Sunday, December 30, 2012


For anyone who doesn't believe in global warming, its probably because they spend there life indoors, never dealing with the weather. I'm dealing with the weather alright, typing from the kitchen table looking out the window, the rain is pouring down, and the noise at it pelts the veranda roof is deafening. If it wasn't for the humidity, I could be fooled into thinking this was winter weather, but here were in the southern hemisphere in what should be summer time.

On christmas eve, it rained so much we canceled all our dinner plans, and spent the evening flooded in, the road out impassable. Now New Years looks like it may go the same way. I had all my camping supplies and my kayaks packed and ready to go for a few days exploring out in the islands. But in the early hours of the moringing as I a woke to that sound of heavy rain on the roof, that sound when you know it's not just a quick down pour, but will be steadily falling for many hours to come. I turned my alarm off and went back to bed, thinking that I would at least have a rare sleep in, since camping plans were obviously out.

But there is a reason sleep ins around here are rare. At first light I felt tiny pins pricking at my feet, ignoring them for a few minutes, I finally pulled my feet back under the blankets for protection. Something ran across the blankets and next there was swatting and clawing at my hands and arm, irritating little scratches than wouldn't relent. I pulled my arms back under the blankets, and fell back to sleep listening to the rain.

A minute or two later though, and I was wide awake as tiny teeth embedded themselves into the side of my chin, the pain jolting me awake. Sleep was out the door, and I tried in vain to swipe at the little ball of fur,
that upon seeing I was awake, was trying to use my face as a trampoline, leaping and pouncing all over the show.

I have a new kitten, today is the one week anniversary of Paul, the biting, scratching, face pouncing pest joining the family.

I'm not really a cat person, I love all animals, but given the choice between cat or dog, and I would choose dog. My friends are always surprised to find out I actually already have a cat, although I justify this by saying she's more dog like in behavior than feline. So to now have two cats, no one is more surprised than me.

Paul, a little white and grey spotted tabby kittem,came into my life in the most unexpected way.

I'd had a night out on the town with the girls, we were all done up, high heels dresses, make up, and I had at least washed my hair that day. It was past midnight when we hopped in a taxi and asked to be taken back to where we were staying. A friend remembering, this taxi driver used to drive her mates home along the back roads trying to hit possums on the the way, asked if we could do the same. So four girls crammed into the back seat hit the gravel roads.

We didn't hit any possums, but coming around a corner, stuck in the beams of the headlight in the middle of the road, we're two tiny kittens. The taxi came to a stop, and my friend shoved me out the door " catch them Chloe" and came scrambling after me, clambering over our other mates in the process.

I didn't need to be told twice, still in my high heels I ran up a bank after the kittens, and just as they headed for the underbrush, managed to grab the one with white on it which was easier to see in the dark.

I held onto the yowling ball of fur in a death grip, as finding itself caught, it fought like a banshee scratching and hissing. My friends all of who were now out of the taxi searched for the other kitten but it was gone.

Paul, named after the taxi driver, came home with us. He was mot an appealing character at the time. Obviously a wild cat, he sunk his teeth deep in to my fingers and didn't let go, every chance he got. He was sticky and dirty and smelled like a mix of cat urine and turkey shit. Skinny and covered in a large selection of parasites, he was not the most appealing chap I'd ever come across.

But I love a challenge. How hard could one little kitten be after dealing with multiple wild horses, surely I could tame it.

A week later typing this, I think we're well in our way to having a domesticated little cat. Paul has been, de-loused,de-ticked, wormed, washed and fattened up. He doesn't smell any more, his coat is glossy and silk to touch. More importantly he likes people, food and picking ticks off were two of the things that convinced him we might be okay.

He's sitting here , now that he's exhausted himself playing wake up games early this morning, purring like a motorboat in my lap, totally blissd out and content with life..

Even for someone who's not a huge feline fan Paul's pretty cool, and temporarily the Wild Horse Project, may become the Wild Cat Project instead...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The journey

Life is about the journey, negotiating the bumps in the road, the sharp corners that throw you off guard, climbing the hills and enjoying the ride down the other side. Working with horses is kind of similar, you have to enjoy the good times, work through the bad times, and pay the vet bills that our equines give us at the most un-expected times. While it's important to have goals and destinations to work towards you have to enjoy the bits along the way as well.

Summer is definitely the time to get out and enjoy the best of what living in New Zealand means. The workload around this time of years is easing up slightly, as far as general farm work, and longer daylight hours gives the opportunity to make the most of what can be found in our own backyards.Warm weather means getting out of the arena, and going to the beach, forestry rides or making the most of friends who have large farms to ride across.

I took two Kaimanawas to the beach recently, for Miro this was his first time having a ride off the property. He exhibited the cool, calm and intelligent nature that I love in New Zealands wild horses. No hesitation he was right out there splashing in the waves, and Fern from the 2010 muster was right beside him, calm and stoic as usual. Horses, nice weather, beach, it is bliss, one of those moments in the journey of life that you live for.

Because no matter what you do how careful you are there will be bumps in the road. I got all the stallions from the 2012 muster, plus a two year old born from the 2010 muster gelded/ castrated. They were great, but had a few complications from gelding, that set them back a few weeks, a little bump in the road. However it wasn't long before they were back to being happy, healthy, playful and full of life again. Anyone who has horses know, these things happen and there is no point worrying to much about it.

Gelding is something that people have varying opinions about. Some feel all mustered horses should be gelded as breeding in captivity take homes from those still on the ranges. While others argue that horses should be kept entire to ensure the breed survive, and preserve unique genetics, if something were to happen to wild populations. As well as the fact, that some people will never adopt from muster anyway. When discussing this topic with people there should always be a " proceed with caution" sign as opinions can get pretty heated, me I listen to both sides and stick to the middle of the road in my approach.

Other things in life set your course off in a slightly different direction. I'm a wee bit disappointed in myself. It's been six months and I haven't got my Kaiamanawas to a single show, they are more than ready, and that was the goal. I would have liked to have shown it was possible to go from wild horse to show horse in under six months, and it definitely is. But I've been busy, the horses that make me money are the ones that get first priority on going to competitions, and due to the rising cost of competing this year I've gone to far fewer shows, the wild horses have had to miss out. However this isn't such a bad thing, as it means I've got to enjoy doing other things, like going to beach, which I wouldn't have had time for if I was busy competing.

Along the the journey, one of the better things is crossing path with old friends. So It was great to see one of the horses that I handled from the 2012 muster, now thriving in his new home. Shy Boy was every inch the little wild stallion when he arrived off the truck, wild eyes hidden behind a huge black mess of mane . The only one of the five stallions, who looked like he might try to jump the 6ft stockyard fence and escape if you ever scared him to much. But once haltered, and realizing we weren't there to hurt home, he became the sweetest, most willing horse imaginable, and a real favorite of mine. Him and his owner however have always had a very special bond and its great to see such a partnership and what a wonderful horse he's turned into. He still looks every inch the wild horse, but his behavior is much more confident and secure in himself, and he's has the most regal prescience about him that draws everyone in. He's retained all that great about being born wild, and benefited from domestication to, as there is nothing at all wild about his attitude these days.

So while I'm a bit disappointed about not getting to show off my wild horses to the public, I'm still enjoying every bit of the journey with them, the downs just making the good parts that much better and hopefully with the new year, will come new opportunities for adventures, and getting them out and about. I think it's always important to remember the reason at the end of the day for having horses is our own enjoyment, that's what makes them so special, it is the pleasure and time we have with them. So rather than stressing about all there is yet to achieve, I'm going to go put my bikini on, load my horses up and head to the beach, life is all about the journey and this time of year is a time to enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I don't know if I ever actually  mentioned this on the blog, but I'm a published writer...or columnist anyway.

I have always written the odd article, for the newspaper or the Kaimanawa heritage Horses magazine. But for the last six months I have had my very own collum in a glossy, nationally distributed magazine. I can write to my hearts content about my wild horses, and people somewhere, not just my mother, actually pay to buy this magazine and read my work. Well to be fair not just my work, they have heaps of great articles, but still my writing is in there.

The magazine thats published my work is New Zealand Lifestyle Farmer, and being a farming girl, I used to read this each month like a bible, even before I wrote for them.

Secretly I'm more pleased about the fact that I have my writing published, than I let on. Because now when people ask me what I do, and then smile politely when I tell them I work with horses, like they think "oh how cute a girl that still hasn't grown out of the playing with ponies stage of life", I can now add on the I'm a columnist in a magazine, and that seem to at least convince most poeple  I'm somewhat more grown up and professional.

So thankyou very much to Lifestyle Farmer Magazine for giving me the chance to have my work published

Also doubly exciting today, the KHH magazine came out, this is a publication dedicated to just the Kaimanawa horses. It's always great to read and see all the pictures of other people horses, and this month is filled with cute foal pictures of the babies ffrom this years muster, as well as having an article in it that I wrote about my trip to Fiji.

So there you go I can now say I'm a horse rider and a writer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Half marathon

Compression socks, the kind you use on long haul flights, are my best freind this morning. They at least ease the pain to one part of my body. My fingers are okay, so I can still type, but the rest of me is suffering, a lot.

Yesterday I ran 21kms, in under two hours. This is the longest I've  ever run, my training, which was very limited, consisted of a few weeks of short runs, the longest being about 5km. I was going to be happy if I ran 10km, that was the goal. 10km plus finish the race....

But I have a small personality flaw that sometimes gets me into trouble, I'm quite competitive. I'm not even neccassarily competitive towards other people, but push myself.

So when I made it 7km I thought "well I'm a third of the way there, don't stop now" by 10km I decided I was going to run the whole thing, and I did. Typing it is a whole lots easier than runing was, but somehow I pushed through and ran 21km.

 I felt pretty good yesterday, I was still walking, managed to go to the celebratory party in the evening and Genrally had a great time.

Then I woke up this morning. I wasnt sure if I ran or had been dragged behind a bus for 21km such was the pain. Every little movement hurt, and standing up I felt I had no control over my legs they were so jelly like.

But eventually one foot after the other I'm up and moving around. I've been to feed the horses, done my chores and the more I move, the more I feel I might survive and don't need to be curled in a fetal position on the couch.

Better yet, thanks to all the sponsors I think I even  raised a it of money for my charity Kiwi Care Team. Which makes the pain all the more worth it really. As well as all the people who put on a green singlet and ran in support of Kiwi Care Team.

Also despite all the pain I'm am impressed with myself, which doesn't happen often, 21km in under two hours, I didn't know I even had it in me. Good little feeling of acheivment to ease the pain.

Hopefully by tomorrow il be back riding again, as all the horses need to be worked.

Thanks again to all sponsors here's the proof I ran 21km...

Lastly thanks to my freind Eliza who ran the marathon with me, good teamwork I think keep each other going the whole way.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mongol madness

I have something to share with everyone, a bit of news I've been keeping quiet, but now the cats out of the bag, so to speak.

In August next year I will be going to Mongolia. Not just a little touristy holiday, that's not my style. No, I'm racing 1000km on horseback, riding semi wild traditional mongolian mounts, with no set route, or road to follow. There will be blood, sweat and tears, but 'No Pain, No Gain' is fast starting to become my motto. This isn't just a race but is labelled by some as "the world's toughest horse race"', the infamous Mongol Derby. Tough for the riders, not the horses which you swap every 40km.

Why? For a good cause of course,  to be part of it you have to be, as well as crazy, willing to raise money for charity.

This suits me just fine. When i went to Egypt in march of this year, it changed my life, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I have always been passionate about animal welfare, and well animals in general. It's how I ended up training wild horses , because I couldn't see them to go to slaughter? But Egypt made me realize I wanted to do more than that.

The Mongol Derby, is also something I've had on my wish list for years. The logical next step after working with wild horses, is riding semi wild horses across a country that has the most ancient ties to the early domestication of equines, right? Plus riding that distance, with no roads, literally across the wilderness is something that appeals to the very core of who I am, something I'm drawn to like a magnet.

So I entered the race, made it through the interviews and got selected as one of the first thirty-five participants offered a spot. I can't even express how excited I was, when I got accepted, barely sleeping for days.

There are two charities I'm raising money for, one is Kiwi Care Team this is who I have been to Egypt and more recently Fiji with, as a volunteer. I'm am fiercely passionate about the work KCT is involved with. I have seen things so horrible traveling with them it breaks your heart, but have also seen how a little bit of help in the right direction can change things for the better.

 As a non-profit organisation KCT works to provide education and training for local people in developing countries who rely on working animals for their livelyhoold, to help ease the suffering of the animals, and demonstrate better animal welfare techniques that in then make the animals more profitable for the people. Emergency medical aid is also provided, and the team work with local vets
and charities to provide ongoing solution after we leave.

Cool Earth is the charity nominated by race organizers that I'm also raising money for. They are helping saving the world rainforests, to inhibit the rise of CO2 level and prevent climate change.
Again another cause I beleive in and is for the good of all of us, living on this planet

So I have set myself a goal $10,000 by August next year when the race begins, all of which will be split between  Cool Earth and Kiwi Care Team. This is going to be a huge challenge for me,  a race to train for, a buisness to run, wild horses to be tamed, and now a fundraising campaign to get underway. But we only live once and we might as well be busy.

So I set myself up a fundraising page and now I want you to help me help save the world in 2013. Donate, share, give me ideas, encouragement or inspiration, whatever it is I need your help! A little goes a long way

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shy boy

Shy Boy was beautiful, he looked every inch the wild stallion stepping off the stock truck. Long thick mane, forelock covering his eyes, a way of holding himself that set him apart, and a deep rich mahogany coat of hair.

He was a challenge though, wild as wild, and terrified. He would see a human and try to climb the 6ft fences to get out of there, you didnt even have to be near him or even looking and he was trying to flee in terror. He attacked all the other horses too, some kind I'd insecure defense mechanism.

Yet the day we pay t the halter on, or the second we put the halter on, he changed. He melted, he literally breathed a sigh if relief and stopped trying to flee. If a horse could talk he said 'okay I know your not trying to hurt me now, please please can you take care of me, I'm so very very lost'

He never once pulled on the rope or tried to run after that, and within an hour of being haltered he was home. He just wanted to be shown the way . Like someone who newly found religion to lead them from darkness, he just wanted something to follow so he ddnt have to be scared anymore.

So shy, yet so desperate to please. We just named him the way we described. him 'shy boy'.

Well Shy Boy went off to his new home and now five months later I went to see him. He looks amazing. Fat glossy, yet still with his look of the wild. His owner has done a fantastic job, and is a good horsewoman, the special little horse couldn't have gone to anyone else

It is so exciting to see, I always love the transformations.

Currently Miro, Sonny and Oscar will be staying with there muster mate, for a few weeks of extra grass, and gelding. Was nice to see the reunion and plenty of greeting and games were had, in the way only the kaimanawa's know how.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Just got home from another weekend competing. Two days showjumping was a change from what I normally do which is eventing , my little wild mare Fern, I just can't say enough good things about her. Horses are so versatile given the chance, and being from the wild is not proving to be any disadvantage for this fantastic little mare.

She takes everything in her stride,whether jumping logs into water,or prancing over fancy decorated show jumps, galloping through the forest, or dressage schooling. She just quietly gets on and does the job, no fuss, no stress, no complications.

This little horses is a special one, I couldn't be more proud of her, to this day shes one of the easiest horses I've ever dealt with, and tries her heart out for you every time. She's is small, the smallest horse in her class this weekend, not to mention the only one who grew up wild, and probably the only one to be a mother many times over, yet she still came home with ribbons to show for herself. Not that it's all about winning but it's nice to have something to show for such a awesome horse.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The wild stallions

It's definelty spring, you can tell by the way the horses start behaving. They suddenly have energy to be annoying. Boys start noticing girls, and the girls suddenly start flirting across the fence right back at them. There is galloping and bucking, play fighting, and everything is jovial again. It's not just the horses either, I can suddenly start to breathe sigh of releif, I've survived another winter. I hate winter, the mud and rain and constant chill.

But september and October bring there own challenges, mainly becase our valley turns into a wind tunnel, the barn roof moans and groans constantly as the gusts try to peel the sheets of tin off their frame work. Riding outside every day, your skin starts to get the rough, red and raw feeling, windburn, and about this time every year you start thinking the rain and cold wasn't really so bad, as you become exhausted from fighting the gust all day.

The horses are all starting to shine too, fatter, full of energy and their hairy coats start to disappear. All the young horses suddenly rocket up in height and spring spurs one massive growth spurt. Despite the wind the wild horses are shaping into good looking horses.
Their changing to in more than appearance, Miro especially is starting to get a deeper more manly voice on him, and gives a deep low whinny to every girls who looks his way.
 The pecking order in the herds is getting re-established, with younger boys just testing the boundaries and who really is boss. This needs to be done and the older stallions/geldings like bear and Matai, quickly push the young upstart back in their place and keep the herd functioning properly.

Although we don't have wild babies due this year, our other broodmares are not to far away, which is always exciting. Plus there's horse shows every weeekend, and I'm have taken overcomiment to a whole new level, with eight horses in work, a farm to run, wild horses to train, and just me to do it all. Spring is always busy, and the more I work hopefully the more bills I can off, plus sleep is for when your dead anyway, who needs it when your young.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I don't know what's happened recently, but every time I sit down to type out a post, I get interrupted. Another job comes up, exhaustion sets in, I run out of time, whatever it is, I've started a hundred different posts, on a variety of topics, but haven't finished any.

It's no secret I'm always busy, but the last six months have been some of the busiest of my life. I check my calendar and another week seems to have gone past,the end of the year is marching ever closer. Running riding camps, training horses, keeping the farm from falling to pieces, doing charity work,finishing my diploma by correspondence , I barely have time to think let alone write. Then I did something even stupider than normal, I entered a half marathon. So now I have added running to my list of things I must to do each day. I have one month before the race, plenty of time to get fit... Good joke, I haven't run in years, like since high school, and currently running two kilometers let alone the required 21k is a challenge.. Apparently horse riding fit, does not equal running fit, unfortunately.

This fit of madness was brought about, because we were throwing around ideas for more fundraising for Kiwi Care Team ( animal charity that Ive worked with in Egypt and Fiji this year), someone said lets do a marathon, and I said "yes". It's all for a good cause right ? it'll will be worth the extra effort, and the high possibility my legs won't ever function normally again after completing the event.

But now I need your help. To make it worth torturing my body, and it's not just me a whole group of us are running it to help raise awareness, I need people to sponsor me, any amount of will do and it all goes to Kiwi Care Team. To keep everyone updated I'll put photos up, as proof that I actually ran it, also so everyone can have a good chuckle at my pain, hopefully keep you all entertained.

So if you are interested in sponsoring (lets face it i need all the encouragement i can get right now) email me at

Check out

Or if your interested in running it yourself , as part of KCT fundraising and meeting the team, we'll give you a t-shirt for your efforts, all you have to do us enter and get some sponsors yourself. Give me an email and I'll pass on details!

Oh and all the wild horses are doing great, I'll try and update everyone soon, but right now I gota run....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday morning spring cuteness

I thought I'd share some Sunday morning cuteness with you that's totally non horse related.

It's not just horses we have on the farm, we have an assortment of chickens, ducks, dogs and geese as well. Its spring,and babies are on the mind of all the animals.

Mother goose has been sitting in her eggs for the last three weeks, high up on the hill and tucked away under a thorn bush. Geese for those who don't know them, are some of the most loyal and family orientated animals I've ever come across. Every day her menfolk, the ganders, make the trek up the hill to check on her and sit alongside, sharing the vigil and waiting for the babies to arrive so they can take on there protective duties. You can always tell when goslings hatch because the whole flock goes up to welcome them into the world.

This year something went wrong, mother goose didn't leave the nest. The gosling hatched and were walking around, but mum continued to sit on egg shells. Two days went past, the geese all came to welcome the babies, but mum still wouldn't budge.

Then something incredible happened,two males paired up together, and took the goslings. For a week now they have been raising them just as a normal pair would, except instead of mother and father we have dad and daddy gander.

It's been a week, and the gay gander dads,are doing terrific, they fuss and fluff over their babies constantly. Finding the newest shoots of grass to graze on, and safest puddles for the babies to paddle in.They take turns chasing off threats and letting the gosling sit underneath them, just as the babies would a goose mother.

If any teenager was annoyed about overprotective parents, they have never met these two geese.No other animal including other geese, can get within 20ft of the babies,( im not allowed within 50ft as they obviously remember me stealing there children last year and selling them) without a dad flying at you in a fury of beaks, honking and feathers. Over the years I have never seen such devoted and caring parents as these to. It's inspiring, they love these three little babies, and would without a doubt do anything to protect them. It truly is inspiring to see these boys work together to, not just mother goose's mate, but two boys working as a team, equally devoted to bringing up the kids.

Gay rights are always on the news and always controversial, but isn't it inspiring to see something so completely unique and innocent like this happening without any human interference at all. Who's to say it isn't natural, if it isn't hurting anyone, why worry,is my philosophy.

Anyway just thought I'd share this cuteness with everyone, something a wee bit special, just goes to show how universal love is...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm back from Fiji, I have been for a few days. There's nothing like traveling, to make you realize that paradise, is in your own backyard. Before it was miserable wet winter weather, now spring is starting to show and everything feels better than when I left.

The whole valley is starting to grow, the paddocks have turned a dark shade of green, and the grass is starting to claim back the areas, the rain turned to mud. All along the drive daffodils are emerging, all shades of yellow,peach and cream, there sunny faces a cheerful reminder of summer and sun, not that far away. The fruit trees,after spending the winter months as branchy skeletons, are now awash in fluffy white and pink blossoms, peaches, plums and pears celebrating with me, the fact we've survived, making it through another winter.

But nothing says spring more than sittings on the deck, cup of tea in hand , watching a paddock full of young colts gallivanting and cavorting across the paddock.

In winter horses eat and shelter from the rain, in spring they play. All five Kaimanawa boys plus my warmblood colt, live together, i call it the boy band. . The young ones all play constantly. Galloping full speed across the the hillside, until they reach the fence , then wheel around without slowing, and gallop back the way they came. Sometimes it's just a fit of exuberance kicking there heels in the air, bucking leaping, twisting and turning, a series if aerial acrobatics just because it feels good. They all chase each other, play fight, rearing, nipping and pawing, without any real blows or fight being had. If they get to disruptive,
Bear, the mature and sensible old solidier comes, and breaks its up. By the time ive ridden my first horse, they are played out, all stretched, flat asleep on the ground enjoying the moringin sun. it looks like total bliss.

Even nicer about coming home is feeling wanted, these crazy,playful wild boys, when I walked into the paddock with them, I was all most crushed, by horses trying to get in first for there back to be itched, a scratch or a pat on the neck. Obviously a two week holiday didn't no dampen the newest wild horses enthusiasm for attention. Miro and Oscar were at the front of the pack sticking there heads in the way constantly, as I tried to greet everyone. Even solemn bear stood quietly to the side, watching and waiting to be seen, for him this would be the equivalent of crying with joy.

None of the wild horses have worn halters in the paddocks, or been difficult to catch,since the first month they we're here. But it's always interesting to see how they are after a little break in training. The overwhelming greeting in the paddock, was more than I expected, my wild horses were happy to see me.

Better yet, they have been getting along with other people, endearing themselves to my sweet mother, who was in charge of caring for them while I was away, throwing hay over the fence every night. She said that they were all gentlemen, Miro and Oscar following her everywhere, and Bear being caught easily, and led around when she changed paddocks. Mum not even realizing that he's usually pretty wary of strangers.

Now it's time to get back to working them, Miro has already been ridden again, and was his usual stress free, laid back self, I have plans to start doing with more with Bear under saddle, when I have the time, and really life just goes on as usual again. Fiji was amazing but it's good to be back, and with my wild horses, who make me happy, and always draw me home again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Snapped these pictures the other day at Yanquara station. 11,000 acres and eighty plus horses, most running feral. Better yet no horses were hung while we there... Most amazing place

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Life throws you all kinds of curveballs.

One of the things I never thought I'd be doing was running to stop someone, hanging a horse from a tree. Sometimes you just never know what the day has in store for you.

It started with a trip bumping, and grinding away in the back seat of a cheap japanese rental, along a series of potholes connected with gravel, and winding up a mountain side, which is what the Fijians called a road. It was taking us into a remote part of the country called the Nassouri Highlands, to treat some village horses. an hour long journey, and only halfway there, were we told that the last foreigners to come this way had rolled there van down the mountainside, killing everyone. We felt lucky to only have a flat tire, although I had doubts the two spare tires we were carrying would be enough to get us home again.

But this is why I do these trips, the adventure and being able to help in some of the most remote locations, are what I live for.

Eventually our cars arrived at the end of the earth, a little village a top a mountain, surrounded by jungle and rocky cliff faces. A school on one side of the road and a handful of colorful, ramshackle houses, and a little church on the other.

Usually when we arrive at these villages we were whisked away to have a sit down and the obligatory cup of Kava with the chief, something we were dreading, as a shared bowl of mud tasting water, that leaves your mouth numb, is never a pleasant way to start a days hard work.

But today was different, i was unsure if we were just not as welcome, if they understood out kava reluctance, or had more pressing matters to attend. Our local guide was fast talking, pointing and having a conversation that involved lots of waving hand gestures, and head shaking before he beckoned us to "come, come " and set off on foot up the road with a few locals in tow.

What we found was what we refer call "dead horse walking", a no hope case, that has limited time left in terra firma no matter what we did. This one was a young foal, that had fallen off a cliff, injuries and scrapes everywhere, and it's body wasting away from the infection, leaving it a skeleton with oversized head, oozzing sores and a matted coat, yet somehow still alive. It's mother stood watching from the school sports field and would meander between grazing and checking on its baby, who was to weak to move from where it was standing.

What do you do, here we were trying to help the animals, and the first horse we see we can't do a thing for, instead we find ourselves explaining that this horse needed to be killed, and quickly to ease its suffering. Never a good way to start the day, or try and gain trust amongst the people your there to help.

The adventures of the day could fill about five blog posts, but il give you the quick, shortcutted version as best I can. We talked to the chief and the horses owner and convinced them to give us permission to have the horses euthanized.Half the team went back down the mountain this time in the rain and mist, and carrying the punctured tire, to get the drugs we needed. The rest of us stayed behind to treat  the horses in the village, as well as teach the locals some basic hoof care skills. We kept an eye on the little foal and through the day checked on her, what we saw only made us more eager to end her suffering.

By the time we finished it was the end of the day, the car with drugs still wasn't back and we were beginning to wonder if they to had fallen off a mountain side. We were sitting on a porch exhausted all wondering what to do next, and if it was time to start worrying.

The next thing we know there was the sounds of a horse in distress, a weak gasping horse. We leap up and go running, our farrier leading the way, to find one of the locals starting to hang the sick foal from a tree, winching her off the ground by a rope around her neck. In case somebody doesn't understand what I'm saying, they were going to euthanize this horse, island style, like we used to do criminals.

We were there in the nick of time, got the foal back on the ground and stopped the noose from choking her to death. Now dead is dead, whether by needle or noose, but watching a horse strung from a tree choking to death, is not something we wanted to see, or could sit by and watch happen.

Fate is a tricky thing though, as all of this was happening, the car drove up with our team mates and drugs, and we were able to put the foal out of her misery humanly and quickly. Timing could not have been better or more urgent, as the little horse was swaying on her feet by this stage.

So we saved a horse from hanging, and did what we could to ease her suffering. Not a situation i thought I'd ever find myself in, but it's amazing what you learn to cope with, when you have to. I don't really blame the villagers either, no one has guns, there is not a single vet in the whole country that deals with horses, ways to kill an animal humanely are pretty limited, they were just using one of the only things left to them, it was either that or slit its throat which was equally undesirable.

So there you go, horse hanging a curve ball I never expected to have to catch or witness.

Here the pic of me, and the foal, you can still see the noose around its neck going up over the tree. Sorry if this upsets anyone, but such is life.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Horses are horses no matter what corner of the world your in, they speak the same language.This is something I'm eternally thankful for, because no matter where my travels take me I can train a horse the same as I do at home. They learn the same way, whether the owner is speaking English, Arabic or Fijian.

I have just spent two days working with unhandled horses, mustered off an 11,000 acre sheep and beef farm, in northwestern Fiji, Yanquara Station, may be my new place of paradise. The scenery is amazing and so far removed from what tourists see, there are horses everywhere,  tied on roadsides, wandering through the villages and loose all over the station. My job is to teach the ranch hands, better horse handIng techniques. This is where paradise ends, because the treatment of the horses is shocking, well it would be shocking if I hadn't seen it all before in Egypt, now I'm just used to it and get on with work.

It all comes from ignorance with a good amount of bravado mixed in.  It's men who work with the animals, and they have never been taught anything about horses, it's never been part of their culture,  the attitude is that horses needs to muscled around and dominated, there is no concept that these are prey animals, and  what they are really doing is creating terrified animals. It really is ignorance and not cruelty however, as there is zero access to outside knowledge.

Hopefully me, a little female, using the exact same techniques I use with the wild horses, can show that there are better ways of doing things when ti comes to training. 

With horses it really is the same everywhere though, you take a little bit of time, keep your body language non threatening and horses learn  fast. Get them running in terror and they aren't learning a thing.Once we had convinced the men that chasing the horses around a huge pen trying to rope them, was counter productive, progress was good, within  half an hour, we had a previously un touched  horses leading and picking up there feet. Just as easily as we would any horse at home.

I will just say it again, that the people we are teaching are not cruel, the problems come from lack of knowledge, they were actually very receptive to learning. With a bit of coaching they were all trying our techniques  and most understood the concept we were trying to be explain. 

Working in these places does mean you have to be fairly adaptable though, using what you have access to. Halters for horses is one thing they do not have, and working with harsh 30ft synthetic ropes does not make my job easier but we managed, although it wasn't pretty.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yanquara station

This is the beautiful Yanquara station on Fiji's northwestern coast. We are spending two days teaching basic horse handling, as well giving medical aid.

Stunning location, and an amazing experience this is really like the old wild west, with cattle, cowboys and horses it's like traveling back into an old western movie. No time to write but thought id share photos.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'm in Fiji, typing this looking out from my perch on the end of the bed, there a beach out front, and to one side horses tethered underneath palm and mango trees. Its not even Eight in the morning and its warm enough to be swiming. Just in case I thought I was on holiday though,I'm actually wearing big steel cap boots, pants and my pockets are stuffed with glamourous things like, wound spray, cotton wool, and bit of broken horse tooth. Which is not as odd as it sounds when you know what I've been up to.

The wound spray and cotton wool is easy, in the last four days I think the six of us working have treated close to a hundred horses. While three see to the horses hooves, i wash and treat wounds. While I was in Egypt we saw huge variety of injures, here we see the same things on every horse, saddle sores and rope burn, as well as the usual dehydration and lack of food. My job is to wash and spray wounds hence cotton for scrubbing away blood pus and scabby skin, and the spray for treating afterwords.

We also have a horse dentist and I love working with him as you always learn something. Horses here live on a very exotic diet, a lot eating sugarcane, mango and other topical fruit, and have cavities, just like the people. This is something we didn't see at all in Egypt (although the horses weren't fed at all in Egypt anyway). I find it fascinating to see how geographical differences, create a whole different set of problems. But the reason I have teeth in my pocket however is because he pulls them out and hands the offending tooth to me, and with no where better to put them I stick them in my pocket and forget about them, until later when I sit down and they stick me in the butt.

On a serious note though, I love the work, but we really do see some awful things. Sadly it not such a simple case of people not caring, but a mixture of ignorance, poverty, lack of equipment and the fact that people rely on these horses for survival. This is a hard thing for us in the western world to comprehend and an even harder problem to fix, but small steps can eventually lead to big changes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Argh, where have the weeks gone? Olympics have been and gone, the wild horses have been here three months almost. It's nearly spring, and in a week I'm off to Fiji. Everything is happening to fast, order the last few weeks I havnt had a a spare second in my day, compared to two years ago when I started this blog I just haven't had a chance to put up regular posts and updates on the horses. This is the worst winter I can remeber, which means triple the work load on the farm, and I have twice as many horses to work and care for.At the end of the day, I barely have the energy to peel off my muddy wet layers of s, and climb into the shower, before collapsing in bed. Life is a wee bit exhausting, not taking into account the descision to add traveling to horse shows on wet weekends defintly takes its toll as well. I think it's time for soe catch up.

First of all Olympics. I think I didn't go to bed before midnight the entire two weeks of the London Games. There was the horse riding (i think all my equestrain freinds suffered form staying awake until 5am to watch the cross country live), and then the sailing to watch,as I knew a couple of the sailors competing, and when it came down to it I love watching sport and people trying their best, and the drama of the whole thing. I think that's more what the Olympics is, people who haven't given up, have overcome obstacles, have worked and strived to get to the top, and make it to the world stage, the tears, heartbreak, bloodshed,failure success and enthusiasm, as well as national pride on the line makes it by far the greatest show on earth.

So before I forget, I would like to say a huge congratulation to Blair Tuke, and Peter Burling who got a silver medal in the sailing. A huge achievement as they are both young, around my age, absolutely inspiring to see how quietly they have worked away over the years, and what an amazing result! There was a huge parade through town today for them, and it is the best thging about a small town, to see everyone turn out to support our boys!

I find it inspiring and it defintly helps me  stay on track, with my competitive riding to see how far I can push myself, when I see the achievements of these two. I'm defintly someone who occasionally gets distracted and tends to go off on tangents, like training  horses, or going to fiji and egypt, instead of focusing purely on my show horses.  so it's a good reminder what being single minded and determined can achieve.

Secondly I have been fundraiing like mad for the upcoming trip to Fiji next week, as a charity we rely on donations, raffles and other events we organise to raise the money to take things like medical supplies, tools and educational equipment we need when we go to places like Egypt and Fiji. We have to pay out of our own pocket for plane tickets and the likes, and we work hard to make it all happen. But it's amazing the support we get from individuals, local buisness and newspapers, that without there support, none of this would be possible.

So thankyou to the Bay Chronicle for runing an article As well as The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses, for putting an article in their magazine too. Really helps raise awareness for the cause. To all those who have donated so far, and helped with fundraising,a huge thank you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I don't know what I was thinking when I went to a horse show on the weekend. I never compete from July- September, yet here I was driving four hours to compete in August. A friend convinced me to go along as it would be good preparation for the spring season. I regretted the decision as soon as I'd sent my entries in.

But nevertheless I loaded up my two wild ponies and headed off on Saturday morning, being more and more filled with regret as the rain poured down

All I can say is that I hope my dedication to the sport somehow pays off in the future. Because I was wet cold and miserable all weekend. However the horses went great.

Fern was her usual amazing self. Calm cool and collected, jumping like the little star that she is. For Matai it was his first ever show, and he's a much more in-experienced jumper. Overall he was pretty good, jumping everything. But his jockey (me) did have one little accident, me and Matai parted ways half way around the course .

He jumped a fence on course and got a fright on landing, leaping sideways, and suddenly there was no horse underneath me anymore. But luckily, I landed on my feet,managed to hold onto the reins,so just hoped back on and kept riding.

This was my first ever cross country fall, and naturally happened when everybody was watching,always a bonus. However at least I provided some entertainment for spectators.

So apart from the rain, and falling off it wasn't to bad a weekend, and I do love taking my wild ponies put and about.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Riding adventures

The mud on the farm is unbelievable. I have to keep finding news ways to exercise the horses, as well as keep them clean.

Miro however is coming along in leaps and bounds, being ridden out over the farm. He's also the model of perfect stallion behavior and happily gets led off other horses including mares.

So heres a few quick pics of the wild horses in one of the only spots of sunshine in weeks, going for a bath on the creek. Fern the grey mare, Matai the gelding from the 2010 muster, and Miro the stallion 9 weeks out of the wild.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why I do what I do...

God, Im beyond tired. I feel like I need toothpicks to prop my eyes open. Between having to stay up until 4am every night to watch the eventing live on tv form the Olympics. Training wild horses by day, and organizing fundraising for my upcoming trip to Fiji, I feel I'm burning the candle to the core,at both ends.

Luckily I have such amazing wild horses, who want to work, and that put up with a trainer who was defintly not as alert as usal today.

For me this Fiji trip is really important,I loved my time spent in Egypt. Working with the animals and also the people. I know Fiji will probably be the same, at times heartbreaking at other inspiring. But I think it's important that when you can you do your bit to help other, whether it be animals or people. This is what got me into training wild horses, to be able to show the potential of these animals that otherwise had no future, to save a few lives. The work I do with Kiwi Care Team, I do for the same reasons, hopefully to help improve a few lives, and offer relief to those suffering. I know I won't change the world. But animal welfare is defintly an issue that's close to my heart, and at the end of the day makes me feel good about myself, keeps me driven to do more,see more and help more. It's and adventure as well, and a adrenalin rush, working in exotic places like Egypt as well as training wild horses. So really maybe all I actually am,is an adrenalin junkie...although right now I feel like I need a shot of adrenaline just to keep me awake.

For those who maybe wernt readers and didn't know about the Egypt work, here are some photos from the trip, maybe you can see what inspires me to keep doing this kind of work.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Finally photos

Okay so it was weeks ago that I actually sat on miro for the first time, but almost a month later here are some photo of me actually riding him. This is the problem when you work alone, there is no one to document your progress.
Love this horse, so special. Had a great ride around the farm today, he was an angel, but most young horses I find are, when you give them the chance, wild horses however are calmer than most.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Miro gets a saddle for the first time and goes exploring around the farm