Since the holidays have come and gone, I would like to share with you some of my adventures. It starts in the mountains and finishes at the beach, all with horse and dogs in tow. Friends of mine (whose interests are dogs, not horses) were going on a farm stay to Tallowood, an animal friendly place up in the hills between Boonah and Beaudesert, and asked me if I would like to go along. The accommodation is small solar power cabins and old wood stoves for cooking and hot water, all this and flushing toilets to boot. Each cabin complex is on about a ¼ acre of dog proof fenced allotments. After some thought I gave the hosts of Tallowood a ring and asked if I could bring my minihorse as well. No problems. So we were going. I packed the Ute with gear, horse, dogs and vehicle (you just never know and you have to be prepared for the perfect driving opportunity). They sent some very clear instructions on how to get there and we were off. Upon arrival, I was very happy to note that it had been a few weeks since the owners had mowed, plenty of green mountain grass. They offered to move cattle and put Shadow in this paddock or move horses and put him in that paddock, but the fenced allotment was going to be more than enough for my little fellow. They were a bit worried about some of their plants but after some assurance on my part they left me to it.
Well, I had a fabulous time. We did plenty of hiking through dense forest on cleared tracks. Shadow thought this was much better than walking along the highway. Alas, it wasn’t really suitable for driving horses, a bit too rocky and hilly. The best part of all for Shadow was the fact that he was in the same yard as me all the time. When I was cooking in the little kitchen building, he was standing at the door just looking in. At nighttime he would stick his head in for some scratches and nod off to sleep. After our hiking treks, Shadow would curl up in the doorway and go to sleep, right beside the dogs. I swear he even started twitching like he was dreaming. Whenever I would head off toward the gate Shadow would race the dogs to be first there.
The hosts are very good and take most steps to cater for your needs. They even bring in some renta chooks from the farm down the road when visitors are there. After a few nights it was time to head home.
Next I went to Staddie for a few days so Shadow’s next adventure was to a friend’s place that owns forty acres. This is a big deal to a little horse whose paddock is only ½ acre, especially when this place has mares in the neighbouring paddock. He did have to share his with cows, sheep and goats. He went from following me around like a lost puppy at the farm stay, to giving me the forks as he raced off when I released him for his four day stay. Not even a glance back when I was leaving. Great to be a stallion, so self-centred. He was most indignant when I returned to pick him up, he really wanted to stay here, but at a quick glance I could see he had already gained quite a bit of “conditioning”. So home we went.
If this was not enough holidaying for one little horse, we went again. This time we went to Noosa North Shore Caravan Park, just over the river from Tewantin. The tourist park has a stable complex for all patrons and allows dogs if camping in own tent or caravan. Stabling varies in price, depending on what is required: full stable, ½ shelter or yard. All responsibility for your horse belongs with you. Although, you can buy lucerne hay there. I rented a full stable for Shadow, only because he was a stallion, at $16.50 per night. The ½ shelters are very good (I think these are about $10); I didn’t think much of the yards (about $5), especially for ponies. Well, Shadow managed to do a commando roll under his yard area of the stable, within the first few hours, and go visiting the gelding in the next stable. Luckily I brought some electric fencing with me and soon saw to that not occurring again, although I could of shut the ½ door and locked him inside. There was no way he would have gotten out of there. Accommodation sorted out, our tent pitched (Shadow had better than us, SPOILT); we were ready to head to the beach. I took my jogger with me, so we loaded Shadow onto the Ute and drove the 1 kilometre to the beach.
I harnessed up, up on the gravel and made our way down trough the soft sand, with me walking behind. Shadow had never been to the beach before. He was quite scared to step off the soft stuff and onto the hard sand, but once he did he was most relieved that it wasn’t quicksand or the like. Then we were away, dogs running along beside. We went for kms on lovely sand, wind in our faces, it was great; Shadow was clearly stepping out having a fantastic time. It was with a smile on my face that when we turned I found 2 tyre tracks and kms of hoof prints with perfect footfall at the trot. Shadow was still a bit worried about waves rushing up at him and was meticulously careful to ensure none ever touched him. I was careful to drive within 3 hours of a low tide so that there was plenty of beach for me and passing cars, although not many when you head south. We took Shadow driving again the next morning, almost the same as before, except this time I managed to get David to get in and have a little drive. Just as we were approaching the track back up to the car, 8 camels came down the track to the beach, no mishaps to announce but I was a touch worried about how all animals would react. Shadow thought they were the biggest horses in the world. That afternoon we decided it was time for Shadow to get his feet wet, so we left the vehicle behind. As David pulled him the final few metres, his back legs started shaking, I swear his eyes were going to pop out of his head. Then the wave hit him, phew, only water. We progressed to get him in deeper and deeper, until the waves were finally breaking over his back. One even dunked him. He performed lovely extended trots in the shallow water, as he had to lift that bit higher to clear the resistance. All in all, he looked like he was having a fabulous time. In short, if you ever get the chance to go, GO. You wont regret it. Obviously, there would be a lot less mucking around for a ridden horse, but I don’t have one, so drive on we do.
So, if this tale has been depressing because Shadow went on more holidays than you, I’m sorry. But you can do something about it. Be adventurous and you wont regret it. All budgets and tastes are catered for, motel style accommodation, to cabins, to tents, powered or not. It was heaps of fun.