Wilga Park Morgans:Latest News
July 2015 - September 2015
We have had a taste of Cowboy Dressage … and LOVE it! Greg’s dream for Cortez was that he would one day perform in Cowboy Dressage, so we could not miss the opportunity to attend the first clinic held on the Downs recently. Of the 12 horses, 3 were Morgans. It gave us a nice (possibly a little smug) feeling of satisfaction to give the answer, ‘That’s a Morgan stallion’, when those admiring the performance of Eitan and Holiday Compadre on the screen asked the question.
We had a ton of fun and really relate to the great horsemanship principles that Cowboy Dressage is based on. I’m just sorry we don’t have photos to share.
Greg has been occupied with one of his favourite pastimes … float loading training with the babies. River Gum, Gamble and Sassafras were all introduced to the float, walking on and off several times. They each displayed their individual personality traits on the first day. River Gum treated it as a new adventure, his self-confidence displayed for all to see – he came, he saw, he conquered. What’s next?
Gambel Oak thought he might prefer to be doing something else at first – anything other than be bothered with walking on a float … a small amount of convincing and then he was totally with the program and walking on and off like a veteran. Sassafras, being the female in the group, had to have an opinion about what was going on. She is a young filly who likes to be given a moment to make up her own mind about the task at hand. She was cautious but then, so very courageous. She is a modern girl. Only a 50/50 partnership works for her. J
The next day Greg was mightily impressed with the change in both Gambel and Sassy – no questioning or cautiousness in sight and both completely confident in the whole walking on and backing out process.
Ruth McGill was playing with her young colt, Wilga Park River Gum, while Greg was giving the kids their second shot at float loading. I watched as Ruth used her Quantum Savvy skills in doing a little training with River. I was gob-smacked when, in a very short time, River was walking around the yard and heading to the ‘safe’ spot in the middle where the lead rope was lying. Ruth had told me that was the objective and I honestly did not think I would see it happen. Ruth and River are going to be a spectacular team in years to come.
We had another ‘how amazing is this colt’ moment when Greg was giving River some of the basic training our kids get prior to going to their new owner. River was totally awesome with every new thing he came across! He handled the Trail paddock like a true veteran … mastering the teeter-totter (see-saw) without a blink. Greg was prepared for River to leap into his lap when the balance of the teeter-totter changed and hit the ground … but not this brave boy … he knows he can conquer the world, so a little old teeter-totter was not going to faze him.
We have enjoyed the company of some visitors of late. Two Cortez Admirers from different events found their way to Wilga Park to visit him and meet the foals.
Darleen saw Cortez at EKKA one year in his Breed Expo stable and decided to come meet him again, as he made such a huge impression on her. Elisa met Cortez at Total Equine Expo last September and has been planning a visit for a good while. A wonderful few hours were spent talking about Morgan horses with each of our visitors … one of our favourite past times.
Wilga Park Silver Sabre is growing into a handsome young colt. I decided to pull him out of the paddock to walk him around the trail paddock. Tammy-Lee Penney, with her boy, Wilga Park Summer Storm joined us. Storm is full brother to Silver Sabre but born just 3 months later as they were both carried by surrogate mares for Eagleview Skybeau - aka Calypso. Storm had been around the paddock before but Sabre had not.
I can’t express the joy in my heart as Sabre showed how sensible, how brave and how intelligent he is as he conquered every obstacle without fear. Even the sudden, unexpected appearances of the stealthy, grey kelpie creeping through the grass and jumping out from behind log piles did not faze him. I kept imagining what an awesome stallion he is going to be to ride!
Greg, who had been our photographer, thought we were having way too much fun, so decided to have a little play with Sabre as well. Greg is way more adventurous than I am and had Sabre trotting over and around the Steps.
We have been so busy, winter seemed to slip by in a blink!
Once again the Breed Expo at EKKA was a huge success for the Morgan horse. Without the dedication of Lisa Wong (with the support of her husband, Tim) the Morgan Horse would not be represented in the Breed Expo Pavilion. Year after year, no matter what is on Lisa’s personal plate of whatever ‘Life’ is dishing up, she has managed to ensure we have an excellent Morgan Breed Display. Thank you once again, Lisa and Tim. I tip my hat to you in total appreciation. Greg and Cortez enjoyed their time in the arena and we loved being there. It truly is a spectacular event.
Back home at Wilga Park, progress is being made in the already awesome Trail Paddock. One man’s Trash is another man’s Treasure! Greg spotted a ‘half a bridge’ in Megan Schimke’s (Rachel Whan of Hodgson Park’s sister) paddock and Megan’s husband, Daniel, (an Engineer who builds roads) was happy to have it removed – so he used his awesome equipment to deliver it. How lucky are we! Greg and Tam have modified it to make it into an excellent entrance into the Trail Paddock.
Greg and Cortez attended a 4-day Ken Faulkner clinic recently. As each Clinician has different terminology, different styles, different ways of getting the same result, Greg opted to go into the ‘Beginners’ level, rather that go straight to the ‘Riding’ level. He totally enjoyed his time with Ken and the crew, as Ken is an awesome Instructor (rather like Ian Leighton in that respect). Ken explains things in such a way that everyone can understand. When it came to day 4; the day that all the practice on the ground was to be put into practice, Ken borrowed Cortez to demonstrate what he was teaching. We think he may have been enjoying Cortez a little as, even though he told Greg, twice throughout the morning, he should give him his horse back, he didn’t step out of the saddle until 5 minutes before the session finished. Greg didn’t mind at all!! - Particularly as Ken made Cortez look SO good under saddle.
Wilga Park Cabernet (the filly I thought I was going to keep for my grandchildren and then changed my mind as, really, the kids are only here intermittently) has given us an insight into the awesome work Terrance Rowe does when he starts a horse. On Jane Warren’s recommendation, we chose Terrance to further Cabernet’s training. Terrance started at the beginning of his program and within 5 weeks, Cabernet had experienced and accepted almost anything one would expect a horse to encounter in their life as a riding horse, with the kindest horseman one could meet. It would take a novel to express how happy we are with each of the experiences Terrance gives the horses he starts.
We are very happy to welcome Elizabeth (Liz) Baynham, from NSW into the Wilga Park family. Liz fell in love with Cabernet and they will have a Brilliant Career together. Their Brilliant Career may simply be a life of fun Trail Rides, but it will be Brilliant no matter what form it takes.
The Queensland Total Equine Expo was another huge success this year. The Presenters at this Event were exceptional.
Wilga Park Morgans had a booth at the Expo and Cortez was our representative in the Breed Stables. Cortez truly is a Legend! He was the ‘Go To’ horse for all the Presenters in the ‘Information and Education’ arena. Trisha McCagh of Animal Talk had an informative ‘conversation’ with Cortez on both days; Craig Robinson used Cortez as the ‘Saddle fit’ horse and Tanya Mitton and her young rider used Cortez as the demo horse for the session ‘The Training Scale for Rider position’.
It was fabulous to see a few Wilga Park Kids owners at the Expo, in particular Kath Fry and her daughter Emma. Tammy-Lee Penney was, of course, a Wilga Park supporter for the weekend and she and Kath had lots of news to share.
The highlight for us was when Ken Faulkner (who was one of the internationally acclaimed Presenters in the main arena over the two days) agreed to ride Cortez in the 5 minute Morgan Breed Display. It was a ‘puff out your chest with pride’ moment for me. I deserted the Wilga Park booth to go watch the performance in the Main Arena … there was no way I was going to miss it. I had a little smile when a member of the audience yelled to Ken – “Did you breed that horse, Ken?’ and Ken pointed to Greg standing outside the arena and said, ‘No, you’d better go speak to that man!’
Ken said, when he and Kath popped over to the Wilga Park booth a little later, that he wasn’t too sure just what Cortez could manage and realised (half way through a move) that if he had set him up just a little better, he would have performed an even tighter canter pirouette. Phhhhttt …the canter pirouette he managed looked damned fine to me! Linda Shore had established that training and, even though Cortez was unfit, he responded beautifully.
On Monday, after the Total Equine Expo weekend, Red Bluff Evette foaled down at 9.38am with her glorious Cortez smokey black colt. He is a little Cracker! He has personality plus, confidence that could never be shattered, and he has the ‘look’ that you just can’t tear your eyes away from. Wilga Park Eclipse is ready to make his mark on the world! Jane Warren (Evette’s owner) was here to witness the birth of this beautiful boy. I hope she can be here for her ‘heart-horse’, Wilga Park Malaynee’s, foal (by Wilga Park Conquistador). It is due to arrive in the first few days of October. We feel blessed that Jane has leased these two mares to us.
September was topped off by a visit from a lovely family, Michelle and Issie Forsythe. Michelle had discovered Morgans and was keen to meet some in the flesh. We invited her to Total Equine Expo and, if she liked what she saw, a visit to Wilga Park. We spent an awesome day with Michelle and Issie. Cortez was his handsome self and obliged us with a photo shoot with Issie. The herd enjoyed a number of hours of grooming, with Michelle and Issie getting covered with horse hair. Then Oscar did his ‘Thing’ and gave Issie the Morgan Experience as a riding horse. Greg offered to give Issie a lemon to suck to try to get the smile off her face … which only made that beautiful smile become broader!
To say the last two months have been eventful is an understatement … but we would have it no other way.
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