By Simone Bullen, Simone Bullen Real Estate
As a little girl, I dreamt of learning to ride horses. But being an only child with an overprotective mother, I was never allowed.
When I grew old enough to make my own decisions, I was too busy building a career and living in the city. My passion went in the too-hard basket.
Two years ago, at age 37, I promised myself I’d follow my dream and have regular private riding lessons.
I found a riding school where I did weekly trail rides to practice what I was learning. It started well, then a horror fall shattered my confidence.
I thought I’d better do something less ‘extreme’ for my age.
But just as that thought came into my head, a client who knew I was learning to ride came into my office and asked, ‘How’s your riding going?’
Holding back the tears, I told her of my experience and how I thought I was too old.
She said, ‘Nonsense! What you need is a Morgan horse! Once you’ve ridden a Morgan, you’ll never want to ride another breed again’.
After she left, I Googled ‘Morgan horse’ and found several websites. Something drew me to Judy Oldmeadow’s Samaria Creek Morgan Farm.
As I reflect on that first weekend at Judy’s property, I realise it was the start of far more than a complete turning point in my riding ability.
Judy’s understanding and respect for horses and herds and uncanny ability to teach that to her students is a true gift. I’m so lucky she’s sharing her knowledge with me.
The first weekend I met Judy, I couldn’t believe we were going riding in the bush just in halters! No bit, and the fact she chose to ride her stallion alongside the mare chosen for me, was overwhelming at first.
I thought Judy was crazy, though deep down I knew she was an intelligent lady who wouldn’t risk the safety of herself, the horses or anyone else.
So trusting this gut feeling, off we went into the Samaria State Forest.
I’ll never forget that first bush ride, with Judy’s private tuition, gentle approach and constant feedback about what the horse was feeling and telling us with different responses to our actions.
The kindness, respect and understanding Judy offers her horses became obvious to me. They offer the same respect straight back to you.
After a few more visits, I knew the Morgan horse was perfect for me in size, temperament and its gorgeous curious nature.
I wanted to buy one, but such a big decision mustn’t be rushed. Which I knew Judy would never let me do, as her main concern is that her horses go to perfect homes.
Judy’s stunning stallion Nimrod is always such a gentleman – on and off ‘duty’. I knew her breeding choices were well suited combinations of mares with Nimrod.
So if ever I were to have a Morgan foal, I wanted one of Nimrod’s.
I didn’t even think about looking elsewhere; I’d found my breeder. The big question was how to choose the best foal for me with all of them so cute!
At the time, this question seemed bigger than the universe!
Then it happened! While sitting in the paddock among many mares and foals in January 2009, little Black Betty came up to me.
She started grooming me and smelling my perfume (we suspect she loves Channel Number 5). I knew she was in love when she started to pick at my bra strap!
This decision was the easiest of my life, Black Betty had chosen me!
I knew from that moment we were going to be perfect partners who could grow and learn together.
On a visit over Easter, just lying in the paddock beside her while she slept so peacefully, I had tears in my eyes and thought I was the luckiest girl in the world!
The fact Black Betty can stay with Judy for her first three years is so comforting. I believe she’s in the best possible hands and care in Judy’s peaceful natural environment.
Each night I rest easy.
I wanted to share this story and thank Judy for being with me on this journey – always so supportive and generous with her wealth of knowledge.
I can’t finish without a huge thank you for also turning around my husband’s fear of horses.
I remember his first visit; in the Land Cruiser with all the windows up, too scared to get in the paddock.
Today he’s first out of the car and totally comfortable among the herd. It won’t surprise me if sometime in the near future he comes on a ride with us!
This is truly a credit to what you’re doing, Judy.
Well done and thank you for being so special!