Posts Tagged ‘round yard’

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! 🙂

Torn

March 12, 2011
You scratch my back …

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

They stood frozen at opposite ends of a lead rope: a dangerous mix of fear, inexperience and doubt.

Betsy, a six-year-old, barely handled Morgan mare and Jane, an early-40s career woman finally living her dream of owning a horse.

Both parties were stiff with indecision, connected by a thread and waiting for a leader.

I leaned against the roundyard fence with Anya (the other participant in my Horse Communication and Confidence class) and noticed how the three loose horses also stood quietly and watched.

I softly advised Jane to:

  • Step as far away as the rope allowed without pulling.
  • Stand  with her shoulder facing Betsy’s.
  • Focus on breathing from her core.

Betsy had arrived two weeks ago in an open cattle truck with two other mares and a foal. She was wild-eyed and jumpy, only touched by humans when in a cattle race.

Her three experiences were freeze branding as a youngster, a recent pregnancy test and herding into the truck for delivery.

These human interactions, though not cruel, gave her little choice or reason to trust. Over several sessions, however, Betsy had let me approach and halter her. But she was still wary.

Three horses and two humans watched expectantly. Jane steadied her breathing. Betsy sighed and licked her lips (a horse’s sign of relaxation) and turned towards her.

Jane walked in a circle with Betsy quietly following. Both looked elegant and confident; a team where learning flowed both ways.

Later that day, Jane also handled her recently purchased fifteen-month-old Morgan gelding with greater confidence and willingness to experiment.

Anya, an experienced horsewoman still reeling from the recent loss of her teenage daughter through cystic fibrosis, had started the session saying she didn’t want to handle the horses and only wanted to watch.

She said her head was so full she was afraid of how the horses would respond. But in the afterglow of Jane’s success I handed her Betsy’s lead rope.

After a moment’s hesitation, Anya took it and tentatively walked towards Betsy. Betsy’s ears flicked back, forward and sideways (signs of confusion in a horse).

Anya paused, took a deep breath and started rubbing Betsy’s shoulder.

Again the three young horses watched quietly as Anya worked her way around Betsy, quietly sobbing and seeming to sense where Betsy wanted to be rubbed.

After putting the horses away, we sat in the paddock and chatted about what we’d learnt.

Anya said she’d approached Betsy carefully because she was afraid her bubbling emotions would frighten her.

She said she was so relieved at Betsy’s non-judgemental acceptance that she didn’t want to lead her or boss her around; she just wanted to reward her for being there.

We unanimously decided to:

  1. Spend more time with those we trust.
  2. Let someone else carry the load occasionally.
  3. Have more massages!

Breeding and raising Morgan horses and spending hours in their company has changed my life.

My herd has almost 40 individuals, from foals at foot to grand matriarchs.

I started my Life Horses teaching program to use their empathetic nature and share the comfort and insights I receive from them daily.

Life Horses.

Life Forces

A philosophy of learning from the herd. 🙂

Bo’s Story

March 3, 2010

Bo, Nimrod and Jude: Three Happy Campers! Photo by Judy McEachern.

By Bo Lou Nolten, Casual Trainee, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses 

The day I met Judy I will never forget. It was one of the most thrilling things ever, because  I’d heard a lot about her, mostly: ‘She’s a crazy horse lady!’ which made me want to meet her ASAP. 

Anyway, the day I got there I totally understood what Simone meant; the way she worked with the horses could move you to tears.

Looking at how she understood the feel of the horses was just amazing. 

I sat there taking picture after picture. After all that, Judy drove us to the foals. I thought we were just looking, not touching, but I was mistaken.

These little foals came galloping, so we sat down and they came up to us wanting scratches and they eventually lay down with us. 

The next morning, I disappeared for almost four hours. Yep, I had fallen asleep in the foal paddock with three foals lying on me! I felt so at home.

Seeing all this was so different to the traditional English training I’d experienced and I loved it. 

Who would’ve thought a horse could pick you? I ended up buying Beamer (a foal) because of it.

From the moment I saw him, I fell in love with him. He has these four amazing white stockings, along with a chocolate chestnut coat and a very proportioned white blaze on his head.

His breeding is Morgan and Arab: a perfect combination! 

Later in the day, I headed to the round yard where Simone was watching Judy and Nimrod showing off. I quickly sat down in front of the crowd and continued snapping photos.

After Judy was done, she rode to the corner of the round yard to where I was sitting and said, ‘You jealous?’ 

I glanced at Judy and tried to stay very calm whilst I blurted out ‘Yes! VERY!!!’ So she sent me to go get my helmet. I was so nervous; I was going to ride a handsome stallion! Judy quickly announced that I was going to ride him. 

I had the worst butterflies ever! I started off with a walk, then a trot, then a canter. I almost started crying, because his movement is so smooth and it feels like you’re floating. 

Some jumps were set up and they got higher and higher each time we went over. Nimrod had a jump I wouldn’t forget.

That night I dreamt about him all night! 

My experience at Samaria Creek Morgan Farm was one I will always remember. I took away what I had learnt so far and used it in my riding disciplines. 

I want to learn everything there is to learn from Judy, because one day I’d like to achieve the same things as her and keep her way of working with horses going, and combine it with my disciplines as well. 

I’d like to end this by saying if you haven’t stayed at Judy’s farm, you are missing out big time. 

Horses help you a lot more than you think! 

Pets Blogs

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

The Miracle of Tanjil

November 30, 2009

Tanjil. You will believe a horse can cry.

By Christi Wales, Accountant and Mother.

For her twelfth birthday, I took my daughter Dana to Judy Oldmeadow’s Morgan Horse Farm.

I never thought it’d be an amazing, life-changing day for me.

We began by bringing all the mares and foals to the round yard to see how they interacted with toys and us. Dana sat in the yard and the foals loved her, perhaps because she’s young too.

Dana and Echo. Connecting with a foal? Priceless!

Judy and I noticed that one mare, Folie, was overprotective of her foal, Echo. The poor thing wanted to play, but Folie wouldn’t let him. So we joined Dana and I spent some time massaging Folie all over – which she loved. Before long, she let me near Echo and encouraged him to interact with me.

I held out my hand and let Echo toddle past me, just brushing his back to get him used to my touch. I then massaged some of the other mares. With three children myself, I figured they’d like their necks, backs and rumps massaged.

After a while, Folie was so relaxed that Echo was able to break away and play. It was a fantastic sight that I was proud to be part of. I kept massaging the mares, plus any foals that approached.

Then Tanjil decided that no other mare could have me.

I’d rub her and try to move on, but she’d come next to me, right near the other horse. Though she didn’t touch the horse, it knew she was boss and walked away.

At first I thought it was funny. Why did Tanjil want me to herself? She did it again and again with every other horse I tried to rub.

My hands were getting sore and Folie was giving her foal a chance to explore. So I decided to wait to see what happened. Well, little Echo headed in my direction with his mum’s full support – a fantastic breakthrough for both of them.

A bit later, Echo was hanging around so I gave him a rub and Tanjil just stood near me. I found it strange; had I done something wrong? Then Tanjil came and stood with her head right over me.

I started rubbing her neck thinking, ‘Why me? Was I was a strong leader? Did she feel I was a strong mother?’

Being a mother is hard. Sometimes I feel I don’t have the strength. But I find it and keep going. If I don’t, no-one else will do the things I must do to keep my family safe, together and running smoothly.

I don’t get a break from being leader of my herd. At times I hate being the one who has to pull rank, keep everyone in line and be tough to be kind in the long run.

At that moment my emotions overwhelmed me. With her fantastic intuition, Judy yelled out that the last time Tanjil had stood this way with her, it’d made her feel like everything was going to be OK.

I glanced at her and nodded; a huge lump in my throat. Then my tears flowed.

I looked at Tanjil and couldn’t believe what I saw. She was crying with me! Not just watery eyes; these were full tears, rolling down her face, one after another along with mine.

Was I delusional? No. This magnificent mare was helping me with my doubts as a mother. I thought then that maybe she also felt the pressure of being the leader who kept her herd in line.

Tanjil gave me what I never got from my mother. What I needed to know when I became a mother myself: I’m a good mum. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be OK. We can only do our best. We make mistakes, but that’s OK too.

I then thought that maybe Tanjil also needed reassurance that she was a great mum and leader. Because when I saw her with her foal and the herd, it was exactly how I felt.

I’ll never know if she felt my empathy. I’d not seen a miracle before, but that’s the only word I can use.

I have a horse named Major. When Judy took Dana and me to the rest of the herd, Major stayed with me while the other horses went to the car.

He was so affectionate. I was rubbing his body when he moved – uncomfortable with the slope. I thought he was going to walk away but he simply ambled to level ground and waited for me.

I hugged his neck and said I loved him, that he was a good boy and that I wished I could see him every day. As he wrapped his head around me, a tear rolled down his face.

It was very moving. I remembered that Major had lost his mum when very young. Maybe he perceived my feelings of abandonment.

Had I not experienced my miracle with Tanjil, I wouldn’t have thought a horse could cry.

Now I know they feel pain, sadness and love.

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.

🙂