a sheet, waving his arms and trying to get the attention of the very unflappable Morgans. Ash, exhausted from a day fixing windmills, is patiently trying to get the horses standing correctly for their photos. He has with him the “flapper arsenal”, consisting of a number of items, one of which I hope will get the horses to prick their ears for the photo. Then the fuel truck turns up, the driver is wondering what on earth we are doing and Ashley welcomes the release from his tedious task. I am forced to suspend the photography and release the horse back into the dusty paddock to try again later.

Luckily the Online Dressage Competition is easier to film. I still have to wait until the temperature is below searing, and I saddle up, warm up the horse and call Michael on the UHF to come down with the video. He wanders down to the arena, sets up the tripod, and I ride the test. If I make a mistake of if the video doesn’t work for some reason, we try again. I have been doing online dressage for a year now so we really do have a good system worked out. However, I was a bit ambitious when I tried to video three tests in one morning after changing the arena around. I had decided that I needed to swap the arena around for a morning video so the sun wasn’t shining into the camera. I knew the three tests but after I had changed the arena I had trouble remembering them all and only managed to video one and a half before abandoning my efforts. Luckily we were given a week to video the tests and I managed to get them all done. I wasn’t at all happy with the tests but the video provides me with an opportunity to self-reflect and collaborate with other people and I have set some goals for improvement. I do remember how beautifully Helena Shanal rode Lenny at the ANMS in Perth two years ago and I wish I could reach her standard.

All of this work was in preparation for the ANMS that was to be held in Queensland. Ashley and I flew over for five days. We stayed with six other Morgan enthusiasts from South Australia and together we visited some of the studs in Queensland. I finally met some of the people I had only known by name before. On the day before the show began, we had our first stud tour. We visited Lynnie Bennet and met her beautiful stallion, DWPs Hot Gossip. She has some other very nice Morgans tucked away in the Glasshouse Mountains. Hot Gossip put on a lovely display for us, he looked very pleased to have such a large audience to impress. After a lovely lunch, we went to Lynda Kingdom’s property and were equally impressed by her Morgans. Wirraway Johnny Walker is an impressive stallion who was greatly admired by us all. We also loved meeting the beautiful Spellbinder, her junior stallion. We also headed south to visit Alanna Marcham at Morgan dream Park. What a lovely lady she is! She showed us her imported mares and the young colts she had bred. We were lucky enough to be treated to a liberty display in the arena as Mich Meijer wanted to get some nice photos of them. It was so nice to finally meet people we have been facebook friends with for so long.

The ANMS Show was the highlight of our trip. We spent three days watching the events, admiring the horses and meeting new friends. Lisa and Tim Wong and the rest of the Show Committee should be very proud of themselves for putting on such a great show where we were made to feel so very welcome. We met the representatives from the American Horse Association, Erica Richards and Tony Lee. They were on their way to Judi Anderson’s place after the show to inspect the records as the final stage of the MHAA’s reciprocity application.

After the show, we managed to visit some more studs. We had a brief visit to Eatons Hill Stud and then made our way out to Leambro Morgans, where Steve and Leonie welcomed us with a hearty breakfast before giving us the stud tour. They have some very nice horses at their property and we will be waiting with great anticipation to see the foals by SFG Drayton that will be born next season and also the first foal by Leambro Somelikeithot. Then it was on to Wilga Park, a place I always love to visit. It was really nice to hear all of the lovely comments about the horses from the group of admirers. I loved the trail paddock that they have built and their new arena looks great! After a lovely lunch on the veranda, we saw Rhonda Menzies-Moreland’s lovely Warrabel Morgans and then as daylight faded we visited Ruth McGill at Cockatoo Park. Kathy and Greg were such great company, they came with us and we shared a roadhouse dinner before heading back to Brisbane. We were exhausted but so pleased we had managed to see so many beautiful horses and meet so many lovely people. Thankyou, Queensland, for putting on a great show, for welcoming us so warmly, and for holding off the cyclone damage until after the show.
Willow poses for the Photo Show

Willow poses for the Photo Show