"a marvellous opportunity to get the skills that you learn at clinics and actually put them into a real world situation" - Rob Pearse, 2011 Participant

"it really was life changing for myself... we both thought about what we had just achieved and what we need to change to progress a lot faster (as I know I have stalled)"-M. Lane, 2011 & 2012 Participant

"It took me the drive to Cobar to have a light bulb moment that it wasn’t just the riders...that you were hoping to push beyond what they thought they were capable of – it was me as well!" - D. Hogan, 2011 Volunteer and 2012 Participant

"...thank you so much for the most amazing experience. The setting, the people and the learning opportunity were fantastic. It provided an opportunity to transfer clinic lessons to a practical purpose and see what Marmaduke and I were capable of." -F. Wylie, 2011 and 2012 Participant

Contact Details

50 Lisa Rd. Wilton, NSW 2571
Phone: 0246 309 443
Email: rob@robmcauliffe.com

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Discoveries Await You and Your Horse

by Alex Hoare, 2012 EAT. SLEEP. PLAY with your Horse participant

Sitting on the verandah of my house on our farm in Queensland, a fellow Parelli student from NSW and I were getting really excited about the Eat Sleep Play Ride. Aside from the trip details and what to pack, our conversation pretty much centred around what we would be doing on our days off!

That doesn’t sound too remarkable until you realise that there were actually NO ‘days off’ on the camp. Let me tell you, my friend and I are no slouches; we’re up there with the best of them and are very committed to our pursuit of that ‘never-ending self improvement’ for us and our horsemanship. It was our poor, old, decrepit horse partners that we were worried would probably not stay the distance. They were, after all, 15 and 17, had ringbone, were on medication and had their fair share of physical challenges. At home both horses had dietary considerations, minerals, red light treatments and constant monitoring to check their soundness. Irrespective, both my friend and I have high goals for ourselves and our horsey partners and were (mostly) sure that with the care and attention they both received, the horses would (probably) be able to make (most) of the week. But we had to be realistic and had resigned ourselves to the fact that our horses probably wouldn’t make this HUGE ride every single day, so we would have to be prepared to pay for a week long camp only get a few days riding before our horses broke down.


Alex and friends arrive safely and take the horses for a drink at the creek!!

We decided the experience, even if only for a few days, would be worth it and it had been on our own horsey bucket lists for 2 years by this stage. We could prepare mentally for the disappointment of being left out of the rides for a few days beforehand (stretching our own mental fitness) as well as preparing physically by taking some books along, some Parelli DVDS and things to amuse ourselves. We’d definitely volunteer to help out with the camp cooking or camp jobs which would make us feel useful or we could enjoy taking some time out, trying to relax lying around getting bored while our horses limped around the yards or spent inordinate amounts of time lying down recuperating.

It would be embarrassing to reveal how much time this conversation took up between us but suffice to say it dominated even the day before leaving, extending to the journey to the camp itself. I would travel from Toowoomba Queensland, my friend and her husband from Northern NSW. We had allowed 3 days to get there with some very strict and definite times of when to stop and for how long on the journey there to give our horses ‘the best chance’ of arriving the right way up and ‘walking’ off the float.

We all met up in Coonabarabran in the middle of a torrential downpour and resigned ourselves to the fact that our horses would surely get a cold and be done for! In fact, we had quite a few ‘beverages’ overnight consoling ourselves that our journey was coming to an abrupt end. Well.....nope! That didn’t happen. Morning revealed upright and breathing (clearly) horses ready for the next leg of the journey. On to Cobar and Sue’s husband Paul slept with the horses in the Pony Club Grounds at Cobar because we were all convinced that if they weren’t already dead on arrival or extremely sore from the float ride, someone would probably steal them from the yards. My friend and I once again consoled ourselves in the comfort of a Cobar motel room watching an in-house movie!

Morning came. We rang Paul doubtful that we’d be continuing on. Wow! What a relief. They were all still there, breathing and upright fit enough to walk on the float.

On to Yatanbangee Shearing Shed.....the start of Eat Play Sleep with your horse. The relief was incredible that we all made it in one piece. My friend and I were exhilarated. We could not stop talking about how well our horses were doing and we were both getting pretty cocky about our trailer loading which, at this stage, was pretty darn great!

Our excitement was palpable but there was still this air of trepidation that our horses would literally get into the yard and fall over from the exhaustion of the trip. The first morning of the camp came and there they all were, upright, breathing and ready to go!

And here’s where that part of the story ends.

Well.....except to say that every single day of the camp we expected to see lame crippled horses waiting for us.....and they never came! My horse was full of life and full of go and full of energy every single day of the week, and it took me the entire week to erase that misguided, unfounded opinion of my horse that she couldn’t make it. I need to hold myself back from sharing with you the details of the camp because every moment and every day was so brilliant I want to tell you all about it! The destinations, the discoveries, the landscape, the learning – it was phenomenal! Even if I could reveal it to you, it would be difficult to articulate in words. But then, it would take away from the amazing discovery that awaits you and your horse when you decide to go. However, what I can tell you about, and what I have tried to already, is about how much this camp and the journey to the camp, reveals in your horse to you. It sounds so cliqued to say, but I think most of us students underestimate our horses. They possess the most incredible athleticism that we cannot even understand. We mollycoddle them and pamper them and wrap them in vet wrap and the proverbial, cotton wool. We give them days off and stop riding them after a certain time because they are hot and sweaty.

At this camp, I met my horse! She’s not a broken down old ringbone riddled needing medication and frequent rests horse?? She’s an athlete. She’s powerful, strong, athletic and fit. She can take that 40km ride .... and then some, even with an undesirable long back and ringbone. She loves the outback. She LOVES swimming and waterholes. She is tough and she is a lot more resilient than me! She can canter, she’s not sore and she can back up day after day and love every minute of what that day’s adventure brings.


Alex's horse enjoys the water after the days ride!

This camp gave me the gift of my horse. I discovered how truly amazing she and all of my equine partners are.....well beyond their outward beauty and their willing behaviour. We as lovers of our horses and students of Parelli, need to do this camp for our horses to allow us to see them for who they really are, we need to do this for ourselves to discover our athleticism and our posture and our seat when we ride, and to give our horse and ourselves the gift of a principle to our horsemanship. The camp and the journey there and back, has taken my appreciation for not only my horse, but all horses to a whole new level. It is far and away, the most incredible Parelli experience I have had the honour of being a part of this year.


Water crossing for everyone!

To book in for the camp, download the Application Pack