Wednesday, 8 April 2015

... full of self-assurance ...


by Simone McPherson
 On a rather rainy overcast day we had to muster in the horses, the entire six …


… a little different to the days of twelve or so …

 … there was a little ‘horse play’ …


… along the way …

 … Pedro even thought that it might be an idea to change direction …


… in actual fact he was taking care of ‘Gabby’ the children’s old faithful pony, there at the end, who after twenty or so years has now lost most of her eyesight and Pedro, bless him has assigned himself as her ‘Guardian’ he has veered off to take her into the yards …

Roughly three weeks ago or so Avila – Porky Girl – became lame through a rather nasty stone bruise on the top rear of her right front distal phalanx, in other words her hoof; that just never seemed to heal properly creating a rather hard sore growth; consequently this has left her with a weakness there.   


And as a result Porky Girl came shopping with us a few weeks back to have her shoes removed by the Farrier. 

Therefore it was time to bring the horses in to get another mount going for work.

And at this particular point in time there was only one other mount that we could use – Rocky – the Palomino Gelding.

Now Rocky has not been ridden for four or so years as he is number two son’s horse.  These days number two son has a rather hectic life many, many miles away being a Vet.

So virtually we had to start Rocky from scratch again.

Rocky has already been ‘broken in’ it’s now a matter of giving him some directions to re-connect him with humans and to get his body supple to carry El Ranchero over this steep country which entails a lot of stretching exercises beforehand …

… and some more stretching exercises … in fact he had a whole three weeks of gentle stretching exercises, of having to wait and of being tied up at the stalls – “ … all part of the process … “ El Ranchero tells me.

Rocky now goes everywhere with El Ranchero … he has iced tea with me and El Ranchero …

… he has a milky tea with El Ranchero on another day.  I am told by El Ranchero that the idea behind all of this – “… is getting used to …”  is for Rocky to again have a general familiarisation of the whole experience of functioning with humans again.  It is to “cement” and to build up a “trust” with those bonds that are made between human and horse.  El Ranchero will do all this before he has even stepped on Rocky too …

Then after two weeks or so there is the other problem of working horses in this country … 

... they need shoes as it is too hard on their feet here with all the sharp rocks as well as carrying a human.

So that means a two hour trip into our next big town to see “T” the Farrier …

… once loaded, Rocky seems to be under the impression that he has been ‘kidnapped’ and does not stop calling out for the next two hours …

… till we get to the Showgrounds.  On this particular day we have a number of hours up our sleeve which we purposely allowed for as it would be a great time to make use of the beautiful Arena at the Showgrounds, and fortunately for us we find that on this particular day it is not in use by any of the Horse Clubs so …

After Rocky is unloaded and saddled up of we go again with further stretching exercises once more …

… then there is the opportunity for some lunging ...

... so that Rocky can be a little more patient with the Farrier when he arrives …

Then “T” arrives and starts to shoe Rocky …


… for me it’s wonderful to watch him at work and I marvel at his skill and speed 

And before too long he has finished … then after giving our thanks to “T” and saying our goodbye’s we then go back into the Arena as we are informed by “T” that we have the full run of the Arena.   

We stay for the afternoon and this time El Ranchero steps on Rocky for the first time …

… And …

… it all goes rather well, Rocky is so different to the other horses that we have which are Andalusian cross Stockhorses. 

  
 He is a rather heavy set horse that would be wonderful in Campdrafting competitions as he has a lot of power and speed in his back end and he is a very, very, very strong horse, he has a wonderful nature, like that of a gentle giant and nothing is too much for him, though at times he can be rather stubborn but I guess we all have that streak in us one way or another … 

The country is still a picture with the native Blue grasses … 

… the deer have been coming up close to the house in the early hours of the morning and …

… the little experiments that El Ranchero has been doing with ‘Phosphorous’ here and there have been …

  … proving to be quite productive with the grasses, in particular the ‘Coolatai’ …

… and the cattle too are looking wonderful again …

I have even been out gathering some silt …

… when time allows …

… to top dress what we have of a rather poor impression of an example of lawn, in-between horses digging the grasses up, ...

 ... cattle coming by and mowing and not having any water for the lawn, there are bits of  the lawn that seem to have survived, just …

  on our journeys around the paddocks checking on cattle and such, we came across this ….

… a strange looking nest? There were no signs of life or of anyone actually living there, the pouch almost looked sticky … so now I’m on a mission to, find out what it may be, stay tuned for that …

… we also came across another Frilly necked lizard though this little chap was a lot younger than the last one we came upon a few weeks back … 

The Citrus have put on a fresh gush of green growth, I guess the molasses brew has proved to be very optimistic move, thank goodness I was a little worried there for a while …

And now I am off on foot as encouragement for Rocky with El Ranchero and ...

 ... the dogs as we wonder off for a walk through the countryside.  Rocky gets a little nervous without the other horses.  However I know it won’t be long now before he will be cantering across the landscape full of self-assurance and enthusiasm to go to work with the dogs and El Ranchero and I too will join them either on foot as I crash through the scrub looking for cattle or as back up in the Toyota all in a day and life out here …

Friday, 20 March 2015

... the day once more ...



by Simone McPherson
My afternoon walks with the dogs have been delightful of late and it makes for a pleasant way to end the day … as I am no longer on the Horse … well at least for the time being until we come across a Horse that is easy going and does not get spooked easily …

When we start our walk, we are all full of beans as Lily pup and Maxi boy trot of in-front of me …

… sniffing here … and sniffing there … 

 …. Looking here and … Looking there ….

… then on the way back some of us, start to lag behind … “C’mon Maxi we're nearly home …. “

We have been on the look out too, for some ‘Rogue’ cows, who had it in their minds that it was best to run away instead of being moved into a new paddock with fresh feed with the other cows …

 … there is only so far we can go in the Toyota before …

… off we go by foot, the cattle really do ‘NOT’ like to see a human being on foot they become very agitated ….

… after an hour or so we have to take a break from crashing, stumbling and running through the bush chasing those cows ... we left El Ranchero quite a while ago to retrieve the old Toyota …

… and not before too long we hear the Toyota … now it's time for lunch, thank goodness.

… and as we get to the gate the cows start wandering through pondering what all the fuss was about … 

The other afternoon we drove down to one of our front paddocks to check the fence lines as we have been having a bit of an issue with other human beings cutting fences to go poaching for Fallow deer and the wild pigs …

… I could not get over the grass growth down there …. 

It has been just over a month since we closed the paddock to give it a rest, though we have been very fortunate with little showers of rain that have been passing through …

… and in that late afternoon glow …

 … it was just so … ‘dreamy’ …. It reminded me of summer afternoons as a child 

 … and the lovely soft colours looking through the gullies …

… with the Knife-leaf Wattle …. Acacia cultriformis … and its beautiful shades of sage green … just gorgeous …

I have also been having a little bit of a ‘trial’ in experimenting with the new addition to the house … being the old molasses drum to catch the water from the veranda for the garden … 


As a child we lived on the Sunshine Coast, and in those days the ‘Sugar Mills’ were still running as well as the little trams pulling miles and miles of little trolleys full of freshly cut sugar cane, we would pick pieces of cane up of the road and start chewing on them much to our mothers horror.  The little trams would go through the main streets of the Town as the Mill was right in the centre of town … though I really think the town grew around the Mill.   And every now and then when it was ‘Crushing’ season … the Mills would put an ad in the local paper for gardeners who would like a lorry load of this terrible smelling ‘sludge’ which was called ‘Mill Mud’.


Well my mother always eagerly anticipated this time of year; ‘Crushing’ season, to get a lorry load delivered free of charge mind you, to your home … as back in those days it was just a ‘bi-product’ from the Mills that they were happy to get rid of … and us kids … well we absolutely hated that terrible smelling ‘rancid molasses puke’ …. 

And now?, here I am forty or so years later filling buckets of water mixed with a nicely fermented molasses brew and that smell, which has taken me straight back to those ‘Crushing’ summer days and my mother in heaven shovelling that sludge onto the garden, and the garden responded by just “powering” ahead with all its new growth, she always had wonderful gardens … I can see my mother right now “up there” having a little ‘chuckle’ about how the tables have turned ….

I have also had time to re-cover the … 

… old kitchen stools …

… and to make a couple of cushions for the lounge … all scraps that I had hoarded for one reason or another, now those reasons are lost in time …
I can hear El Ranchero calling out, we are going back out to finish up another ….

 … yes you guessed it …

… fence …

… though this fence line is only very short …

… infact it is only 34 posts short …

… El Ranchero has built a ‘Trap’ for mustering as now he is one woman down … yes ‘Me’ …
… the cattle are very happy though to be in this part of the paddock …
… and it adjoins into the lane-way which works out even better, as they can ‘smell’ their own tracks in and out of the … ‘Trap’ …
… and before we know it … the day once more has come to an end as the late afternoon light filters through the beautiful gums … 
… the Blakely’s Red Gum – Eucalyptus blakelyi …. and …

… this magnificent Narrow leaved Box – Eucalyptus microcarpa – taken from the Greek word – ‘micros’ – small and the word – ‘carpos’- fruit … such glory in the afternoon light …..