Origins of Spring Spur Stock Horse Stud
In 1986 Steve and Kath arrived in the beautiful Kiewa Valley with a truck load of horses and a dream. Over time those horses became a team that understood and worked beautifully at the challenges and rewards of a life in the mountains. Most of the original team have since gone to the "Stockyard in the Sky", but their mountain ways are continued by a young keen team. The youngsters have not had to learn the ropes the long way, they have inherited the "mob" knowledge of mountain work, and adapted to this life from an early age.
Along the way we have strived to breed a team of horses ideally suited to mountain work. Our early breeding included putting local horse "Tom's" stallion over a brumby mare we had. A splendid result of this was "Feathertop", a black mare, still a star on the team. We also acquired a couple of local horses including a Stock Horse mare called "Ellie" whom we bought from highly regarded local horseman Wally Ryder. These horses are descendants of a long line of mountain bred horses.
In 1989 we were fortunate to have Australian Stock Horse Stallion "Inca Gold" come to stand here at Spring Spur. Inca was a descendant of renowned Stock Horse lines Radium, Bobby Bruce and Abbey. He was the foundation of our breeding program with grandson "Eddie", carries on the role. Eddie, out of a Thoroughbred mare, is by Bogong Jack, himself out of a brumby mare.
Todays team includes the progeny of this heritage and features remarkably able, manageable and talented horses. Horses bred on our property are named after special places and landscapes in the mountains. Hence we have Feathertop, Dargo, Dungey, Mitta, Bogong Jack, Eskdale, Lankey, Bundarra, Swindler and many others.
Each season Spring Spur Australian Stock Horse Stud turns out a group of foals.
At Spring Spur we are proud of the hard earned reputation of our mountain horses. This is the culmination of years of breeding training and managing our horses to make them happy, skilled and rewarding mounts.
We use Australian stock saddles for their durability, comfort for horse and rider and suitability for mountain riding. We have a range of saddles from open seated styles that suit freer riding and deeper-seated saddles offering more security. All the saddles are fitted with breastplate and crupper to make them more secure in steeper country.
Our riding gear includes Australian made extended head bridles, our own red hide reins fitted with a Kimberly knot, hobbles for each horse and straps, saddlebags and points for all your gear.
Our "plant" and camps continue the traditional theme with swags, Bedourie ovens, all leather Australian pack saddles and bags.
We do make a few concessions to modern comfort, "thermarest" mattresses in the swags, chilled food containers, solar camp light, solar electric fence and satellite navigation and communication aids.
Our fire-cooked meals include local produce, wines, smokehouse smallgoods and goodies from the farmhouse kitchen and garden.
Our respect for our hard working team is many fold. We respect the beauty, power and grace of all horses, we respect their wild heritage as herd animals and we recognise that the strength and instincts of a horse need to be harnessed in a safe and respectful manner.
The principles and practice of natural horsemanship is followed world wide, and manifests in many different forms. By understanding the instincts and impulses that drive a horse and the behaviour of herd animals, we humans can develop strong working relationships with these large animals.
At Spring Spur we have developed training and management practices that recognise the unique working environment of our horse team. An environment of wild mountain landscapes, steep and narrow tracks, bush camping with light weight electric fencing, nose bags, wild brumbies and sometimes wild weather.
Our team can safely transport riders of all levels of ability into this remote landscape with enthusiasm, safety and fun. As Kath's grandfather said of horses, "the day you think you know everything is the day you never put your foot in the stirrup again."
Bogong Horseback Adventures manage their working stock, train their home bred replacement horses as well as the guiding staff according to the principles of Natural Horsemanship, first introduced to Steve and Kath when they attended a "difficult horse" clinic about 15 years ago.
That clinic was conducted by Wayne Banney and proved to be a quantum leap in the understanding, training and working of horses at Bogong Horseback Adventures.
These days Wayne Banney joins the team at Bogong Horseback Adventures every summer for a program of clinics conducted out on the track, rather than in the yards. This program combines the renowned guiding skills of Bogong Horseback Adventures with Wayne's unique insight into the horse world, in a working environment. The touring clinics offer plenty of opportunities for real world challenges for horse and rider, whatever your current skill level, with Wayne's advice available all day as you ride through the spectacular landscape of the Bogongs and the best of the Victorian High Country. Riders can bring their own horse along, so both horse and rider can benefit from the program.
The regular sighting of brumbies offers further insights into the behaviour and instincts of the horse, be they wild or domesticated.
The balance of our summer program is conducted by our experienced and knowledgeable staff who continue the theme of Natural Horsemanship.
Handled regularly as foals, running with the herd as yearlings, started in the foundations of natural horsemanships as two year olds and working the remote High Country as four year olds builds a well rounded, work ready horse, comfortable in the bush and yard, ready for challenges and further education.
Spring Spur Stud has developed a horse breeding program that meets market demand and is based on strong High Country Horse bloodlines and recognised stud practice.
Who could forget Louie the packhorse, he bucked first thing every working day of his life, then settled into the task at hand; carting the food and wine across rugged landscapes, never breaking an egg. Louie received valentine cards for years and now enjoys his retirement in the lush valley pastures.
Louie, Captain and Tally carted two and a half tonnes of sand and cement up the infamous Eskdale spur for the extension on Cleve Cole Hut on Mt Bogong. Clancy disappeared in a snowstorm in Pretty Valley, only to turn up back at Tawonga two days ahead of the main mob. He even managed to unload his pack somewhere along the way.
Digger somehow led an entire tour group across Mt Fainter in whiteout conditions during a three day blizzard, yet he had only been that way once before.