Posts Tagged ‘farm’

A young girl’s dream come true

December 12, 2012
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Pure joy … wrapped in learning.

Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

Last month I spent the weekend with Janine, a psychologist, and her nine-year-old daughter Kaitlyn.*

I’d thought I was too tired to teach yet another horse-crazy girl.

But then I saw a longing in Kaitlyn’s face that I’d felt at her age.

And so I gave her what I would’ve loved to have had in my youth:

  1. An old horse to pretend was my own.
  2. An obstacle playground.
  3. Some boundary setting.
  4. Safety hints.
  5. Freedom to experiment and explore.

The old brood mare Kaitlyn played with had never been pampered before she came to me. Her delight was as great as the girl’s – as you can see in this photo album.

It made me cry.

Soon after arriving home, Janine wrote to me:

‘Dear Jude,

If I didn’t know how important our connection with horses was, I may have considered never returning to your wonderful farm!

Kaitlyn spent the entire trip home behaving like a devastated lovesick teenager. Life was never going to be the same without her one true love.

OMG Jude! She bawled for 2.5 hours. Anyone would’ve thought I was taking her back to a life of deprivation!

At two, Kaitlyn wanted to be a vet. Since age five, she has wanted to own a horse farm.

Now she imagines every detail will be ‘the same as Judy’s farm’.

She sits at my laptop watching the slide show of images over and over in a beautifully mesmerised state.

I’m working with her to hold her happy, exciting dream so it actually comes to pass.

Now you are in her heart as much as the horses, Jude. Her relationship with you is just as powerful.

You are a gift to us, Jude. I want you to know we’ll ‘repay’ you by giving our horses all our care, love, understanding and unconditional acceptance … while educating and fostering insights in others.

Take care of you, Jude.

And thank you.

Janine.’

How about that?!

I don’t feel so tired now …

Enough said!

🙂

* Real people, new names.

My Journey to the Morgan Horse

March 16, 2011
peaceful photo of morgan horse and foal with owner at Samaria Creek Morgan Horse Farm Judy Oldmeadow
Peace in our time.

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! 🙂

The Round & The Square

January 21, 2010

Good. Better. Best. We do the work,
Nature does the rest!

By Judy Oldmeadow    , Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

What Horses Eat

Horses have a long gut and are relaxed and content when it’s uniformly full. Nature designed them to eat large amounts of various pasture and herbage.

Given the choice, they browse on sticks, leaves, berries and seeds – as well as grass and weeds.

Wild horses roam large areas to obtain food. At the mercy of climate and predators (including man) they often die of starvation or thirst.

Making Hay

Our farm is ideally suited to horses’ feed, exercise and herd companionship needs. Cutting our own hay lets us add necessary dry feed when it’s not available in their paddocks.

I believe round bales are best suited for supplementary feeding. This lets horses choose when to eat to keep their gut comfortable and still graze for variety.

When horses are fed extra hay as segments of small square bales, they wait hours at the fence for their human to deliver it – thus missing the exercise and extra nutrients of grazing.

Ad lib round bale feeding reduces competitive fighting (and resulting injuries) when hay is delivered to a herd once or twice a day.

We aim to improve on nature with the environment we provide for our horses. Cutting round bales for paddock supplement and small square bales for convenience enables this.

When we sell a horse, their new owners can take some small square bales home to help prevent the gut upsets often caused by a new feed regime.

Learning

Miles and I attended a six-week Sustainable Whole Farm Planning course in July 2007 at the Department of Sustainability & Environment.

Topics included land classification, soils, water, fire safety, pastures and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

Our project focused on hay. We chose a seven hectare paddock and aimed to bale enough hay for two years’ use and to sell the rest to cover the cost of cutting.

Strengths

  • Sheltered paddock with easy access for weed and pest control.
  • Variety of pasture suitable for horses.
  • Suitable soil type.

Weaknesses

  • Weeds.
  • Native animal pests.

Opportunities

  • Low cost, weed-free hay that’s ideal for our horses.
  • Free, natural reseeding from cutting every second year.
  • Superior young horses with sound feet, joints and bones.
  • Fewer injuries and illness.
  • Improved paddock condition via rotational grazing and understocking paddocks.

Threats

  • Fire.
  • Low rainfall.

Dreams into Action

We concentrated our weed and pest control efforts on this paddock and capitalised our strengths via rotational grazing (heavy in winter, conservative in summer).

In November 2007, we cut enough round bales for two years. Our excess top-quality hay fetched a premium price and we had the added advantage of a fire-safe paddock over summer.

After two years, we only had two round bales left and had to buy 150 square bales for horses in yards or on outings.

Our paddock improved after a year of good rain and controlled grazing. In October 2009, we cut 100 large round and 240 small square bales! 🙂

Our SWOT analysis helped us achieve our goals. We look forward to continuing to give our horses optimum conditions.

🙂

As Easy As 1, 2, 3, 4 … 5!

December 22, 2009

So much work. So many people. So little time!

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

Years ago, searching for strategies to deal with depression, I read about ‘morning questions’: those first thoughts to pop into our head when we wake. 

So I composed five morning questions to start my day. What can I: 

  1. Be happy about?
  2. Be excited about?
  3. Contribute?
  4. Learn?
  5. Do to have fun?

Sometimes I struggled to answer these questions. But that struggle was better than the litany of depressive thoughts with which I was always bombarded. 

Slowly it became easier, and these five questions are now habit. 

Last Sunday I woke overwhelmed with thoughts of too much to do. The day was filled with people: 

  • Sarita and teenage daughter Bo were in our cottage with Sarita’s sister Quintana (who was visiting from Holland and wanted ‘the whole farm experience’).
  • In our loft was vet nurse Elise (owner of Morgan gelding Oscar, who’s on agistment here) and Kristy (apprentice and owner of Morgan gelding Detroit).
  • Christi Wales and daughter Dana (visiting their two Morgan yearlings) were looking forward to a day in the herd.

My farm duties included: 

  • Taking our stallion Nimrod to serve a mare at Bonny Doon.
  • Providing an exciting riding experience for Quintana.
  • Moving four mares, with foals at foot, from one side of our farm to another.

And so to my five questions: 

  1. I was happy to have so many interesting people enjoying and buying the horses I’d put my heart and soul into nurturing.
  2. I was excited to have a mare owner seeking another foal by Nimrod – a stallion so well mannered I can take him anywhere, which lets owners of mares with foals at foot rebreed without the stress of transportation.
  3. I could contribute 100% of my attention to every moment of the day using skills I’d fought hard to learn.

The learn was question easy, as every moment I spend with horses teaches me something new. 

But I struggled with fun, as it all looked like hard work. 

So, I decided to combine the people with the work. 

Bo, Kristy and Elise came to Bonny Doon to see the mare. 

Jan, the mare’s owner was away. As I watched her son Dane calmly follow my orders, oblivious to the gaggle of girls, in a situation totally new to him, I had my first learning for the day: 

Focus on one task at a time, without distraction. Get it done satisfactorily before looking to the next task. Thank you, Dane! 

We had to create a safe place for the mating. It was wonderful to have so many willing hands to move a hen, a water trough, two curious alpacas, a mini mare and a foal. 

All went well and we look forward to a foal in eleven months. 

Next came the task of moving the mares and foals across our farm. 

With the right attitude, WORK = FUN!

By including all the people, it was like a movie scene. Bo rode Folie, Kristy rode Poppy, I rode Tanjil (with Dana behind me) and Christy led Arizona while Sarita and Quintana took photos. 

The foals loved the adventure and galloped and bucked like spring lambs. Apart from having fun, I felt exceedingly proud of these amazing mares that haven’t been ridden for over a year. 

Are we having FUN yet? My oath! 🙂

To complete the day, Quintana got to ride a Morgan. Nimrod changed roles from breeding stallion to teaching horse with just a shake of his head and a prance in his step to let us know which job he’d rather have. 

At last, Quintana and Nimrod have their moment.

By applying my five morning questions to a set of tasks I’d found overwhelming, everybody had fun. Especially me! 

Life is 10% what happens and 90% attitude.

Pets Blogs

Amanda’s Tale

December 1, 2009

By Amanda Gallen, a Queenslander with two of our two-year-old Morgans.

Waking at dawn on our first day at Judy Oldmeadow’s farm was very special. I looked out the cottage window to the beautiful valley below. I woke my daughter Brianna so she could also experience the moment.

We had brekky, dressed quickly and went to the paddock to see our horses Sarge and Ava. They’d grown so much since we last saw them!

They were in a paddock with the other foals. We walked in and sat on a log. The herd noticed us and came over – our babies leading the way.

They smelt us from head to toe. So inquisitive! This was something I really wanted Brianna to experience.

Our week was full of adventures; childhood memories Brianna will never forget. Judy put her in charge of the farm’s smallest horse – a Shetland pony called Sailor.

It was just what Brianna needed. She gained so much confidence with a horse that was just the right size for a beginner. She fell a few times, once quite heavily. No broken bones; just one of those needed-to-happen experiences.

Brianna went very quiet after that and returned to the cottage for a rest. But she came back ready to regain her confidence.

I played with my babies and watched how they fitted into the herd. Observing lots of mare behaviour, I decided that human mothers would do well to act like mares. That way, our kids would get what we say first time, rather than wear us into the ground.

While most foals are well behaved, some don’t learn quickly. Sarge is one of them; he’s covered in bites as he just doesn’t move fast enough!

I rode with Judy – right inside the herd of mares and foals. I felt like I was running with the wild horses in The Man from Snowy River! It was an amazing buzz that kept a big smile on my face all night.

Judy worked with Ava and decided she was ready for saddling. Ava’s a clever filly and we even had Brianna sitting on her and walking around.

Though Ava was excited to have Brianna up there, everything was done with the utmost attention to safety and I wasn’t at all concerned.

I’m very happy I bought her.

I could go on and on about our lovely horsey experiences. Suffice it to say the farm truly felt like heaven to me!

Then and Now. My Journey.

November 28, 2009

Judy Oldmeadow . Decide what you want and the Universe will conspire to help you.

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

Dark days

Last day of school holidays. It’s nearly dark as I push a heavy barrow round the horse yards. Forcing my overworked 53-year-old body to pick up the last of the manure.

Vaguely, I wonder if I could analyse people by their shit, as I can horses.

Calico dumped her piles by the gate as she looked for someone to take her back to her paddock.

Holly, the fiery Arab, spread hers fast and loose along the fence as she impatiently paced, neighing for attention.

Banjo, the slow-thinking beginner’s horse, deposited his huge pile under the tree where he patiently waited for something to happen.

Barrow empty at last. A final check for brushes and tack in their correct places.

I limp inside. Happy I’m alone at last, but sad I’ve only enough energy to shower and collapse into bed without eating.

For ten years I’ve been running children’s riding camps on my 22 acre property.

I know I can’t sustain this life of one camp after another, with ten kids in my one bathroom, no partner and only a teenage assistant and daily cook to help me.

At the end of each camp, no matter how tired I am, I always give each parent an encouraging report on their child’s particular skills.

Today I advised a mother to tell her nagging, blaming, attention-seeking daughter to forget horses and take up acting.

Time to stop.

A place in the sun

I lie under a walnut tree on a stunning 240 acre property, surrounded by contented Morgan mares and their foals while my imported stallion stands watch.

I smile as I watch lead mare Tanjil and her filly Yve. Tanjil’s mothering skills never cease to amaze me. Within three hours of Eve’s birth, Tanjil pushed her over to my LandCruiser to let her investigate it. Next, she nudged Yve to me and kept her there with her body, letting me touch her all over.

For three weeks Tanjil did this with all new human visitors, occasionally pushing Yve away if a person wasn’t to her liking. Now Yve is allowed to make her own choices. She’s curious, confident, friendly and respectful.

Horses could teach people a lot about parenting.

I hear my husband Miles slashing the paddock ready for the fire season. I allow myself a moment of pride for our achievements.

Our Morgan herd comprises a stallion, five purebred mares, two partbred mares and three other breed mares in foal. This year we have five foals at foot, seven yearlings and one two-year-old running in the hill paddock with the nanna mares. All but one sold.

We provide agistment for the horses we breed until they’re two. This gives them the best environment for sound hoof and bone growth in a herd that develops confident personalities.

We’re succeeding beyond all expectations.

Our cottage lets owners get to know their new horse in a safe environment. This month, our first two-year-olds have gone to new homes in three states – well mannered, confident, barefoot and sound.

I work with my horses to teach communication, assertiveness and self awareness while having fun.

I’m living my dream.

How did I do it?

All my life I’ve not made changes until things got bad enough. I saw myself as tough – nothing could make me cry.

Then my closest friend fought a long, heartbreaking struggle with cancer. One of her coping mechanisms was to plan her own funeral.

She designed an amazing mural for her coffin, chose the music and asked mourners to walk to the cemetery. She asked me to ride beside the hearse leading her mare Tinto – saddled, with her boots backwards in the stirrups, military style.

I agreed, thinking it’d be a lovely way to say the inevitable goodbye. At the cemetery I tied my horse to a tree and led Tinto to the grave. In the silence after the service, Tinto called and my horse answered.

A huge wail rose in me. I cried for weeks. In the supermarket. At the doctor. With visitors. Alone. Years of suppressed tears.

Worried for my sanity, a friend suggested internet dating. I didn’t even own a PC! She set me up on a hand-me-down.

After three months, I was over my depression and happy to live alone. Then I got an email from Miles Oldmeadow. My deceased friend had worked with his mum and we’d met several times.

We had much in common and many mutual friends. Two years later we married. I sold my farm and began building my new teaching facility at Samaria.

I was used to aching knees; they’d both been dislocated and lacked medial cartilage. But in our second year of marriage, my pain was everywhere. I tried to work through it, but sometimes I spent days in bed – exhausted by an hour’s work.

After a merry-go-round of tests, specialists and medication, a rheumatologist finally diagnosed fibromyalgia.

My research into managing this condition included meditation and reading about post traumatic stress. I noticed I was almost pain free when relating to horses.

Early one morning, with pain preventing sleep, I decided I’d breed safe, friendly, comfortable-to ride Morgan horses for families.

I was thrilled when Miles embraced my idea. In November 2006 we began our journey by purchasing two purebred mares.

I no longer have fibromyalgia symptoms. My depression has lifted and I’m breeding sensational horses while coaching animals and humans into harmonious relationships.

Life got bad enough.

I did something about it.

Pets Blogs

Ye Reap What Ye Sow

November 28, 2009

Flowers, bees and birdsong wherever you turn.

By Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

Miles and Judy Oldmeadow are both keen gardeners. Everywhere you look there are plantings of some description.

And the varied, thriving bird life has to be seen (and heard) to be believed.

Jude is fastidious about making her guests comfortable when they visit their horses.

I found this posie, freshly picked from the house garden, in the bathroom when I came to stay.

Those who can be trusted in small things, can be trusted in great things.

Next to it was a gorgeous cake of hand-made soap from a local producer. 

Small touches like this leave you in no doubt that your hosts think and care a lot about what they’re doing.

From what I’ve seen so far, this unerring attention to detail pervades every task (horse-related and otherwise) right up to the big-ticket items.

Pets Blogs

Where The Bloody Hell Are We?!

November 22, 2009

Map courtesy of Whereis.com

We thought it’d be nice to give you a sense of where we are in the world.

Can you see all the national parks around us? No wonder our air and water are so clean! Let us know if you find this map hard to read and we’ll try for a better result.

We’ll put this map in a global context shortly. Just figuring out the best way to do it.

We’ll also provide directions from various locations, so you can visit us and our lovely Morgan horses in double-quick time.


Pets Blogs

Home free

November 14, 2009

Swift Nest

The two chicks are almost too big for their nest. Their parents will soon return with food.

Nothing says ‘home’ like a swallow’s nest!

These beautiful birds are forever racing around our farm, performing the most amazing aerial acrobatics.

We were delighted when one pair built a home near our round yard.

It has been a pleasure watching the chicks grow and we greatly look forward to their first flight.

🙂

A Bounce in our days

November 13, 2009
Bounce on Hay Roll

Our beloved farm doggie, Bounce.

Bounce is another vital member of our team.

As well as an endless source of company and cuddles, she’s a vigilant guard dog, an expert ratter and an effective snake repellant.

Far from being afraid, our horses can’t get enough of Bounce and are forever trying to smell and nuzzle her.

When we take the 4WD to the top paddock, Bounce often tears along beside us – a white streak glimpsed through the tall grass.

When Bounce wants to ride, she can leap six times her height to make it through an open door.

You’ll often see her on the back seat; front paws on the arm rest, face out the window, checking that the herd is safe.

After posing for this photo, Bounce leapt off the big hay roll as if it were no higher than a doormat.

She ain’t called Bounce for nothing!

🙂