My apologies for taking so long to update you all on how my trip over and first few days working at Oakside Stud have gone – it’s taken me a little while to get the internet up and running and into the swing of things but here we go!
With the date of departure for my South Australian adventure set for the 26th June to start work on the 27th, the last few days of preparation were a crazy blur of “have you seen my black vest” “did someone pack the green suitcase” “how many movies is too many?” and, of course, “where am I actually going?”
Once my car was cleaned to within an inch of its life, inside and out of course, and packed to the roof with all the clothes, movies, shoes, riding gear and food I could jam in there it was off to bed early ready to get up at 5:30 and leave at 7:00 in the hope of beating the traffic. I was very lucky to have the ever lovely Emerald Christou to come and see me off (even if she did come in her onesie and fall asleep whilst she was ‘helping’) and I made it out the gates only five minutes behind schedule which for me is running well for time!
With pit stops in Ballart and Nhil for petrol and food (always important to keep your energy up) I made it to Oakside Stud, nestled in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, by 6pm to a warm welcome from Heather Currie and Anthony Thomas. After quickly unpacking some of my things we headed out for dinner to meet some of the locals. Everyone was so friendly and inviting, making me feel instantly at home. However, after such a long drive I was very worn out so it was home and to bed early to rest up for the next day.
Because I arrived in the dark and hadn’t seen any of the property other than a few photos online I was very excited to see what I’d got myself in for and WOW Oakside did not disappoint! All 113 acres of it are a green, lush, horsey heaven. With an undercover lunge yard, three stable blocks, huge paddocks, a grass gallop track and a soon to be completed 80m x 60m all-weather dressage and jumping arena with mirrors as just some of the features to boast, this facility has everything at your finger-tips.
The weather here has also blown me away – literally! On my first day we experienced 100km/hr winds which were so strong any hay we threw to the horses was blown straight back in our faces and poor Hamish Currie (one of the Oakside canine mascots) was nearly blown off the gator! The whole first three days were filled with rain and wind so strong it was hard to get much riding done and the one horse I did ride on Sunday I ended up riding in the hail – I thought South Australia might have been trying to get rid of me already – but I’m from the Yarra Valley so a little bit of a storm doesn’t scare me away!
Today the weather gods finally brought out the goods for me and I was able to work six lovely horses:
Sandro Black Ice is a gorgeous four year old black mare by Sandro Hit out of an imported Rubenstein mare. ‘Symphony’ is a pocket rocket and very quickly becoming my favourite horse here so far – she was the poor one stuck in the hail and didn’t put a foot wrong. A very switched on, thinking horse to ride she gives me a great feel and is very genuine in her work. I’m very lucky to ride such a lovely little horse!
Alfredo II is the unchallenged stand out in the paddock – a three year old Spanish stallion imported from America with absolute spunk to boot. ‘Alfie’ has four big white socks, a white blaze and a thick wavy tail – he is beautiful to look at before he even moves and when he does he really is something special. I had the best first ride on this little man today, testing out his super engine!
Danson Bellisima is a three year old gelding by Bellissimo M out of a Salute mare. I’ve only worked briefly with this super cool gelding so far but I’m really looking forward to seeing what he has to offer! ‘Bello’ is a well put together, fancy moving horse with a super attitude – what more could you ask for?!
MW Furst Reflex is another three year old gelding, this time by Furst Romancier. ‘Reflex’ is HUGE – one of the tallest horses I think I’ve ever seen – but the definition of a gentle giant. Tall with a white star and white socks, I feel like I’ve got a bit of Action here with me already. This lovely horse is very flash and has the wow factor which I’m sure will bring big marks in the ring – needless to say I’m keen to work with him too!
Anton K is hot on Symphony’s heals as one of my favourites here. ‘Anton’ is a three year old gelding by Ampere with a ridiculous amount of talent. One of the fanciest horses I’ve worked with here so far who makes me very excited for his potential in young horse classes! He has droolworthy hind legs and a great forward, uphill way of going. I’m definitely in love with this one!
The last horse I’ve worked with so far is Fernlock Don Perignon. ‘Bruno’ is a very classy four year old frozen semen gelding by Duino out of a Weltmeyer mare. Chestnut with white socks, he boasts show ring looks and movement to boot! I rode this super cool character out on the roads today as his first ride back after a spell and he didn’t put a foot wrong. What a spunk!
Evidently the quality of horses here really is special and I am so so lucky to have the opportunity to work with them. To top of the fancy horses is a great team of people who have made me feel at home right away and excited for the future! Once I get into a rhythm here I will be working a couple more horses and will write about them here soon. Photos coming soon too I promise!
Thank you to all my support team at home who have helped me get here and had my back in the move over – especially my wonder mum who is looking after my horses, dog and cat at home (even though the cat is very offended that I took her doona away)!
But for now, I’m off to bed to rest up for another busy day working towards my dream.