Sunday, April 23, 2006

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch

Currently, the most rewarding thing about horses is the fact that you will always learn about them.

It's impossible to know everything about them. I hope that in the future, the most rewarding thing for me will be teaching others all I have learnt and am learning about this gorgeous animal and nursing back to health neglected equines.

There are so many people that own and work with horses that have a terrible ignorance and it almost seems that we should have a license to be able to work with or own any animal. Some are so badly neglected, I'm always asking if the person that let them get in that state meant well, but just didn't know enough. It appears to be the same way with children at times, too.

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch is a property run by Kim Meeder and her husband Troy. The pair work together to influence abused and neglected children while at the same time nursing back to health horses in the same condition. Thanks to an ever alert mother, I was given a copy of Kim's book - Hope Rising and loved the stories between the pages.

What better cause can one give to than a child or animal's life being restored?

"Follow a horse where no one else can tread, through the minefield of pain that surrounds a broken child's soul." - Kim Meeder, Hope Rising.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Certificate II in Horse Studies

It all begins here... So the earliest I discovered that I could actually start 'studying' horses at school, was in year ten (third last year of highschool in Australia, was 16 at the time) through the joys of work experience.

Only for a period of two weeks, looking back now it seems hardly enough time but I am glad over the course of my last three years of high school, I was able to complete three lots of work experience - at a small racing stable/stud, riding school and a stable at Caulfield Racecourse.

Rather than dissuade me from the not so kind hours and manual labour, this only fuelled the want to get the rest of school out of the way and work with horses.

Fortunately, in between the school I attended had just recently offered the chance to study horses (Certificate II in Horse Studies) as part of your VCE subjects and so over my second last year of school, I was able to actually do one of my chosen subjects as horses, at the end of it having a Certificate II and a little more of an idea of the direction I wanted to head after highschool.

I completed this course at Balmoral Warmblood Stud, attending the stud every Wednesday to work, ride and learn about horses. It is possible to also do the course via correspondence so it doesn't cut in on classes at school.

"The horse through all its trials has preserved the sweetness of paradise in its blood." - Johannes Jensen

Take a look at: - check out the 'education' area.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stud Work, TBs

Joys of the Thoroughbred Industry.

Planning on working with horses? Want to run your own property? Experience wise, you couldn't go past spending a season or three in the stud side of the racing industry. Pay wise - Thoroughbreds are your best bet for a half decent income when it comes to working with horses.

For the past twelve months I have been out in the 'real world', working - finally! Before coming to Ireland to study, I spent my days in a small town called Euroa, in Victoria, Australia that seems to house about a dozen studs - I worked at three over this duration.

As someone who wants to breed thoroughbreds for a hobby and run my own horse property, working on a stud is the best way to go about gaining experience. During the breeding season (August - December in Australia) you get practise at handling mares for service, handling stallions, horses for the farrier, treatments for horses (oral and injections), bandaging, foaling down mares, feeding horses and general stable work.

As the year comes to an end, it moves on to the yearling season where practice in preparing horses for sales, grooming, exercising, parading for clients and eventually taking the gorgeous animals through the sale ring (some, for prices in the hundreds of thousands!) is gained.

From December through to April yearlings are prepared and every eight weeks, a new group is brought in and it starts again, introducing them to being brushed, having rugs on, leading correctly.

Following this, it is time for the 'babies' to be weaned, and mothers are taken away and they start life without the 'milk bar'; slowly getting used to people and being handled, having feet trimmed and sometimes, prepared for sales at the young age of five or six months.

Excluding the horse's actual racing career, working on a stud gives you the chance to see the birth of a foal, it's first year or so of life and upon retiring to stud, the progeny it then goes on to produce. What more could you ask for?

"Correction does much for the horse, but encouragement does more." - My 'home' and work from August till the end of each year. - Another stud I worked at in Euroa.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Volunteer With Horses

So you know the cheapest way to get extra horse experience? Can't quite remember how I found out about it, but I'll almost do anything to have myself working with horses. So, when I found out about Riding for the Disabled and the fact that they are always looking for volunteers, I thought - why not?

One Saturday every two weeks for about a two year period, I joined up with other volunteers at Riding for the Disabled of Australia in Moorabbin, Victoria to help out with grooming ponies, feeding, tacking up and leading young riders around an arena, over and around obstacles and on 'trail rides'.

RDA is really a great cause and what better way to get extra hands on with horses, and be able to help out at the same time? An added bonus if you'd like, this would look excellent on the resume but just helping out was reward enough.

As someone who wants to eventually run my own agistment property and riding school, it was a great eye opener and an invaluable experience.

"In riding a horse we borrow freedom" - Helen Thompson

Why not help someone else to a chance at freedom?

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ireland and Horses

So I love horses, and I love the idea of travelling; but travelling isn't cheap. One thing that's so appealing about these animals though, is that you can work with them almost anywhere around the world.

Ireland has always been a dream of mine as a place to visit and has been made possible thanks to horses.

If you love working with horses and have a desire to travel, I strongly recommend you do so! The cheats way to do it without it costing too much, I believe is working holidays or attending an equine related course.

Currently, I'm studying at the Irish National Stud and am thoroughly enjoying myself, having come to another country to work with horses in an environment where I am learning daily, doing something I love and getting to meet different people from around the world and therefore - many contacts.

Check out the stud at

"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of man." - Winston Churchill

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