Camp in the Snowy Mountains of Australia
 By Rachs Barnorama   •   22nd Aug 2010   •   2,299 views   •   3 comments
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to have the choice of going on one of four different camps this year for school, and luckily for me a week horse riding in the outback was an option. I am one of those people who has always loved horses but has never really had to opportunity to develop that love and to focus on it. I mean, I had lessons for a year but that was only ever once a fortnight and it just got too expensive, especially since I didn't have a horse of my own.

Camp in the Snowy Mountains of Australia

This camp was up in the Snowy Mountains in Victoria, Australia. Have any of you seen the movies Man From Snowy River or Return To Snowy River? These are classic Australian films and you are not a true horse lover until you have seen at least the first of these two movies. The camp I went on is essentially where these movies were shot. We even got to ride through a valley where a scene was shot and also saw where one of the most famous scenes was filmed (the downhill scene. Youtube it.) as well as learn some insider information about the film.

Many of us on the camp were complete beginners. There were the experienced riders among us but majority of us had never properly ridden a horse. For example, there was one girl who was petrified to even mount the horse she was riding. By the end of the week though we all thought of ourselves as great riders. You see, this girl who was petrified of horses was galloping on the last day. Yes, you read that right, galloping.

Day 1:
After a four hour bus trip from school we finally arrived there and met the staff, the dogs that live there (it is a family run business) and then went on to meet the horses we were to ride. I got the calmest horse called Buddy and later on was so shocked to discover that he had been rescued by the owners of the Trail Ride business from a place where he was abused and neglected. Although he could get grumpy with other horses he was such a delight around us, as were all the other horses. I have heard of places where the horses are grumpy and lazy but these were the exact opposite. They were perky, energetic and actually very enthusiastic and willing to go faster which I had never experienced at a trail riding facility anywhere! Some of these horses were ex-racehorses, but thankfully it was only the very experienced who rode them.

The horses were already tacked up so we didn't have to do much, and after a quick lesson we were off. We mainly following the road since we could not go very far before turning back. We were walking and trotting and then for the experienced riders, which somehow included me, we were cantering. Let me mention that the previously mentioned girl who was petrified of horses that morning was begging the staff to let her canter. We soon ended up back where we started, untacked the horses, gave them dinner and washed them before we went up to the house where we would stay for the first night. We had to cook our own meals with food we brought, but for dessert we were treated to icecream with the most delicious chocolate fudge you will ever eat! Also, the children of the owners of the trail riding place came down to join us for this night which just added a family touch that was definitely a unique experience.

Camp in the Snowy Mountains of AustraliaDay 2:
Started with an early rise and then a rush to have breakfast and get everything packed and soon we were back with the horses. We had all learned how to tack up on our own and even though many of us, including me, had minimal to no experience with this, we quickly got the hang of it and were pros by the end of the week. So off we went crossing some creeks, cantering along the road and just having a fantastic time. We soon arrived at our destination for lunch and were soon off again before eventually arriving at our campsite for the night. Once again, cooking our own meals, and this night invloved many hilarious stories around the campfire.

Day 3:
This day was a whole lot of fun. We rode straight into the bush, through windy trails and avoiding swinging branches. It was a bit daunting because the trail was so skinny and there was a long drop to the side of us, but thankfully it all turned out well, but the day was not without a casualty. One of the staff members was injured as her horse did not leave enough space between a tree, and her leg was dragged back in an uncomfortable direction. We soon made our way to a huge windy hill that was rocky and slippery. Many horses were careful but tried to get down as quickly as possible which led to lots of slips and near misses. Thankfully for me Buddy has become so attached to the staff members that he took his time going down the hill making sure that with each step he was stable. Of course, we took about 10 times as long as everyone else and got very behind, but it is better to be down slowly and safely than to be down quickly and in 20 pieces. This made me really admire this horse. He had been abused by his previous owners and was skin and bone, but now he has such faith in people. After several more river crossings and some more cantering, we were back at the same campsite as the night before.

Day 4:
There was a spill earlier on, but the ride went on and we all had a wonderful time. Similiar to the previous days, Thursday involved river crossings, tight trails, trotting and cantering and then we got to ride through the most beautiful valley I have ever seen. For those of you who have seen the previously mentioned movies, in the first one it is where the chase scenes was filmed. It was gorgeous and green and was such a beautiful location. After taking care of the horses we made our way back to the property where we stayed the first night and watched the classic 'Man From Snowy River' and then heard a spooky story before heading off to bed.

Day 5:
This was our last day. We got up extra early to get everything packed up and so we could have a longer ride that day than originally planned. It was our last ride with these horses and was such an eventful day. We were herding some cattle into a paddock which was fun and then we got to gallop along a road. Unfortunately, I was stuck behind a rider who did not like the idea of telling her horse what to do, so I could only canter, but it was still fun regardless. We then headed up to a beautiful hill and looked out at the scenery before riding out to a log and each jumping it. This was eventful and also quite funny. Buddy is not a jumper so after 2 attempts I did not push him to try again and make him do it. Regardless, it was such a fun way to end the week and before we knew it we were back saying our final farewells to the horses and then heading back to the homestead for some sausages and cordial and then the awards to be announced.

There were awards for Most helpful who helped out everyone during the week. Most improved whip cracker, which was so much fun learning how to crack a whip- aussie style. Most natural riders (myself and my twin sister), loudest duo, best stunt rider, and the the winning team from our relay race earlier in the week. Each winner was awarded a block of chocolate and for the relay race winners the one condition for winning 5 block of choclate was that it was shared among us all on the long bus trip back home. After saying our final farewells we were soon off and unfortunately on our way back home.

Many of my friends, who are experienced riders, were really sceptical about this camp. most were beginners and they expected that they were going to be bored walking the whole time and would not get to do much at all. Instead, we trotted, cantered, jumped and even galloped. Moral of this story? No matter how experienced you are, never turn down an opportunity like this. You may expect that it will be boring since it is a group of mainly beginners, but in general the staff will accomodate for all levels of experience, and it is an opportunity not to be missed. You will be suprised how much you enjoy it!
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PonyBox  MOD 
Thanks for posting this, it sounds like you had a great time!
  Aug 22, 2010  •  1,578 views
That sounds like a TON of fun! =]
  Aug 22, 2010  •  1,533 views
  Aug 22, 2010  •  1,731 views
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