Posts Tagged ‘riding’

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! 🙂

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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.

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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!

Now We Have a Shop!

November 20, 2009

A wide range of horsie stuff AND some fab books on empowering women.

An exciting day. We’ve just loaded Jude’s 20 favourite books into our very own shop.

Now you can see the key reads that helped shape Judy into the fine, strong (horse)woman she is today.

These titles have been read, used and highly recommended by her.

Just click the pic or this link to check out the range. And watch out for the CDs, DVDs and other beaut stuff that we’ll add to our shop down the track.


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