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Share your horse story

A man feeding a horse.
Brookleigh Stud strapper Olivier Mouel with Brookleigh Excalibur. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

Share your horse story

Are you a horse owner, rider, driver or breeder? Do you ride on the weekends, aspire to be an Olympic equestrian, or remember the sound of a horse-drawn cart delivering your milk?

The Horses in Australia project is as much about your stories as it is about the stories recorded in and told through the Museum’s collection. We’d love to learn about your horse-related memories and experiences. Share your story below. Once moderated, it will be published on this website. It may also be published in other Museum print or online publications, and in our online and social media channels.

You can also contribute to Australia’s horse story and participate in debates about the place of the horse in Australia today through our People & Environment blog.

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Your stories


Dinka Dekaris
20 Jul 2016 10:18pm

"My Journey with Aladin" tells the true story of my very first horse and the incredible emotional journey he took me on. I was more than thirty years old when I finally realised my dream of owning a horse. Aladin was an Anglo - Arabian Thoroughbred cross, and I fell in love with him at first sight. Although he was challenging for an inexperienced person like myself, he was such a soft soul that he never hurt me. In working to better understand my horse and develop the bond I craved, I had to conquer many fears. I became stronger, more self assured, happier in myself. After years of unhappy relationships I learned to stand on my own two feet and simply be happy on my own. It was a wonderful gift my horse Aladin gave me. Together we trail rode around the forests near Melbourne, at the Yarra Valley and the beach. I bought a second horse, a purebred Arabian, in 2009. Aladin was a great teacher to the little weanling, I was even able to take the young horse for trail rides with us, ponying him off my older horse's back.

Tragedy struck in 2012, when Aladin fell sick with colic. Words cannot describe the pain I felt when the vet told me the second surgery was unsuccessful. I lost my beloved Aladin on Valentine's Day, and I still get teary when I think about it. But I still had my young horse, Spirit. I can honestly say that Spirit saved me from the deep gloom that settled on me after the loss of Aladin. I put all my spare time into my young horse, who was not yet broken to saddle at the time. Three months later, I had my first ride on Spirit. We went on to do endurance, a sport that is highly addictive as well as challenging. Often when I look back on it all, it seems like a dream. I can hardly believe that there was a time in my life when I did not own a horse. They are such a huge part of me. I am so grateful, I say it to my horse every time I see him: "Thank you for the joy, beautiful boy."

The true story about my first horse was the first book I ever wrote. I am continuing to write and hope to one day make it my full time profession. 

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Barrie Tapp
01 Nov 2015 1:45pm

We purchased a QH from Sarah Myer from Yulgilbah stud at Red Hills back in the 70's Sarah told me to enter it in the first AQHA National show in Melbourne in 78 we did and we were the first to win the blue at the very first National show He went on to be a champion won at everything By War Creek fro Sarah's favourite mare Then we were hooked Lone Creek as he was known died at the rioe old age of 28. But we still hold that record as the very first blue ribbon at AQHA National show ever 

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Birgitta Stoiser
14 May 2015 4:52am

A little story from a white horse in Gray Court who will compete in Aiken August 18,19,2012

I just heard a voice come into my ears and said to me, I’m ready for another big show weekend ahead of me. Just too bad two of my best friends have to stay behind alone without me there. But I have told them your day is coming too soon and you can go to a show as well and show your talent of as well.
So I will on Saturday morning get myself in the trailer with my special dad of mine, and he will drive to Aiken South Carolina to compete with me. This time I have heard, I have to perform on Saturday in Dressage what I try my best not to buck with my rider on me this time. I Sterling know I can do very well this time. Than later in the afternoon I have to jump myself in the Arena what I Sterling can do the best.
Than after my first day of performing me and my dad are going back to the barn where I have to spend my night and hopefully meet up some new friends there so when I come back home to Mercedes and Clover I can tell them some stories.
So when the Sunday morning arrives and I finally awake myself all rested and full of energy , my dad hopefully will be here to feed me my morning grain. ‘Yum’ cannot wait. After I ate then I will go for a ride with my Competition Rider on my back to practice for our last event of the weekend. I mean the Cross Country runs. How much fun will this be? Me as Sterling I really like that a lot, and I can say from myself I’m really good at that. Than after all that hard ride of mine, is waiting time now to finally see how well we done, cannot wait to see our scores, and me Sterling already know we have a blue ribbon.
So when everything is over with us there, hopefully my dad will take good care good of me, before putting me back into my little comfy place for the drive home to see Mercedes and Clover back.
First thing when I get back home I will take a walk over to Mercedes and Clover to say hallo to them, and tell them about my special event and show details, and afterword’s I will get myself a sip of water, since for sure I will be thirsty than.
My name was Sterling Silver, and wants to end my story for right now, and more stories from my life to com for sure from me.
Take good care all of you out there. 

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Anonymous
18 Mar 2015 9:22pm

Thanks for the opportunity to add to Australia's Horse story.

I grew up in Essendon in Melbourne, Victoria. As a child I remember the Lincoln Park Dairy's horse drawn Milk Cart clomping up the street in the mornings, with the sound of horse's hooves on bitumen and the rattle of the milk bottles heralding the trek through the suburban streets.

One of the neighbours living down the street from us, used to come out with a shovel after the cart had passed, and use the horse manure to put on the roses in her garden (she always had beautiful roses!).

I also remember getting a trip one morning in the cart with the milkman, Conway, to the end of the street – with me still in my blue dressing gown and pink slippers. I must have been about 10 years old.

I recollect that the local birds got smart enough to peck a hole through the aluminum foil caps on the top of the milk bottles when they had been left in front of the houses!

I also recall that I was also at Primary School with one of the Lincoln Park Dairy family memebers. Thinking of that old cart has triggered a lot of memories……. 

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noel ferguson
10 Mar 2015 1:57pm

We owned and raced a gelding sired by Choisir by the name of Chosen One who is now 8 years old , successfully involved in eventing and who was successful in 2014 in winning the Garry Owen event at the Royal Melbourne Show a wonderful achievement for owner and horse after a career in racing. 

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cenza
23 Feb 2015 12:03am

avoca had a dude ranch back in the 60's run by jack fletcher and fran Montgomery.this was where my sister and I went when my Italian parents made the chicken in the basket for the holiday crowd at Terrigal.in those days it was the noosa for the grasiers and rural folk.uncle jack looked like a cowboy and aunty fran and mimi and julie fed us fresh milk and pikelets.
after my 11 month old had a stroke from a brain tumour I went through the gammet of physios, occ health people, bike riding, ball games and swimming.she was medicated for years.at 3 she had a ride on the free pony rides at Randwick and that's when I started her new physio.she started with rose and her left sided weakness was challenged,she had to syncrinise or those ponies went somewhere else.being city slickers we leased from the school.eventually buying a clever arab cross called jimmy.he became part of he school and rose helped us do dressage pony club and hacking.jimmy was always there to provide succour after surgeries, radiotherapy,mri and dr visits.i confess it was the only thing I could bribe her with.i never did get a horse till I was 50,but we have had a few now and each one given us pleasure and pain too.hey that's life... 

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Anonymous
08 Feb 2015 6:56pm

I am looking for details of Sunny Scott pony rider in the late 1950's and 1960's. A member of the Ingleburn Pony Club with her sister Joy. Won the Championship Girl Rider at the Bathurst Jamboree in 1957. The Australian Horse & Rider have her on the front cover. Also won many RAS First's. Does anyone have any further information.
ceridwen1@iinet.net.au 

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Sarah Elliott
06 Feb 2015 8:03am

I remember the first time I saw Pedro, I was to exercise him for a friend. Coming from England I had never seen such and ugly beast, Standardbreds weren't the usual breed you see. Long legs, a skinny body and a big head. He was angry and very badly behaved. He would walk over you, wouldn't tie up, float load, be caught, bucked, bolted and threw every trick in the book to get what he wanted. My husband saw it fit to adopt him for me, I was sure I wouldn't last very long, not having any horsemanship skills but to keep my bum in the saddle. Over time he taught me so much and between us we worked out each others language. I have had him for 13 years now and you couldn't get a more patient, kind, well, mannered horse. We have discovered the Australian bush for hours together, pony clubbed,rode in parades and mustered sheep, his favourite job is giving little kids pony rides. At the grand age of 22 he still loves a gallop in the paddock. I will be lost when his time comes. If it wasn't for his patience for the hours I spent practicing my shoeing and making strange shoes to fit his feet it would have been very hard to become a qualified farrier. I have many people asking if I know of a nice quiet reliable horse, they are what I call gold dust, I don't tell them of the gem I have grazing in my paddock at home. I no longer see an ugly horse but a beautiful one, inside and outside. 

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Sally
22 Jan 2015 9:58pm

Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my horse stories.

Any experience with horses will leave a lasting impression on your psyche. Once you have connected with a horse and begin to understand them, you are a changed person. You realise that horses have great intelligence, emotions and a relationship with humans that cannot be underestimated.

After owning some miniature ponies a few years ago, our family formed a bond with these quirky characters and learnt a great deal not only about horses, but about ourselves as well. We lived on a property outside of Canberra, and had a mare, gelding and filly miniatures. These ponies had not being trained, and so we endeavored to train them to accept a halter; be lead; be brushed and get onto a trailer (amongst other things). As a ‘green’ horse owner, you quickly realise how much is taken for granted that a domesticated horse can ‘do’. These behaviours do not occur naturally in horses: all of these things need to be taught to a horse. These actions reflect hours of patience, repetition and an amazing relationship of trust and perseverance between a human and a horse.

After some training these miniature ponies, I learnt about my own emotions. If I was in a rush to move them to another paddock – sure enough, Trixie would pick up on my impatience and refuse to come near me. I had to show and tell the ponies that they could trust me. There were also the times when we would sit by them and just ‘be’ with them because we enjoyed their company.

I will never forget those delightful whinnies early on a mid-winter’s morning as I crunched through the frosty grass in my boots over to the horse enclosure to give them breakfast. As I approached their gate, the voracious Trixie would give a bothered shake of her head and mane to tell me to ‘hurry up’ with the breakfast, whilst pushing to the front of the line to be fed first.

It is hard to imagine the Australian bush without the presence of horses. They have adapted since their arrival in the late 1700s to the unique climate and vegetation of our landscape. I devoured the ballads and stories of horses in the Australian bush when I was a child. A. B. Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River (1890) and Mary Grant Bruce’s A Little Bush Maid (1910) were particular favourites, and I imagined myself as some of those characters who had these amazing adventures in the wilderness – always on horseback! I grew up in a number of different urban places, and longed to live on a bush property that I had so often read about in these books. Our family now loves reading the contemporary authors of horse stories such as Alison Lester and Jackie French.

Our family is still working towards getting our own bush property in which to have some horses again. My eldest daughter is very keen to have a larger horse of her own and is enjoying lessons until she is able to achieve this dream. When asked if she would like to move back into Canberra to be closer to school, friends and the city, she replied, “No way! How am I supposed to get up and ride around in the beautiful bush with my own horse and dog?!” It is comforting to know that the love of the Australian bush and horses will be inherent amongst our future generations to come.

We are going to Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story tomorrow at the NMA and are very excited to see the exhibition!

Regards,
Sally 

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The nervous rider
16 Jan 2015 12:05am

Desperately wanting to trail ride as a way to relax but being seriously impeded by anxiety and fear, I thought I may have to sell my lovely quarter horse. Then a local Canberra farrier suggested a trainer from Victoria who was specialising in women with confidence issues. She was holding a clinic locally in the not too distant future. After much procrastination and guilt about spending money on myself and taking a whole weekend for myself I committed and went. I was shocked at the emotional reaction I had at the clinic. The reaction was mostly about myself and my unworthiness. But I had the most successful time doing ground work and training my pony it was awesome! I was given permission to embrace my fear and to get off if I felt unsafe. This was the most empowering moment in my relationship with horses. I no longer needed to ride and could still give my horse a full and productive life.

The ground work led to more clinics with both this trainer and her husband. They had interpreted an American Horse Training method by specifically breaking out components for people like me, scaredy cats! Showing me how to respond to high emotions in my horse and replace it with conditioned responses changed more than me and my horse, it changed most areas of my life. Wow, have I come a long way.

As my hobby was going to the clinics, when offered to do their new trainers program I figured why not, I was going to all the clinics anyway. I told myself it would be good self development and if I can't train a horse in the end I will still learn something. Not expecting much from myself and avoiding any great expectations the program went on. Being careful not to think too far ahead, and in spite of myself I was being successful. So now 2 years on and a lot of knowledge later I will be attending the Spirited exhibition with my first client, after first doing a horse training session in the morning, tomorrow the 16th of January 2015. Best thing I did was to sign up for that clinic, it's unbelievable. 

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Leanne
26 Dec 2014 1:09pm

Junior or Marsden Snow which was his registered stud book name, was a grandson of the champion Australian thoroughbred Vain, was given to me when he was a 5 year old a month after my sister died (she was only 23). He had been with a racehorse trainer and had been turned out and pretty much for gotten about as he didnt like running in the mud. He had barrier trialed him and he was fast, didnt like being behind but just didnt do well in the mud. So the trainer said I could have him and his original owners said he had to go to a good home and was never to be sold. He was thin and hadnt been touched in a couple of years, but he was what I had always dreamt of - a glorious big chestnut full of pazzaz! So home he went with me and we just clicked, I road him almost every morning before I went to work, took him for a walk every night, rugged him every day as he felt the cold and loved his rugs. I was 21 and had a 6 month old son who loved him to bits. When my son was 2 my mother found him in Junior's yard sitting between his legs, Junior just stood there and enjoyed their little moment together. He was like a kid in a lolly shop most days, full of excitement and joy, he loved to run and would prance when he knew he was coming to the spot on the track where I would let him run. He loved kids and was very gentle, he didnt have any nasty bones in his body. He would put on a performance every day when the school bus pulled up to drop the kids off near his paddock. He would race around his paddock, rare and buck and the kids would cheer then he would drop his head over the fence for a pat and some would give him an apple. We went to shows and events and would always bring home a ribbon, but he loved just going for a ride. Just a few months short of 23 wonderful years together and his 28th birthday, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye as he had a stroke and couldnt walk properly anymore. My grand old man was putdown in his paddock and his mate of 8 years Buddy laid down beside him until the man came to dig his grave. He will always be my special man and I miss him dearly, every day he would put his head on my chest and I would wrap my arms around him and we would have our special moment. Thank you Junior for being apart of my life, til we meet again xx 

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Carmel Rowley
13 Dec 2014 1:15pm

Reading, writing and Arabian horses.

I was born in Melbourne, Victoria and have loved horses, all my life. At age eight reading horse stories was a life line and vital to my well-being when I spent ten months in hospital with a serious illness. My dream was to own a horse like the children in the stories I adored. I was thirteen, before my parents gave in to constant pleading and purchased my first horse.

In 1972 I married my husband Don and the following year the desire to breed horses became a reality. Together we have owned and bred purebred Arabians for forty years. In 1988, the stud made the big move from Don’s family farm in Gippsland, Victoria to the outskirts of Toowoomba, Queensland.

From the beginning the decision was made to keep the stud small as we both worked at off the farm jobs. The years of breeding combined with travel and friendship. We travelled to horse shows, visited friends and later had the pleasure of visiting and viewing long admired horses in the USA and Europe. The years were full of shared triumphs and sorrows, lasting friendships—many from around the world—and producing horses which exemplified a personal ideal.

My life has always been interwoven with horses and books; and I cannot imagine life without them. Writing about horses became somehow entwined with breeding almost a natural extension of self. I admit to not taking it seriously until asked to do breed articles for the Arabian Horse Express, Arabian Studs and Stallions and Australian Arabian Horse News. From 1999 onwards writing stories and articles for the online breed magazines became a regular activity.

Writing about what I loved gave me invaluable experience and a new perspective about what was happening within the Arabian breed. I felt it was time to remind breeders of their responsibility to the horses they professed to love. As a result I began my first novel Tails Carried High. That was fifteen years ago and it’s taken many years, several courses and lots of practice to hone and understand the skill of writing fiction. As with breeding horses, you never seem to stop learning the craft of writing.

In December 2009, Tails Carried High, Book one in the Daughters of the Wind series was released. Due to commitments with work and the stud I opted to go with independently /self-publishing. The Publishing Industry was and still is undergoing big changes in this direction. To my delight the book travelled far and wide around the world and is still selling. Book two in the series Voices in the Wind was released November 2010 and Book three Winds of Time in December 2012. My first children’s book Danika and Yatimah from Egypt to the Outback was released in March 2011 and this year I released Danika and Yatimah in a Race for Rain.

I’m fascinated by what motivates people, especially horse people. Even in ancient times the complicated emotions of people who loved Arabian horses haven’t really changed. These days the stud has scaled down but the little girl in me continues to love and own horses, finding a never ending inspiration for the many books to come.

Carmel Rowley 

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Julie King - Moss Vale
08 Dec 2014 6:35am

I wanted a horse so bad, even a donkey would do!
There was no family connection with horses, I always felt a bit different maybe slightly crazy but I really wanted a horse.
So there is this horse sale at Sutton Forrest, some bloke selling off his brood mares & my dad decides to go along for a look, & I just might get my horse.
Horse after horse gets sold & still no horse for me, I'm waiting, hoping; this could be it. Finally there she is, a beautiful solid bay mare with a white blaze down her pretty face & for our penny strapped family this girl was going cheap. '$275 mare in foal sold to Mr King!' I had my horse & a bonus on the way!
In the next moment my beautiful new mare rears up standing tall on her hind legs as she's led from the ring, my dear father slumps in his seat & I recall his words 'Oh Shit what have I done'.
That was the start of my huge learning curve & many great horse experiences.
We called her Baldy & her little bay colt foal (whom grew up & turned grey) Copper, they provided me with a wealth of experience & I even lived to tell the tale with no broken bones, can't say the same for my dear old dad! 

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test
21 Nov 2014 3:43pm

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Keryn
14 Oct 2014 4:54pm

Cadelle-the-Waler—the unexpected foal

My friend said – ‘Your mare’s looking pretty fat. ‘No no’ I said—‘Sadies’ been wormed and now she’s on good pasture, she’s just recovering nicely, putting on condition’.
The vet looked around with a grin, her hand in its’ blue glove in up to her shoulder. ‘Yep, I can feel hooves’ she said.

Sadie was a rescue horse. I'd picked her up in northern NSW. Now she was having a foal. What was I to do? I knew nothing about foals. Guess I’d better learn.

Cadelle-the-Waler was born on a freezing wet Canberra morning just after Cadell Evans won the Tour-de-France. I named the foal after him. Not often a horse is named after a cyclist.

Having a mare and foal to look after changed my life. It taught me so much about horses.
Now Cadelle is three years old. She’s grown into a fine Waler, loyal and funny and clever.

I’ll be riding her soon. 

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Ben Reid
08 Oct 2014 7:16pm

I grew up on my families grazing property in the foothills of the snowy mountains of NSW. I was introduced to horses and ponies from a young age by my grandfather and father and uncle. My grandfather had ridden to many of the stockmen huts when he had a lease on the burrungeebugee river in the 1930s and 1940s. As I grew up I helped with mustering stock on our family farm and also going with horses to snowy plain with my family and friends, it was a wonderful time. Then I left home and my first job off the family farm was at a cattle and thoroughbred stud at Braidwood run by the Lavis family. I met my best friend there who taught me a lot about horses including training and managing stallions. My work at the these days does not involve horses, but I look back with fondness on those days. My friend and I would learn Banjo Patterson poems off by heart and recite them at work. I can still recite the man from snowy river off by heart. Other favourites were "brumbys run" and "the droving days". Only this past year my favourite mount, Misty, passed away, she was a brumby foal, "with a touch of Timor pony" and was a great ride. 

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Shaza
03 Oct 2014 7:57pm

My husband recently competed in the NSW over 40s Polocrosse competition at Nana Glen NSW. What a great thing to do. If you are hip and happin go go go. If not go and have a look next year. Horses Rule 

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Jackie K
24 Sep 2014 10:37pm

Wanting a horse is a random need for many people. Without any equine connection many people like myself have this need for horses in our lives to be complete. City girl born & raised I wanted a horse from a very young age, never grew out of it, tried to live without horses, to no avail. As a tertiaty educated professional in human health & behaviour I can't describe my desire for the company of my horses. It's not just the achievement of caring for, training & riding. Being with them even in a passive manner makes me feel whole. 

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Sue Sherlock
21 Sep 2014 8:59pm

I grew up in Blackheath in the beautiful Blue Mountains. As a child I adored horses, I used to look after and ride my neighbours horses and I always dreamed of a horse of my own.
My father was a national park ranger with the Blue Mountains National Park and at the time there was a huge problem with the wild brumbys in the Blue Mountains Grose Valley
One day my father carried a orphaned foal out of the Grose Valley, he had put the foal on his shoulders, and scrambled up through the rugged terrain .
The brumby foal was a gift for my older sister and I was only 8 years of age at the time, I was so jealous as she had her own horse now.
Time went by, my sister left home to train as a nurse, and the foal grew up in to a beautiful sure footed horse. We never managed to get her broken in, and my father eventually got her in foal. A family friend had a beautiful Arabian stallion and they thought that would be a great choice.
I was 11 years of age and dad took Beauty the brumby away to a friends farm, and I was wondering if she was going to ever come back.
It was the week before Christmas 1976 and a horse float pulled up in our driveway. Out came this beautiful bay filly, and my parents said Merry Christmas. She was for me! Mine ! I could not believe it!
Freshly broken in, a new saddle and bridle, I cried with happiness.
Over the years, my horse named Dot and I were inseparable, I spent every morning and afternoon riding her. I adored her. Being part brumby she was so sure footed on rugged terrain, she had the intelligence from her Arabian sire and so beautiful.
For many years, I was so happy, my blue cattle dog by my side and my beautiful brumby I was in heaven. I finished school , trained to be a nurse, left home, got married and had children.
I took my horse to our family friends farm, she was put in foal with a quarter horse, and after the foal was born they both went to live on my parents farm, until she passed at the age of 33 years old.
I am so lucky and proud to say, that I once owned a brumby a free spirited, wild horse, a piece of Australian history, that for years was my best friend, the best horse I ever owned! 

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Wendy Bushell
20 Sep 2014 6:11pm

My history with horses is ordinary, but horses have a way of making even the simplest endeavour or accomplishment seem special. When I was a young child of 9 or 10, I spent weekends at the Wayfarers Riding School at Williamtown NSW owned by Jim & Marion Foster. Jim, his son Max or Max's friend Keith would do a circuit & pick up as many kids around the area as the car would hold & we would spend glorious days riding around on their stable of many & varied ponies & horses. There were so many - Sailor, a little black pony, Lincoln, a huge big grey & a pretty little paint whose name I can't recall just to name a few. Good times. My sister Lynn's first horse was a big grey rig named King. He was a handful & I wasn't really allowed to ride him. But I would often sneak across to the paddock, drag him up to the fence & climb on when no-one was around. Lynn would buy ex-racehorses to retrain as hacks. She had some beautiful horses & sometimes would let me ride them up the path from the paddock to the stable. After years of no real contact with horses, I decided to buy my own first horse at the age of 39. She was a beautiful big chestnut Thoroughbred mare named Goldie. I renamed her Cody. We spent 17 and a half wonderful years together. She taught me so much about myself & horses & I will never forget her. I currently own a Stockhorse/Thoroughbred cross gelding named Bandit Boy. He is an interesting character, the total opposite of Cody, but we have fun together. I can't imagine my life without horses now. They complete you. 

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Martha Sear, Senior Curator
15 Sep 2014 11:07am

Thank you Christine, what a terrific contribution. It's remarkable just how many ways horses have been a part of your family's life here. I hope you get the see the exhibition - many of the experiences you've described are included, from stockwork, to teamsters, to the mounted police, and war service. We appreciate the time you've taken to tell us your story. 

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Christine Lawrence
14 Sep 2014 12:37pm

It is hard for us today. even those who still ride for pleasure, to comprehend how ubiquitous horses once were. My family history in Australia is not that unusual but it is full of horses.

The first record of a horse in my family in Australia dates from the Convict Muster of 1802 when John Nichols, my great-great-great grandfather, was recorded as owning a mare on his 30 acre land grant at Prospect Hill west of Sydney. He probably used her to pull a plough as well as to get him into Parramatta when necessary. There is no indication that he had any experience with horses before he was transported. My great-great-great grandmother, Sophia, did. Her father was a horse dealer in Stow-Cum-Quay near Cambridge. She was transported in 1812 and the baby son who came with her grew up to be a stockman on the mighty sheep stations in western New South Wales and Queensland.

Most of my family had arrived in New South Wales by the 1840s and they lived a rural existence dependent on horses. Charles Hughes was a publican at Black Creek on the Liverpool Plains when his young sons were robbed by highwaymen coming home in the family horse and cart.

Edward Lang arrived in 1841 and within six years was the first police constable at Dubbo. He was, by necessity, mounted and spent a lot of his time chasing horse thieves beyond the boundaries of settlement. Edward's son James became a stockman and by 1864 was working on the big sheep stations on the Liverpool Plains. As he aged he shifted to driving wagon teams until by the 1890's he was driving his horses to Quirindi railway station to drop off and pick up goods for graziers across the Plains.

His sons started their working lives as a stockmen and horse breakers. Thomas joined the Light Horse in 1915 and took part in the famous battle of Romani on the Sinai Peninsula. His brother James Edward became an owner/trainer and had some success in pony racing during the 1930s Depression with a 14.2 hand gelding called Mavlin. Many of Edward Lang’s descendants are still out on the land around Walgett but they don't use horses any more.

Robert Smallhorn came to Queanbeyan in 1846 and earned his living as a teamster bringing everything from chairs to house bricks from Sydney along the torturous Old South Road through Berrima and Goulburn. He died on the job, crushed by his team on Liverpool Road in Sydney.

Robert's grandson Ernest went to South Africa in 1900 as part of the NSW Bushmen contingent to the Boer War. Ernie was a 'cattle ranger' – a dodgy bunch of horsemen who contributed to the British war effort by stealing as many of the Boer's cattle as possible.

By the Second World War most of my ancestors had chosen or been forced to leave the land. Many became involved in the next wave of popular transport – the railways – as track builders, engine drivers or maintenance crew. But you can't take the horse out of the horseman. My father remembered his sister Thelma riding a horse through the back streets of suburban Randwick!

My father didn't like horses. He had bad memories of being thrown into the saddle as a city child visiting his father's relatives near Tamworth but he had no doubts at all that, six generations on, my own desire to get on a horse from an early age was entirely genetic.

I'm sure everyone of us, if we take a look, could find one or more horses in our family history. 

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