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Down the Dusty Diamantina

Over the years, as we have developed our business at Bogong Horseback Adventures, we have had the pleasure of watching another business making the same journey.
As we have grown and become more professional, so has The Diamantina Tour Company. Andrew and Jane Dwyer of Diamantina run a program of 4WD expeditions into some of Australia’s most remote and stunning country. The tours feature outstanding standards of interpretation, catering and adventure. The outback stands in enormous contrast to the High Country, but is equally rewarding.
Steve has from time to time assisted Andrew on his expeditions and highly recommends the experience.
You call Diamantina on 03 5777 0681 or visit them at www.diamantina-tour.com.au.

Go West Young Women

Some of you who rode with us last summer may have had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Davis from California. Kelly helped us out for a month over the summer and added her own special qualities to those tours.
Back home in the USA Kelly spends her summer working with various “Pack Outfits” conducting horse tours into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Kelly has invited Kath to join her for the northern summer at Rock Creek Pack Station, near Bishop in California. Those lucky riders will not only be taking in the splendors of Yosemite National Park, but also Kaths’ bush cooking. One of the feature rides on the Rock Creek program is a 7 day wilderness expedition called Women in the Wild! With Rachel, Nerada, Jed and Kath from the Bogong Stables, and a couple of our regular customers joining them, it’s sure to be just that.
Some readers may also recall Cathi “Longfella” who worked with us during season 1990. When we last saw Cathi she was heading to the States to ride rodeo. She kept in touch with us and sent us some pics over the years. She has settled down, and is now married with two kids. Her husband, Annin is Arapaho Native American, and Kath is really excited about visiting them at their Wild River Reservation home in Wyoming.

Our High Country Horses

We are always pleased to report on the health, happiness and social highlights of our hardworking and greatly respected horse team.
We have now experienced the best and most sustained autumn break we have had for some years, and the farm and the horses are rejoicing at the rains. Our paddocks are glowing a soft green colour, and the mountains are covered in early winter snowfalls.
New to the team this year are a couple of good sized mares, both in foal to a thoroughbred stallion. The larger mare is a beautiful Percheron named Bertha. She is “one big horse” and wears special hand made heavy shoes. She actually walked nearly to Dargo and back last summer and didn’t even wear out the toe clips. Her companion is a Clydesdale cross mare named Kaddie. She is a big bay horse that reminds us of Jimmy, only a little bigger. As you may have guessed we are keen to produce some bigger horses here, for our bigger riders.
New foals on the ground include a Palomino quarter horse filly out of Tess called Kelly, who is currently down in Gippsland at Tonimbuk Trails, and the last of Jacks offspring, a filly out of Trio called Shannonvale. Jack is enjoying his new life as a member of the working team, with plenty of opportunities to travel the mighty Bogongs. Last summer he only took a passing interest in the various brumbies we came across.

Change of Lifestyle

At the end of last season our northern hemisphere sidekicks, Swaan and Susan, flew north to enjoy another summer. Neither of then are planning to make it 4 summers in a row.
The experiences with our horses last summer changed Swaan’s derection: she has shifted from art to animal studies. We have been lucky to find another to fill her boots.
Vivian, who worked with Helen Packer last summer, will be joining the team at Bogong Horseback Adventures. We look forward to Viv’s keeness and big smile.
Linda and James have purchased a property near Yackandanda, where Linda is working for the shire. They are very happy with the four-bedroom home complete with bunks. Maybe some sleepless nights forthcoming?

Crooked River Feature Ride, February 1999

Each year Bogong Horseback Adventures runs a 12-day feature ride. Last summer our successful combination of a 7-day and a 5-day ride, to make up the 12 days, featured a journey to the old gold mining townships of Talbotville and Crooked River. Our camp on the banks of the Wongongarra River at the old pioneer racecourse was a very worthwhile destination. We travelled via the West Kiewa, Mt Loch, Mt Freezeout, Blue Rag Spur, Basalt Knob, Crooked River, Dargo High Plains, Mayford and a changeover night at Dinner Plain Resort. The ride then continued into the familiar country of the Bogongs, for the climax, a ride over Mt Bogong and a decent of Eskdale Spur into the Kiewa Valley and home.
Much of the ride followed 100-year-old mining “roads” constructed as routes through the mountainous country for the thousands of miners during the High Country rush. The tracks were mostly constructed by
Angus McMillan under government contract. Generally about 1m wide, the tracks offer some spectacular riding in remote country, far from roads and even 4WD tracks.
Rather than far away places, this year the ride will depart on February 7th for a spectacular 12 day Bogong explorer. We will be visiting all our favourite places including the Mt Fainter Range, Mt Bogong and lots of out of the way seldom seen spots.
Once again a combined 7-day, 5-day ride, the changeover night will be at Dinner Plain Resort.

Where are they now

Rod and Ruth, who took on the Falls Creek trail rides, are well settled into their job.

Their horses spent winter property in Mountain Creek and head up the hill to Falls in December. Among them are quite a few horses from our original team, in semi-retirement, being pampered by Ruth.
Chris, last seen “dish-pigging” in Falls Creek, is unsure of his direction.
Mountain life is very addicting and with the skills he acquired last summer he should fall on his feet somewhere.
Wayne is residing with us in “Low Plains Hut” here at spring spur. He as been busy this winter with feeding out hay and taking the day rides.
Ash is back in Australia after traveling the world for a few years. Welcome home mate …

 

Eve’s Story

On the 12-day ride in February 1998 the brumbies of the Kosciusko mountains stole our prize quarter horse mare, Eve. After hours of searching we had to give up and continue the ride without her. On the 12-day rides we always have spare horses so Judith, who started out on Eve, didn’t have to walk. We were terribly worried about Eve and,. with such a busy summer schedule, found it hard to know when we could go searching.
The bush telegraph worked particularly well and word was out that we were offering a reward. A bloke from Dederang, Ian Gibson, who rides regularly and knew the country over there pretty well, paid us a visit and told us he was heading into the upper Murray area and would keep an eye out for Eve.
That was the last we heard for quite a few weeks. One Sunday night, 10 o’clock, the whir of a Toyota awakened us. With dogs barking we staggered out to see a float arrive at the stables. To our amazement, it was Ian Gibson with Eve on board. We were so excited.
Ian warned us that she was in poor condition but I don’t think anything prepared me for just how bad she was. A skeleton was led slowly into the stables but we did detect a weary but grateful glint in her eye. When Ian found her she was alone and starving as the drought was very severe in that region. We assume the brumbies life-style was very romantic at first but a wild herd of horses is a far cry from the herd at Bogong Horseback Adventures! And our guess is that the alpha mares (the dominant mares) didn’t like this well-heeled hussy flirting with their stallions!
After seven weeks lost it was amazing that she survived and, as Ian said, she has a big heart as she was so poor when he found her that he had to pack horse feed into her for three days before she was strong enough to walk out.
By June, she was fit enough to go with the rest of the gang to the holiday resort in NSW where she is recovering by leaps and bounds.