Mirambeena Horses

Having grown up dreaming about, living and riding horses; when my eldest daughter expressed an interest in riding, my first reaction was to encourage her and find her a suitable pony. Unfortunately my husband wasn’t quite so enthusiastic—he had grown up believing that all horses bit at one end and kicked at the other and had never had the opportunity to learn otherwise. Nevertheless, with our daughter’s enthusiasm and my encouragement, we were able to find a pony to get her started. Living on the land, feed and care was never a problem and over the course of a year or so, our daughter proved to be a responsible and dedicated horse owner and rider, never wavering in her enthusiasm for horses and all they entailed.

The first pony we had was a Connemara mare who had been sent to stud at a neighbour’s place and after four years of running with the stallion, had failed to conceive. She was getting on in years and surprisingly strong, however, she taught our daughter that kindness, mixed with a degree of strength and a strong will, eventually beats all odds. Once they were confident with each other, trotting and cantering without mishap and keen to move on, we prepared for our introduction to Pony Club.

One week before their first Pony Club rally, we arrived home just on dark to see the mare standing over what appeared to be a foal? A foal? Yes, a foal! She had given birth to a little black colt in pouring rain, surrounded by thunder and lightning – the first we had experienced in months of drought. Despite being regularly checked by the farrier, previous owner and many experienced horsey friends, no-one had suspected she was in foal. A wonderful surprise—but not so good for heading off to Pony Club the following weekend.
Due to our daughter’s disappointment and the knowledge that the mare needed a break while her young foal settled in, I continued to look around for another pony. We found a Welsh Mountain Pony, bred and ridden by a determined young girl who had outgrown him. The little grey pony remained with us for several years until he was passed on to another Pony Club family. In that time, both our daughters and our son rode him, having years of fun, thrills and spills until they moved on to other mounts. Our next pony was a larger one—a pretty 14hh palomino mare, ironically called Goldie. She had been ignored, sitting in a paddock for six years following her owner’s death and proved to be quite a challenge for my eldest daughter. After spending hours after school and every weekend, she eventually got the mare more flexible, reasonably well educated and ready to start competing. For the next four years, Goldie and my daughter became almost as one, able to enjoy every discipline. They competed in gymkhanas, shows, dressage, sporting, barrel racing and show-jumping, winning more trophies than we had room to display. Goldie became the flag bearer at the Warwick Rodeo when Fiona won a title, and again at the annual Brisbane Exhibition when the Pony Club performed a ‘Musical Ride’ (an intricate troop performance to music by horses and their riders). They mustered cattle and sheep together and Goldie was used for pony rides for visiting children. While she continued to teach others to ride, my girls moved more into show-jumping, hacking and dressage. Their horses, although ridden daily, became more specialised.

Around the time we were going to shows almost every weekend, I decided to purchase a horse for myself. Unfortunately for me, but to both girls delight, my horse turned out to be a kind and capable all-rounder and my opportunities to ride him slowly disappeared as the girls took him over. My role as truck driver, cook, stable hand and assistant dogs-body, filled my spare time, leaving little or no riding time.
While our son switched his love to motor-bikes early in his riding career (as many boys seem to do), the girls continued riding horses. Now, many years later, our eldest daughter still has her old show-jumper, retired and living the high life, while the young grandchildren are just beginning.

For those of you who have a child who is desperate to own a horse, these are the lessons I have learned from horses:
Owning a horse teaches us how to be responsible for another life, how to be caring and kind. They teach us to be thrifty as the expenses in owning a horse are numerous – and they teach us how to budget and save. They teach us how to keep fit and disciplined, in order to get the best out of both ourselves and our horse. They keep us honest and well behaved as we are too busy and too tired to get into trouble. Above all else, they teach us how to love and how it feels to be loved in return.

If you have a child, or a hankering yourself to own a horse, learn all you can, do it—and allow the horse to teach you lessons you will remember all your life.


  1. Deborah Barlow says:

    Great story. I don’t know how you do it!

    Glad I got your newsletter this time. In my inbox too.

  2. Debi says:

    I love horses and have ridden for a large number of my almost 70 years. I have never owned a horse but know them very well. At the stable I went to in my teens, I was often given the difficult horses. I just had a way with them. They trusted me and eventually agreed my way was the best way. Later on I found kids liked me too. I am a “what you see is what you get” person and kids and animals know that from the get go (beginning). Not sure how familiar you are with American slang. lol Anyway, I went on, after many different jobs, to own a child day care. I did very well. I also have a way with cats and dogs. In my early 60’s I trained my standard poodle and a golden doodle. When we went into therapy dog training they were the only dogs home schooled. lol They never went to puppy school or met a dog trainer. The threrapy dog trainers were impressed. They are two very well trained dogs and a joy to be around. Oliver the poodle is now going on 13 and not getting around well. His brother Otis, the golden doodle, they have the same poodle mom, is now over 9 years. Dogs too teach responsibility and love. They also teach patience and acceptance. Dogs, like a good horse, are very forgiving. I enjoyed your horse stories. Your children were very lucky to have such valuable experiences.

  3. Craig says:

    A very delightful 8nsight to not just your horses Heather but the family as well

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