Sand in the Yards Jan 2011

Yep, we have had big mobs of rain and at their peak the December storms dumped 170 mm in less than 24 hours. We came close to loosing the new dam as the flood was running about 300 mm over the wall. Creek beds that have been lying dry for a decade, choked with dry vegetation and fallen timber were once again free running streams, running bankers with flood waters spilling into surrounding river flats.
When the stream peaks receded the landscape was endowed with a network of clean, fast running streams, all opened up with sandy beds and long runs of gravel and cool clean water. Some places the washed sand had built up around bends and bridges forming large sand bars and flood outs. On a neighboring property the sand had to be cleared from the crossing and consequently we took delivery of many truckloads of new washed sand for our yards and stables. Sand that probably started up here in the first place!

Barefoot Winter Jan 2011

Talking horses feet, last autumn we took possession of a number of brumbies that had been removed from the Bogong High Plains by Parks Victoria as part of their brumby management program. We were impressed by the general good condition of the wild horses feet and decided to followup on an interest we had in “barefoot trimming” of horses feet, as an alternative to fitting steel shoes to the feet with nails.
The plan was to keep a working team of trail riding horses unshod, but correctly trimmed, through the winter months when the tracks are softer and the mountain work not required. We are delighted to report that the whole team came through the winter with their feet in great shape, many with improved foot health and no cases of ill effect.
We have now shod our team for the summer and the rocky mountain tracks, however come next winter the equine feet will get another recuperative spell from the steel shoe and nail.
Information about barefoot trimming http://ahca.org.au/

Meet the New Farrier Jan 2011

Andy Warhol famously stated in 1975 that “In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes” In popular culture this has morphed into “15 minutes of fame”.
Some of the regular guests at BHA may remember meeting our hardworking farrier, Bob Brown, probably cheekier than any butcher, Bob always had a cheerful side for anyone walking past his anvil. The farrier’s task, fitting shoes to our horses, is a tough physical endeavor and Bob has decided to reduce his work load and slow down a bit, so we had to find a new farrier.
Kath and I first met our new farrier, Brendon Anton in 1992 at a Wayne Banney clinic in Albury. Since then Brendon has made his mark as a horseman and rodeo competitor, working as a farrier and starting young thoroughbreds for the racetrack with very successful natural horsemanship methods. Ask Brendon about his “15 minutes” and he will undoubtedly refer to the 8 seconds he rode “time” on the infamous bucking bull Chainsaw at the 1991 Cootamundra Rodeo, up to then, only the 5th rider to score on the bull.
Chainsaw was one of Australia’s most famous bucking bulls. Only nine contestants scored on him and he won the Australian national title of Bull of the Year a world record eight times during 1987 to 1994.
We welcome Brendon into the team and thank him for his quiet and professional approach to shoeing our hardworking horses.

Wood Fired Oven Jan 2011

Home from the bush after 5 days of horses, adventure and campfire meals, our packhorse expedition guests now wind up the week with a wood oven pizza night at Spring Spur. After a welcome shower and re-emerging into the night in their “civies”, the riders spend a final evening together reliving the highlights of the ride and enjoying the pizza creations coming from the oven.
Lin and Clay have recently finished building the wood fired oven, a fine addition to the terrace attached to the homestead.

Lin’s pizza dough recipe (keep it simple).

strong plain flour
warm water
dry yeast
olive oil
pinch of salt
a few strands of horse hair

Make dough when you light the oven, kneed dough as little as possible then allow to rise and punch down a few times. Divide into small bun size balls and let rise a little before rolling out into pizza bases.
If you have made too much dough (as I often do) why not pick some fresh herbs from the garden and prepare a focaccia to bake after the pizzas.

Tourism Awards Jan 2011

Bogong Horseback Adventures returned to the Victorian Tourism Awards in 2010, tossing our hat into both the Adventure and Ecotourism categories. The presentation night at Crown Palladium Ballroom is greatly anticipated by those members of the BHA team who enjoy a big bright night out on the town, an opportunity to get out of the riding clobber and “frock up”.
As it turns out we were awarded a Merit for the Parks Victoria Adventure Tourism Category and a Finalist for the Eco-Tourism Category.

Wildflowers Jan 2011

The return of La Nina weather cycle has been dramatic this winter/spring/summer with fantastic rainfall totals month after month. The summer dry cycle seems to be upon us know, but the country is looking spectacular, a green valley, full streams, dams, rivers and water tables and a mass of wildflowers across the top of the High Country.
The impact of a decade of drought and fires is fading into a patina on the landscape and a hard memory etched into our community. We are all looking forward to a period of less extremes and the joy of sharing our special backyard with all our guests.
Take a look at our latest pack horse expeditions at the Bogong Horseback Adventures website.
Find out more about the native plants of the Victorian Alps here.

The Intrepid Cope’s Jun 2010

Some may remember Tim Cope, the Australian Adventurer who spent some time at Bogong before departing for Mongolia, to follow the trail of Genghis Khan. Tim overcame many challenges to complete his three year journey across Euro-Asia. Tim is home safe and sound with his new dog, Tigon. Tigon accompanied Tim some 10,000 km from Mongolia to Hungry. Tim’s documentary is about to air on ABC 2 at 8 p.m. on the 28th of July.
Meanwhile Tim’s Brother Cam Cope has been embarking on his own adventures, dividing his time between New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Australia. Cam has been developing his career as a photo journalist, sailing the Queensland coast, trekking the villages of New Caledonia and recently, riding the Bogongs with us.
Cam has delighted us with his ability to capture the essence of Bogong Horseback Adventures and portray’s the incredible landscape and our traditional packhorse adventures with a modern flair. Bogong Horseback is proud to support Cam and Tim in their future adventures, where ever they may lead. Check out the Bogong Horseback gallery on Cam’s website.

Brumbies Jun 2010

In Autumn this year there are some new faces about the traps at BHA. National Parks have started a management program to reduce the numbers of the iconic Bogong Brumbies. The herds that live near Mt Jim on Young’s Tops have been wandering in and out of a ‘Salting – trap yard’ all summer. With the winter fast approaching, the ‘passive’ trap was set.
Without knowing the quantity or quality of the horses to come, BHA agreed to partner National Parks and the Victorian Brumby Association by offering our well established horse facilities as a transfer point between National Parks and the Sanctuary. The first truck down the hill bought three stunning black Brumbies. Two mares in foal and one at foot. Three horses in perfect condition calm and curious.
Within the first day our friend ‘Fletch’ (John Fletcher, who came over for the season from Tasmania) had touched them all over with his ‘friendly stick’ (a long cane used as an extension of your arm) handled their feet and gained their confidence and respect for humans. Fletch had never handled wild horses before and clearly loved the experience. John is a fantastic horseman, his patience, commitment and horsemanship skills have produced fantastic results and our 4 brumbies have joined the team at B.H.A and settled in beautifully – Thanks Fletch!
As the winter sun continues to shine and the snow season approaches, the window of opportunity for catching more brumbies is decreasing, but so far National Parks have caught about 25 horses. The method of salt trapping the Brumbies is a very humane way of catching the wild horses, as opposed mustering them by helicopters or humans chasing them on horseback. This method goes hand in hand with the Natural Horsemanship techniques we use here at B.H.A.
Colleen O’Brien from the Victorian Brumby Association has impressed us with her ability to handle and float load wild horses with a minimum fuss using a ‘gentling of the Brumbies’ that has proven just how well this method of handling horses works!
B.H.A is pleased to assist the Brumby Association and Parks Victoria in this important management program to reduce the numbers of brumbies in the High Country, keeping the population of our much loved brumbies to a sustainable number.

Moroka Jun 2010

It was 1978 and Kath and I were a young couple, living in Gippsland. Kath had introduced me to horses and we would saddle up most weekends and ride off into the Tonimbuk bush looking for new tracks and ridges to explore, new challenges for us and our horses. Looking back perhaps I pushed the adventure a bit far, often getting back to our farm house in the dark after misjudging the miles to the next ridge or getting the horses bogged in some tea-tree swamp looking for a shortcut. But the distant blue ridges on the horizon started to look closer and I wondered about getting a bit further afield.
My sister Tracey had been for a ride into the Gippsland High Country with the Hodge family at Valencia Creek, so Kath and I, along with old mate Jed decided to give it a crack. The next January we were up at Clive and Marion’s homestead, saddling up our grey horses for the ride up onto Mt Wellington, down Riggalls Spur into Lake Tali Karng with camps at Millar’s Hut and the beautiful setting of Moroka Hut. We were enchanted by the mountains and our life’s journey was set.
We joined Clive for some truly memorable rides of discovery of what the High Country offered adventurous horseriders, from Wulgulmerang and Black Mountain to The Cobberas, Cowombat Flat and Thredbo, from Dargo to the Blue Rag and on to the Wonnangatta, and a ride we did ourselves from Tonimbuk to Baw Baw and on to Mount Wellington to Moroka. My introduction to packhorses came when I joined Clive on a re-enactment of the “gold train” that packed gold from the old bank vault at Wallhalla to Rosedale as part of Victoria’s sesquicentennial celebrations. After a few beers at Briagalong we had to catch up with a long night trotting along in the dark on the quartz back roads with sparks flying off the horses shoes and a lively banter with Clive and his mates Tiger Ripper and Archie Timms.
And so in time Kath and I settled in the North East High Country, just a few blue ridges from Gippsland and after 25 years of adventures with horses in the mountains we are proud to continue the traditions of generations of the High Country horse and the people who ride them. Looking out into the paddock now I see a young horse testing his agility, his strength and movement that is the gift of all horses. He was foaled in the spring of 2009, he was named Moroka, to honor those traditions and Clive Hodge who died late last year.
We will never forget Clive and Marion’s country hospitality, and recognise those adventures were instrumental in developing our passion for horses, pride in our heritage, and have contributed to our love for the high country.
The spirit and traditional values of past generations continue to inspire our family today.

Season 2010-2011 Jun 2010

The season of 2010 -2011 brings some exciting new rides.
The New Year’s Eve ride leaves from the stables and winds its way into the West Kiewa for the first nights camp on the banks of the West Kiewa river. New Year’s Eve will be spent in the stunning Swindlers Creek hidden in a snow gum filled valley. It was spared from the fires in 2003 and 2006, and is one of our favorite camps. After a sleep-in we will climb Paling Spur to Young’s Tops – home of the Brumbies – where we will set up camp at Young’s Hut. On the final day we head out to find the Brumbies and enjoy a canter across the high plains through Pretty valley. Then on through the Grey Hills to unsaddle and leave the horses at our yards at Falls creek.
The new 3 day ride, leaving from Falls Creek, will bring the horses home to Spring Spur Stables, riding through Grey Hills, Pretty Valley, Young’s Tops and Mount Fainter.
We will be running a couple of Special Day Rides on the 4th and 5th of January from our yards at Falls Creek to explore the local huts. These rides will include lunch. Send us an e-mail for details and prices.
The popular Mount Bogong and Mount Fainter 5 day pack trips are regularly scheduled throughout the season. The special 7 day pack trip explores new country south of the Bogongs and includes camping at the beautiful Faithful’s hut.
Natural horsemanship clinic’s with Wayne Banney – these trips include an opportunity for you to bring your own horse and are a fantastic adventure. The ‘on the track clinic’ is a proven way to get your horse out of it’s comfort zone and test their ability and endurance. Past experience is testament to the success of these clinic’s when horses and riders come home with a renewed confidence, astounded at what their horses achieved traveling through the mountains of the Bogongs! Jump online to see the dates.
Special offers! The new year brings new prices, however, if you book and pay a deposit before the end of June the old prices will apply!