The Man From Snowy River, A horse safari through the Australian High Country.
@marlee_horobin ; A saddlers daughter of Peter Horobin Saddlery shares her experience on a GlobeTrotting adventure.
An adventure in the High Country of Northern Victoria on horseback is exactly what you need to detoxify and revitalise your mind, spirit and soul. I am an Australian equine, daughter of an Australian Saddler and call me bias about my homeland but I guarantee that you haven’t witnessed the sky until you have seen the skies we call home. I have recently experienced a 5 day horseback tour with GlobeTrotting operated by Hidden Trails By Horseback and it ticked all the boxes for an experience which embraces the great outdoors. A luxury experience, this safari will provide you with a week of breathtaking scenery, night time star gazing, excellent home cooked meals, and a hot outdoor shower amongst the swaying snow gums. A family business, operators Christian and Laura Hayes will transport you into a time when cattleman had their huts and campfires to keep warm at night and their noble steeds to transport them through the thick Australian bush throughout the day. These mountains are unforgivingly breathtaking. The ultimate luxury to disconnect and reconnect with yourself. No phone reception and absolutely no wifi; comes free.
Travelling over 120km over 5 days up and down hidden trails, undulations are steep, tracks are narrow and views are spectacular. Every morning as the sun comes up, the surprise of a dramatic landscape will embrace you. The wind changing and whistling through the trees, birds singing their songs. Cattlemen’s huts are dotted across the trail, some hidden providing refuge for those who venture amongst towering forests of alpine ash. Each hut is maintained by the local horsemen and tour operators in the area, some who are second and third generation cattleman. Men and women who know the rugged landscape like the back of their hands. Pristine river crossings; zigzagging across the Howqua River consume one day of riding, while Howqua gap, the narrow ridgeline between the summits of Mount Stirling and Mount Buller captivate another.
Many assume trail riding is ‘just trail riding’ sitting on a horse then ‘to go’ and ‘to stop’, however I challenge you to think again. Trail riding requires endurance, stamina and connection between horse and rider. The horses are only as good as their trainers and the beauty of this ride is that, each horse and rider is matched to suit each other’s personalities and riding experience. Horse and rider match can be a deal breaker for the entire experience, Laura and Christian Hayes do a fabulous job to have this covered. An experienced rider concerned about the challenge of the ride is not a worry worth contemplating on this safari. Some days, your adrenaline will be pumping on cliff tops and others you will be watching the flowers bloom and dance in the breeze. This ride is for all who love to live an equestrian lifestyle.
These horses can be trusted to climb up steep rock faces safely and with only one option to ride forward and no option to ride back all for us to experience the exception mountainscape across the Victorian high plains is a credit of horse and people management to the Hidden Trails By Horseback team.
My buckskin Arrow, was gentle and loving, a mare who really knew where to step and how to navigate her footing to ensure safe passage. Soft and receptive; with only a simple snaffle bridle and a kind bit, Arrow was one of many who matched the temperament of being extremely well trained and looked after. All horses were rugged at night when cold and given a communal paddock which had been built alongside the refuge cattle huts to graze throughout the afternoon and early evening. The staff never stopped caring for their animals.
What is included
A rustic luxurious experience, all swags and tents are included. We slept under the stars in our swags each evening, nothing beats the stars of the southern cross on a clear night. Delicious home cooked meals and a campfire keep you warm when the cold air settles in. Hot showers and eco toilets are available at each camp site and cooked breakfasts every morning to give you the energy you need throughout the day. Storytelling around the campfire and guitar strumming transitions day into night. Make sure you purchase your alcohol before you arrive. A good bottle of Durif from the famous Victorian winery Brown Brothers followed by some Tasmanian Nant Whiskey was my ‘Bring Your Own’ kind of choice. Don’t forget your Akubra to give you protection from the Australian sun and a pair of bather to swim in the pristine and clear Howqua River.
At Peter Horobin Saddlery we are currently developing the ‘Australiana’ collection. 3 styles of saddles, a country (hybrid between a stock saddle and and english saddle) the endurance/trail and soon to be launched half breed. Embracing my dad’s innovation of the StrideFree tree, a tree in which is cutaway at the shoulder allowing maximum freedom of shoulder movement was the catalyst for our ride. Christian and Laura kindly allowed us to ride in our own saddles, to test them amongst the toughest terrain in the Australian mountains. To not only find that our saddles gave freedom through the shoulders, the short panels, allowed clearance of any lumbar area (even in an 18” seat on a 15.3 cross breed) and they really did feel amazing to ride in. I felt close contact and it was a real test for the saddle to not move on the horse’s back. No worry of the saddle sliding forward when travelling down steep hills. No need for a breastplate.
How To Get There
The 7-day Craig’s Hut & High Country Ride is operated by Laura and Christian Hayes from Hidden Trails by Horseback (web link: http://www.hiddentrails.com.au/) and can be booked through Globetrotting (web link: www.globetrotting.com.au), a horse riding holiday agency. The ride price starts from $2600 AUD per person. Guests would need to fly to Melbourne, Australia the day before their ride begins, and then transfer to Mansfield, a rustic country town in rural Victoria. The transfer service costs $200 AUD per person round trip. For further information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 438 851 981.
Venture down to Melbourne to visit Peter Horobin Saddlery. The family owned business will provide you with an ultimate saddle experience. To find out more visit www.horobin.com.au or call +61 3 59751055 or email email@example.com