Recap of last years event, building training facilities for horses

The big move is coming closer and the cat is out of the bag, I thought I’d share some of the experiences from last year in a blog – come and us join us on our journey.

So the story began as an idea for my husband’s love for space and my love for animals. Our Sydney home was getting a bit crowded as the streets turned into car parks. And most of our neighbours moved away, which makes space for a younger generation to enjoy the close proximity to the nearby Primary School, and our kids become more independent.

OK we don’t feel old but just ready for a change!

We started looking for a bit of space outside Sydney … and we found a bit of space –150 acres in Minimbah NSW! IN my German way it sounded like more like ‘Mini Bar’, and it makes the name so much easier to remember.

We were lucky we acquired the most beautiful herd of cows, so these previous residents stayed with us. The friendly cows showed us quickly that they knew their way around and they’re happy in the fattening paddock not so much in the smaller weight watchers paddock.

We also have one jailbreaker cow that decided she likes to move herds from time to time to natter with her friends. That was the first learning curve that we needed to improve the fencing as they were all with calf!

So the fun begins with lots of ideas for planning, deciding on fences for cows, and of course, the new residents who will move in (horses)! Nevermind the house, there is one but it also requires some TLC.

picking up , part of the post and rail fencing
Picking up part of the post and rail fencing

So the horses getting the fancy post and rail fencing, plus equine mesh to avoid accidents. All the local horses were already looking over the fence …ohooo wandering who the new neighbours are.

The bank account got a hammering as spending on the infrastructure got underway. 🚑

We guesstimated the fence line length, mmm Nah not quite right. We went back to Google maps for another estimate.
Lucky I had help, and my son and husband had a go at fencing, while I spent the day weeding… lovely yellow flowers any time you would like to come up I left a few 🌼.

after a long day part of the fence line is finished with the top rail.
part of the fence line is finished after a long day
sitting on a bean bag of fire -weed.
I’m sitting on a huge bag full of fire-weed

Now it was time for mother nature to show some interest in our project – so the last time we had rain was in May 2019 we are still luckier than most and had a few sprinkles of rain now and then.
We did get rain in February, but that’s another chapter.
Everything was dry and crisp, and the fire season started well and indeed and didn’t hold back.
Holly shit this was a scary time as the fire came way to close and closer.
I wondered how that new timber fence would burn😢 . Lucky it didn’t go up in flames as I could see the fence line light up like the match sticks.

a terrible sight of the fires coming towards us

We started looking into evacuation plans for the cows; everyone had the same trouble, dry, no feed and no water. The location for contingency plan caught fire as well, so we stayed put and were extremely lucky as the fires missed us, only because the wind changed direction by 600 meters of the boundary fence.

As we started planning the arena site and preparation for the arena, we were on a steep learning curve.
It seemed absurd planning the drainage for 1’100 mm of rainfall per year (which is the norm for this area) while we’re in a raging drought. We still haven’t seen any rain yet.

We are looking for level ground, able to raise the arena higher, so it didn’t drown in a good rain. The water needs to channel around and away from the arena.
Huge undertaking – so many details I haven’t even thought of yet.
But there was the dream why we’re doing it all.

My dream is to hold clinics on-site and make the venue available for education – still mulling over all the ideas, but I can see bringing in equine experts to help with highlighting the importance of:

– Saddle Fitting:
to show the importance of proper fitting saddle
– Farrier:
to ensure a balanced hoof, sound horse – no hoof no horse.
– Qualified Bodyworkers:
to explain the correct biomechanics why it is essential to work your horse evenly and prevention from early deterioration
– Veterinarian:
for horse health and education

And if course a great coach to bring it all together’ me.’

indoor arena under construction, roof panels half attached
indoor arena under construction roof panels halfway attached

The fun and journey with your horse enjoying a sustainable riding career no matter the riding discipline – just fit for the job.
The importance of training your whole horse, so it is sustainable and has the chance to live a long healthy life …this is my philosophy what Balanced Dressage is all about.

There seems to be a lot of horse owners looking forward to accessing educative information and common sense applicable to all horse breeds.
So a magnificent all-weather arena is a must, plus a classroom and dry area for theoretical teaching big enough to fit a horse and students.

Icelandic stallion, in a relaxed walk
Icelandic stallion, in a relaxed walk

Next chapter was the drought, So we avoided the fire (only because the wind changed), but we still hadn’t had any rain, 5 out of 9 dams became critically low and undrinkable for the cows.

So we started the grim task of bringing in fodder for the cows which was becoming more and more challenging especially as the rest of the country was also dry and had no rain so this was not easy. Now we had to cart water as well. Apparently, that is what happens – farm life.

 Drought, the only bit of green left is where the dam was once full of water.
Drought, the only bit of green left is where the dam was once full of water

The first step to carting water was buying a new tank as water carriers not allowed to fill up dams. Getting the water was the second challenge as we ended up on the waiting list for the water delivery – 3 weeks!
Lucky the tank arrived just in time, oh and then we needed a trough and poly pipe connections that the cows don’t just knock around and turn into a foot spa.
Oh man, maybe we dreamed too big! Anyway, cows seemed happy enough with the attention as we kept fodder and water up to them.

A big shout out to our neighbours and the family that is renting the farm cottage as they were great at helping us out.
We are so thankful we moved into a beautiful community, and we had so much help. Our neighbours and renters made it easier for us and recommended great workers/suppliers and always had time for a cup of tea or beer!
We couldn’t have done it without them!

And if the drought and fires weren’t already enough excitement, mother nature pulled another trick out of the back pocket and voila we had a cyclone come through!

the machinery shed after the cyclone ,  was moved onto the driveway
machinery shed ended up on the driveway after a cyclone came through

The cyclone takes out the existing machinery shed.
Literally, took the shed out by lifting it up (with concrete piers) and flung it down the driveway. There was the storage gone, and it looked worse than our teenagers’ rooms.

Lucky we have some amazing neighbours, and by pure chance, the shed builders were on-site the next day (building the new arena roof!).

Thankfully, they helped to clean up the mess; it did help to have the right tools for the job to lift the concrete piers of the ground and to use them as a paperweight on the old roofing.
Lucky the now almost finished arena made a piece of excellent temporary machinery shed, as well as storage for the fodder.
We were relieved that all the work and calculations for wind resistance were made for the new shed paid off. The New structure pulled through, and it is still standing proud and tall looking great!

Don’t worry; this project is far from finished as we still need a base, the actual dancefloor. So many options and so little budget left, more homework to sift through. The devil is always in the detail I would like to have a natural surface. Of course, the money tree didn’t grow as planned (because of the drought no doubt 😊).
But we still have a bit of time, and at the moment the tractor enjoys the dry cover and hasn’t blown away.

the tractor is enjoying the dry cover under  in good company with the hay stash.. Some green grass has returned.
the tractor is enjoying the dry cover under in good company with the hay stash. Some green grass has returned.

Not even catching up to the unusual events followed by more unusual events in 2020!

So hold the phone … mother nature was at it again! Now it was time to turn on the tap and after 9 months of no rain, and boy did it rain, 300 ml over one long weekend and we enjoyed watching a lovely new river system for on our place. River was so wide we should have named it.

And the good news is, the dams are full and the grass is green again, so there is new fresh feed for the cows, and soon for the horses.

Luckily the rain slowed down and while it kept raining it wasn’t so torrential. Just in time for calving of course which starting a week after the rains started. Obviously, the cows were just holding off for the big green pasture which was by now jumping out of the ground.

Everything seemed a bit more in order and hopefully a bit calmer farm life ahead – phew!
(🙄 not likely )

We sold our house in Sydney in the big move is just ahead.

Terrifying exciting and all the above emotions go to my head!
I finally will have all my horses home in one place.

I have acquired a small herd during all this I forgot to mention that we bought the resident horse River to join us. Now the colour scheme is complete,

Black mare, Georgie Girl appaloosa warmblood cross
– Grey gelding, River a station breed stock horse
– Buckskin mare, Lucy Iberian probably going to be flea-bitten grey, going to go bay for a while.

Georgie black mare, and River grey gelding arrived at the farm .
Georgie and River arrived in their new home!
Lucy Iberian filly looking at an umbrella.
Lucy Iberian filly looking at an umbrella. Lucy will stay a bit longer with a herd before joining us on the farm.

But I’m sure the obstacle course is going to continue and we will have lots of challenges along the way.
Next step is actually moving and that is going to be an exercise in itself.
Oh and just in time, there is a challenge released on the world COV19.

And we haven’t even started on the house yet…