So it’s come around again. Season 2018-2019 is upon us. And we thought last season was busy… what a season it was, Bruce didn’t think we could get busier but we did. Again there were so many returning guests and lots of new ones. We love it when we have guest coming back and bringing their friends means we must be doing something right. And of course we still love showing off our part of the world to everyone that comes along.
Bruce, myself and the crew have all been very busy over the last month getting everything ready for the season. We have been doing a lot of work around the place, with a brand new big shed to house all the gear we need to run the rides. Luke has built us a mezzanine level on one side that now has all the swags and stuff to make them up. So then we can just pull the troopy into the shed and step off and load them up Bonnie says it’s a life saver. It is great having all the gear in the one spot makes our job of packing and unpacking for the rides a lot easier and quicker. Also Rhyll (and jack) have been very busy over at the yards and they are looking amazing. New garden beds, the roses are just starting to come out now and it looks so pretty. A few new fences to keep the horses in or Bruce off the grass!!! Also a splash of paint with the help of the kids has made the yards look like new. We can’t wait for everyone to see it. And yes Bruce’s picture is still hanging up!!
We are looking forward to the up and coming season as a lot of guests that have been with us before are coming back and a few guest that haven’t been for years have finally come back again. A lot of our rides this season are nearly already booked up so looks like we won’t be stopping anytime soon. Bruce and the boys.. Oh and Bon haha just spent the last weekend cutting in the tracks and fixing the hut. As we had a super winter with heaps of snow there was a lot of damage to the hut and most of the tracks needed a bit more work than normal. But for all you regulars you might have some new tracks to ride this season.
So we have a few new faces amongst the herd with scout,patches,Danny, Arrlie,Mac, Bondie, Bonnie and Destiny.
Also along with new horses we have our new camp trailer ready to go it might need a few adjustment from Dave to make it right but its looks great, Bruce and jack have been busy making some adjustments and add on’s that will help the cooking easier. Jared has also hooked it all up with lights and it’s ready for the season.
So away from the rides everyone has been busy busy…
Bruce and I have both celebrated the big 60. Bruce had a big shindig at the Merrijig Hall with lots of family and friends. Was a great night to catch up with old and new friends and Bruce actually didn’t need to be carried out (but he did sleep on his new recliner chair that night) Then only a few weeks ago we got all the kids and grandkids an close family and friends and went down to Phillip Island for my party. We stayed in a beautiful big house with everyone there was a mini lake for the kids to fish in, a swim spa that the kids didn’t; get out of. And we could all just sit around relaxing and watching the kids have a ball. We spent time down the beach building the biggest sand castles and not just the little grandkids got into it my 3 big kids had more fun than them all. We didn’t get to have a holiday away this winter but we did get a lot of things done around the house and it is looking really nice.
Neil helped me build a new chicken house (Bruce loves it… NOT) we moved it around the back of the house and made it bigger so I now have 12 chickens all laying fresh eggs every day. Jaxon, Darby, miller and sienna helped me collect some big rocks from the paddocks and we have made some new garden beds out the front entrance and around the turning circle. And Sienna got a sandpit made out of the rocks to, and absolutely loves it. I have had Bruce on the digger planting many trees. We have a little orchard started and all the trees we planted last year are all doing really well. We have a few new additions to the family as we thought we had lost Phantom the Cat, so I got a ginger cat that sienna named “Meggzy” and then I got sienna her own cat, dark grey called “Stormy” who still lives at our place. And then a week later phantom returns home so we have 3 cats now, but no mice!! We have also just become grandparents again… no more human kids but my Tully had her first litter of puppies, Matty’s dog from over the road got friendly with her and she gave birth to 9 beautiful Black and white puppies. Who will be ready to take away from us just before Christmas if anyone is looking for a great working dog. We also have had a little change up at Buttercup, we have moved our room into the new horse truck house and our old room is now a sitting/games /spare room. And we also had a satellite put up for grand Final day to watch the game (Cassie wasn’t happy that day, poor collywobbles once again)
We also had a very proud moment at this years cattlemen’s when we had our two oldest girl grandchildren compete in the first ever CattleKids Cup. They both did extremely well for their first event and we can’t wait for them to give it another go next year. Tayla ride Prince and Cobie rose Kip (both my horses the little buggers stealing them haha) Next year Tayla will be riding her new favorite patches and Cobie is yet to decide on her ride!
Ronny and Luke are pretty much nearly finished their house (just the main bedroom and ensuite to go) Ronny finally has her doors on the cupboards and its looks great. And Luke had his 40th birthday party at their place in January so they did up the back area with a new BBQ and built in kitchen, remoter blinds and Luke got a big TV from all his mates, so they spent most of the footy season outside by the fire watching the footy (well they probably weren’t watching the blues as they got flogged all season)
Jake is doing really well in Footy and has been selected to try out for the interleague team, he has made it past the first cut off and has done so well to even just get there. Also he just won his basketball Final.
Tayla had an amazing season in her first year of playing girls footy in the under 12. They didn’t win many games as a lot of their girls were the lower age group. But they all improved so much. Tayla to out the B&F for her team and also the league won to. So wasn’t too happy as she only got a small medal and the runner up got a big trophy haha!! Tayla just played in her first ever grand final but lost. Ronny coached the girls and earnt herself coach of the year. I think in the last newsletter I said that Luke had finally retired from footy, this was not true he couldn’t help himself and would complain every Sunday but still pulled the boots on He also coached Bryce, he loves finally being able to play and can’t wait till he gets to the age group when they can tackle. We always hear about the screamers and goals of the year each week he plays. Bryce also just won his basketball grand final.
Luke is coming up this cup weekend and is tackling the rebuild of the “Original Buttercup Hut” Finally we might be able to sleep in it without getting drips on us or falling through the floor. So he is making room for some more beds and room under veranda to camp. Ronny is also starting to set up her Initiative trail for her and our school groups.
Cassie, Jared and Sienna have settled back into Mansfield life and love being home. Having my youngest grandchild here is so good she keeps me entertained and sometimes I still get the odd afternoon snooze with her on the couch. Sienna turns 3 in Dec and is already preparing for taking over the rides with her older cousins Cobie and Tayla, she already picks out some of the horses in the paddock, Big whitey (you all know her as Blue) and Patches (Talya’s new horse apparently) and her Kip, yes mum has once again lost another horse to the grandchildren (not that sienna will be riding her anytime soon) But any chance she gets she is hoping on with Cobie, myself or even Bon Bon. Cassie is still helping me in the office, making my job a bit easier I’m not up till 3am replying to emails anymore. She took over the meet and greet last season making sure all the guest arrived, got all their gear and paid up. She had her Purple shirt on not her blue so don’t ask any horsey questions that’s Bruce and Bons job. She also did a few rides for us last season and is going to help out a bit more this season as well. Jared is still working back in Mackay in the mines and just flying in and out. They have put up a new fence to keep sienna in or maybe the boys out in the future. They planted a heap of trees and most of them have survived the harsh frosty winter we had and it’s starting to look like home.
Jack and Rhyll… as I said Rhyll has been busy in the garden at the horse yards and at her house its looking great. She also has taken over the writing of the Local Famers paper at the courier. Jack is a “jack” of all trades and is working between farming with rodda, plumbing with phil and now managers a farm out buttercup road. He has been busy as I said earlier with Rhyll getting him to build garden beds and new fences around the horse yards and it looks great.
Cobie had broken in her first horse-Bess and has already ridden her when we brought back cattle from the bush.
She is a really good and Matty has offered big bucks for her but Cobie knows she’s onto a good thing. She also played netball last season and her team won a round robin GrandFinal and she got a super big trophy! Also she is loving her basketball and get better each season.
Jaxon played his first year of footy this year and loved it, takes after his dad and pa in the footy skills, also is loving playing basketball and has improved so much all the parents have be saying how good he is going to be. He also saved up and brought himself a new motorbike this year. So horse have taken a backseat, and he keeps nagging pa Bruce if he can bring his motorbike out when we take cattle out the bush. (Don’t think you’ll win that one Jaxon, Pa Pete would be rolling over in his grave if Pa Bruce let you do that haha). He has also taken up welding and is working on some pieces of art you all might see them for sale at eh yards pretty soon. Darby is busy as always, he had his first (first of many I think) accident off the motor bike, broken bones in his arm he has just got the cast of last week and is free again, not that it stopped him much. He also has a new motorbike and is not afraid to go fast. We are slowly losing them all to the motorbikes but im sure they will all come back to the horses at some stage. Miller is growing up way to fast and is nearly as tall as Darby; miller got a new trick bike for his birthday and loves going into the skate park when the older kids are playing sport. He’s working on his tricks. Him and sienna love playing with each other and if they are both here at home they are usually racing around the veranda, sienna in the pusher and miller racing her around. They will be trouble those two in years to come, but so cute. As miller told you all last year Todd was the new addition into the family he actually spends a lot of time over at our place but the morning of the ride he is over at the yards greeting all the guests and most want to pack him in their saddle bags and take him with them.
Dave well as he left us towards the end of last season, and I had to get back into the kitchen and off the horse. He loved his time he had up at Moolooloo Station in the NT. He was the cook up on the station cooking for all the staff. Heading out on the musters, early morning and he didn’t have anyone to bring him his coffee in bed… poor Dave! He has some great stories and photos from his time so look out Bruce there might be some competition around the firs for storytelling. Just ask him what happened when he said so I need some meat to cook for dinner….
So we will see him take over the camp trailer again, the new one. He is still living up in bogie and comes down and stays with us to help get the trailer organized and prepare the food to head out. We also welcomed Dave home on Tuesday night which happened to be trivia night, and we just happened to take out the win so we did miss you dave and your brain.
Bonnie had her first season as our official staff and worked nearly every weekend. She also worked with Bruce during the week helping getting ready for the rides and also with cattle work. It was fantastic for Bruce to have someone to bounce off with the horse (or tell him what to do haha) but she was a great help and made the work load for myself and Bruce a little lighter. She also took charge of the Facebook and Instagram account, keeping you all up to date with the happening and photos from the rides. So look out for the posts again this season. Her new buy in Shiloh is going really well and she has started bringing her out bush for a few shorter rides hopefully she gets her out a bit more this season.
Luke Jenkins was one of our other regular staff last season, we won’t see him as much this season as he is off with some mates shearing for the season. He did head off on a trip over to Europe and he got to see some beautiful parts of the world and lots of the local pubs.
My Nephew Daniel moved back to Melbourne for work and loves coming up to visit us, well he is nearly here every weekend. And is loving getting back into riding, he come out on the rides last season towards the end and we look forward to him making quite a few appearances on the rides this season.
Not long after he moved down my brother and sister in law John and Nikki, decided to move back as well. They are building a house in Mansfield and john has helped me with my garden over the winter when he comes home from work. He still works up in QLD like Jared in the mines and does fly-in fly –out. But he loves being out on the farm with us. Nikki is going to take over a little of the biscuits/cakes/sweets cooking From Olga. So look out you gluten free guests your in for a treat. And don’t worry there will be non-gluten free stuff too!!! Got a few of Judy and Olga’s recipe’s, especially the Relish!!!
Our neighbors Bruce’s sister Jan and mick helped out through the season with truck driving and dropping of guests up. And jano did a few rides with us to help out and get her back on the horses. And of course looking after all the horses in the big paddock. They had a big year with their oldest daughter Stace and her partner Taz getting married on their property just across from where we used to run the rides. And George and Justin have been busy traveling and have a new puppy to the family.
Chris Daly helped out a bit more last season and again, he has booked in a few more rides again this season. He has also been busy making some horseshoe art and you can have a look and purchase some pieces over at the yards office.
Emily came up on a few rides last season not as many as she hoped her family business kept her busy but we hope to see her a bit more this season.
Tag is enjoying living back in Mansfield, and has helped Bruce with cutting in the tracks, did the odd ride and drove for the school groups. We love having him back around more.
Brendon and Chris Randle were there for Wonnangatta again last season and a few other rides, they both come up and have been up helping cut the tracks in and fixed up the hut for us so not just Bruce can fit under the roof.
Nikki went and left us this season got a better offer haha, she took on the management of the Merrijig pub with new owner. So she didn’t have time to do any rides this season, she did do a few shorter ones for us but maybe we will see her a bit more this season.
Lachie helped out with a few rides this season he needed some extra money to get him up to his bull riding up north again. He did well taking home the SCRC Rookie Bull riding Champion for 17-18 season. We look forward to sponsoring lach in the future and seeing him bring home some more silverware. Also hope to see him do a few rides again this season.
Matty has brought a new truck and hopefully we will use him to truck up our horse for some rides this season. We might even see him finally back out on a few of them again too. He is still working with his horses and he has his dogs working well with stock as well.
So we are ready to go, if you haven’t booked in yet and are thinking about I would recommend getting onto it soon as I said earlier a lot of our rides are already booked out.
And once again we are excited to show off our beautiful part of the world on the back of a horse.
Welcome back once again. And what a season it was, one of our busiest yet. There were so many returning guests and lots of new ones. Was great to see so many familiar faces. We still love showing off our part of the world to everyone that comes along.
As busy as it was this season we have had lots happen away from the rides as well.
Bruce and I took Cobie up to Queensland to the opening of the Australian Outback spectacular to see ourselves on the big screen. It was an amazing show, and to be able to watch the making of it and then to see how they put it all together to make the show was incredible. Rhonda and Tayla also just visited Qld and went on a girl’s only night to see the show, but the part that Cobie filmed about the white stallion had been taken out but they still saw us all on the background scenes, she nudged the lady sitting next to her and said that’s my family. Very proud moment! Also she was so excited that Jack’s photo was on the program.
Bruce, Jack and Cobie had an adventure this year as they headed over to Snake Island to Muster Cattle over the sea. They trucked their own horses down. Cobie did call dibs on Magpie and she is now her horse that no one else is allowed to ride without her permission. They supplied all their own food and drinks and the group organizing it takes it all over for you on the Ferry. They all had a ball; you couldn’t wipe the smile off Cobie’s face the whole time. All the other guests on the ride couldn’t believe she was only 9 years old. “She rides better than most of us” they said. They are looking at doing it again next year if they are lucky enough to get on it.
Ronny and Luke are yes still renovating but ronny finally has a kitchen, beautiful stone benchtops and it looks amazing just need a few finishing touches (like the doors on the cupboards haha) but it’s getting there. All the kids are growing up, all loving their basketball still. And this year Luke has retired from footy…. We think… but still very busy he is coaching Bryce, finally he gets to play footy in the Under 8’s, Jake is assistant coach, Tayla is water girl and Ronny is team manager/trainer. Let’s hope they all have a great season.
Cassie, Jared and Sienna have moved back and have built a house on the outskirts of Mansfield on the way to Merrijig. Cassie is now helping me in the office and trying to get me and Bruce organized with her spreadsheets. Helping take the load off myself so I can get back onto the horses more. Jared is still working back in Mackay in the mines and just flying in and out. And when he’s home working on the outside of the house block they brought.
Little Miss Sienna is growing up way to quick. Already 16 months she’s walking sorry running around. Already riding the horses at every chance. Rode in the Merrijig Family Fun Day under 8 Barrel Race on Jaxon’s Horse Philly (with the help of Aunty Rhyll and Cousin Cobie) Got 5th Place. She has already worked out how to walk up to the cattle grate and get around it with a Halter in hand and go out to catch a horse. Jimmy is one of the favourites. Oh and Cobie’s magpie, who sienna has ridden many times already. Think is has skipped a generation it missed Cass and Sienna has the horse gene.
Jack and Rhyll… well Rhyll has been busy in the garden she has it looking amazing and will look great in the years to come. Jaxon is becoming a real little cowboy and is following in Lachie’s footsteps, he has claimed Philly as his but is in the market for his own horse. Darby loves helping pa Bruce around the farm and is always on hand in the shed to know what tools pa needs. Miller is here next to me as I’m writing the newsletter and I asked him “what should I tell everyone that you have you been up to this past year miller” he said well tell them I’ve just turned 5 years old. I have been on 2 trips to port Augusta to see aunty petie’s Station. And tell them about when I fell off the horse on our ride to Sheepyard, but I’m ok and got back on. Also he said tell them about our new addition to the family little Todd. Our little fluff ball Miniature Jack Russel cross poodle who is over at the yards every time a ride goes out greeting all the guest.
Dave has taken over the head chef role, he’s been creating a few new dishes to try on the longer rides to change things up a little. He is living up in bogie and comes down and stays with us to help get the trailer organized and prepare the food to head out. Dave is also a valued member of the trivia team every second Tuesday night at the Merrijig Pub, we have won first prize a few times now.
Also I cannot forget our exciting news, no we are not going to be grandparents again (not yet anyway cass and jared, sienna does need a play mate soon though) but Ash and matt are expecting a bundle of joy in July. Future staff member in the waiting. Ash has just finished riding for this seasons, she held on as long as she could but that bump was starting to get in the way. Good luck to you both and we can’t wait to meet little bub soon.
Bonnie has once again been the backbone of the rides, she has just purchased a new horse, Shilo From Matty Maliki and she hasn’t put a foot wrong, credit to matty for his horsemanship skills in getting her to become the horse she is in such a short time. Bonnie and Shilo had their first Craigs Hut adventure this April and loved every minute of it (both of them). Bon has also started a new job at the Bonnie Bar in Bonnie Doon. But her and Shilo will been seen out on the trail with us this season.
Nikki Joined our staff last season and this season has become a great member of the team, she is great with the horse and loves working with the guest to. We look forward to her working with us for seasons to come.
Luke is finished year 12 and is working in Mansfield, He has come on a few rides this season and hopes to fit in a few more again this season.
Emily has come up on the school holidays and helps on the rides. She stays with us helping bruce and I with the horses and a bit of farm work when she is here.
Tag has moved back to Mansfield, and has helped Bruce a lot with cutting in the tracks , and helping with the odd ride and school groups. We love having him back around more.
Chris Daly, Chris Randle, Matt Bennett, Brendon and kate have all done a few rides this season and we will see them throughout the season again.
Lauchie has been helping Bruce with riding our new horses to get them trail ride ready. In between his new love of bull riding, we sponsored Lachie in the local Merrijig Rodeo this year, unfortunately it wasn’t his day. But he has had lost of success during the circuit this past year.
Matty didn’t get out on any rides this season, but he’s been busy braking some new horses for the rides and has rode himself in some stockman challenges.
On the ride Front we have some great longer rides heading off again this season. The amazing 7 Day Wonangatta Feature ride in January is on again, this year was a fun filled affair with a little surprise on the day off which was a lot of fun, who wouldn’t want to miss Bruce dressed in drag!!
We also have a special Pre Christmas ride for 3 days mid-week that is a great opportunity to get away before the Chrissy rush.
The salting trip was great success so we have decided to offer it again to our guests for your chance to ride with us as we hunt for our cattle through the high country; again spaces are limited so get in fast to secure your spot.
And Don’t miss out on our New Year’s Eve 4 day Ride, something special might be happening on the night of the new year celebrations. It’s a great way to bring in the New Year with friends and family and a few cheeky drinks.
We are once again excited to show off our beautiful part of the world on the back of a horse.