Tuesday, April 22, 2014

High Country Riding in Oberon

The Sydney - Oberon journey took us 2.5 hours
Easter Weekend (Apr 18-21, 2014) seem to be the longest public holiday weekend we experienced in Sydney. Since we do not celebrate Easter and for once a weekend Mr H does not have to work, we grabbed this opportunity to explore outside the city. Our chosen destination: Blue Mountains, approx 1.5 hour drive from Sydney.

Most would stay in Katoomba when visiting Blue Mountains but we found ourselves in Oberon instead (2.5 hours from Sydney). How did we end up there? Same question I asked Mr H and I never really got a straight answer. Nevertheless our 2 night stay at Titania Motel were already paid for and I was tasked to look up for activities we can do during our stay.

According to Tripadvisor, Oberon has only TWO attractions - Mayfield Gardens and High Country Trail Rides & Farm Stay. With the gardens open to visitors only six weekends a year and we were early by a weekend, the trail ride won hands down.

All set to go on a clear blue day

It was a beautiful afternoon when we arrived at the farm with horses greeting us at the entrance. Pauline, who owns and runs the farm arrived a few minutes later on a quad bike with her dogs. After filling up a form, we picked our riding gear and waited patiently to begin our ride while Pauline prepared the horses. Unfortunately, another group turned up a day early without sufficient notice (these are my words) and the wait turned to be longer than expected in order to get them sorted. Nothing to complain about tho as we were quite happy to explore the grounds and soak in the gorgeous landscape. The weather was just as beautiful -- any weather that does not require a jacket is welcomed by me.

Not your usual pillion rider.
Not your usual helper either.
"Negative" selfies

Reverse selfies of me + Polly. Photobombed
by Jo. I somehow managed to block Pauline
& Patch from view.
Once we were seated on Polly and Jo, we were given a quick briefing on how to handle and effectively communicate with them. Forty minutes later, I am leading the pack. Hahaha..  This is my very first time riding a horse without someone holding the reins or leading it. In fact prior to this, my horse/pony riding experiences are limited to circling in the paddock or being led by a handler on a straight trail. On this ride, I am handling the horse on my own which is a testimony that Pauline's horses are

  • well trained
  • calm
  • tame and most importantly
  • understand instructions even from someone as green to horse riding as me!

Our high country trail ride took us through a pine forest currently in the process of being cleared. Apparently the trees were planted with the intention to be cut down 20-30 years later. The area would then be replanted and the trees would be about horse high (I think) in two years. 

Back to our ride. We didn't get far initially as Shabu, ridden by a petrified boy kept on stopping and eating grass after every few steps. You would have thought Shabu had not eaten for days. Pauline disagreed with this thought and was apologetic about the constant stops. She also wondered why Shabu behaved in such a manner. I thought perhaps Shabu was being naughty and acted on the boy's fear. Turns out, the boy was holding on the reins too tightly - a signal to stop. Since they were not moving, Shabu thought it was a good time to snack. Once Pauline figured this out, she went over to the boy and gave him a refresher talk on horse handling. We progressed faster after that :) 

After riding a bit more, we made a u-turn and headed back to the farm safely. No dramas of me galloping away on a runaway horse. In fact none of us had any issues with anyone of the horses. Polly (and her friends) are trained well to not do this. I did not take much pictures during the ride and most of Mr H's pictures are of my back -- as you can see below.  
She (doggy) kept us company throughout the ride.
Apparently her 3rd trip for the day.

Patch grabbing a bite while Pauline sorted out Shabu's
Reminds me of a scene from The Village.

All said and done, it was a great outing. Even greater to find out at the end of our ride, we (Mr H and I) had earned ourselves a free 1 hour ride the next time we are in the area due to the circumstances of the day. Yippee! We are keen to return even without the free ride. Next time, we would opt for the longer bush trail ride that allows us to view the waterfalls.

For more information on High Country Trail Rides & Farm Stay, visit http://www.highcountrytrailrides.com.au/

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