December 2006

Ride on, the Bogongs are open and unburnt.
Our area of the Alpine National Park has been re-opened for our summer tour program.
The bushfires are now described as contained and have not burnt any of the country featured in our Mount Bogong Tours. The Western (Mansfield) end of the Alpine National Park remains closed. I have just been advised (Friday 29th Dec) that the unburnt country north and east of Falls Creek, including the Nelse Range and Mount Bogong have been opened for our operations.
Those clients booked on the 6th January ride should plan on the ride going ahead. Please be assured that as this section of the Park is opened it will be safe to visit, and being unburnt, as beautiful as ever. We carry satellite phones as well as Web abled next G phones so we can be well informed of any future developments.

Looking from Mount Bogong, across the Staircase Spur at the Kiewa Valley far below.
Meanwhile our daily trail ride program is fully operational, and visitors are encouraged to return to our Valley to enjoy their summer holiday. The fire scars are barely visible and the smoke has cleared.
For those customers booked on one of our “cancelled” December rides, please contact us about alternative dates that may suit your travel plans.
If any one is considering booking one of our scheduled tours, you can assume that they will be going ahead. Some of the Mount Fainter program may move to Mount Bogong, but it’s all great country. If you have any specific queries please contact Steve or Kath. Contact details.

The young and happy crew for 2006-2007 Oct 2006

What a fantastic team of keen and skilled young workers we had last year. The younger Baird generation Lin and Clay, longtime family member Tom, longtime family friend Brodie, longtime sidekick Wayne and world travellers Emilie and Orianne (France), Shayna and Laura (England) Dianna pictured left (Germany) and Danielle (USA). This summer/autumn we are planning on the return of Clay, Tom and Brodie and no doubt some happy world travellers will fall our way.
Shayna, pictured below with Clay has extended her visa, and is working in Melbourne. Her friend Laura has returned to England. Meanwhile Clay has spent this year at film school in Melbourne.

Lin, Brodie and Tom spent 3 months honing their packing skills working with the horses and mules at Rock Creek Pack Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. Lin, as an old hand at Rock Creek, tells tales of some spectacular country visited this year including the infamous Forester Pass. He must have been working pretty hard as he seems to have worn his pants out.

Brodie, pictured left during a clinic in the yards At Bogong Horseback Adventures, came to us last summer after running out of patience with life in Melbourne, and took to the hills with enthusiasm. Reports from California suggest that his enthusiasm has grown and we hope to see him in the saddle again here at Bogong Horseback Adventures for this summer. He and Lin are planning a trip to Europe on their way home from the Sierras.
Danielle, pictured below with Lin has returned to the USA, and is looking at further studies. We wish her well.

Tom has charmed his way into the home paddock at Rock Creek, working the boss’s horses and sweet-talking his niece. We just hope he doesn’t forget his Aussie home, because there are a heap of young horses needing a bit of his sweet talk back here at Bogong Horseback Adventures.

Emilie first arrived with her friend Orianne. Emilie has returned to France, and is currently looking at settling in London for a while, perhaps to complete a teaching degree. We will certainly miss her cakes and cooking this summer, not mention her happy smiling face and enthusiasm.

Wayne meanwhile has “gone to Queensland droving, and we don’t know where he are” well we do actually, he has taken up a position on a cattle station, and we wish him well on his new venture.

Meanwhile back in the Kitchen, Steve and Kath work at keeping the dream alive, feeding organising, training, the young crew and planning, provisioning and organising the tour program, plus all that goes with running a business and farm.
Still we are not complaining because we live in beautiful part of the world, meet some fantastic people, sit down to some memorable meals for 12 in the kitchen and still have time for a local wine and an escape to the studio to work on our latest art pieces.

Packing School & Bush Camping clinic 5 Day Ride

Tim Cope was awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s Adventurer of the Year award this week. When planning this latest adventure Tim spent time with Bogong Horseback Adventures learning to ride as well as the horse and packing skills needed to embark on his great adventure. Bogong Horseback Adventures is proud to be associated Tim, well done!
On 31 May 2004, Tim set out to travel 10,000 km on the trail of Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Hungary by horse. Within a week his horses were stolen. Undeterred, he’s now travelled around 7500 km and will arrive in Hungary for the 800th anniversary celebrations of Genghis Khan’s empire. Although he’s faced temperatures ranging from -52 to 54°C, Tim says adventure is not about conquering the elements but learning about the world by immersing himself in different cultures, landscapes and situations.
Tim is a previous recipient of the Australian Geographic Society’s Spirit of Adventure and Young Adventurer of the Year awards. US magazine Outside included Tim as one of the top young 25 explorers/adventurers in the world today. ! To read about Tim’s adventures go to his web site.
Perhaps your plans are little less grand than Tim’s, simply a few weekends away in the bush, camping with horses. Our packing School (scheduled for Sat 2nd Dec 2006 – Wed 6th Dec 2006) will equip with you with basic knowledge to safely and confidently head bush with your horses. The program includes preparation, shoeing, fitness, feed, equipment, planning, hobbles, portable fences, environmental management, equine first aid, carrying food safely etc For further details go to our tour program.

Wild horses, Natural beauty and Natural Horsemanship Oct 2006

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.
Check out the full program for this coming 2006-2007 summer/autumn program at our website.

July 2006

Mid winter in the Victorian High Country and our thoughts go beyond the snow-covered mountains outside, to the promise of another great summer season of horses in the Alpine National Park.
Our long established packhorse tours of the best of the Bogongs are once again offered, as is our program of Natural Horsemanship mobile clinics, combining our renowned guiding with the talents and bush wisdom of Wayne Banney.
You will also notice a new offering this year, packing school where we will be conducting a tour that focuses on teaching the skills of using packhorses and wilderness camping with horses.
A more comprehensive newsletter will follow in a few months. Right now Steve is about to leave for the North West of Australia, assisting on a 4WD expedition to the Western deserts and the Canning Stock Route with Diamantina Tours.
After a long summer with BHA, eldest son Lin and staffers Brodie and Tom are heading to the USA to sharpen their skills at Rock Creek Pack Station, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Kath will be keeping the home fires burning, and would welcome any phone inquiries about the upcoming season. 03 5754 4849. Steve will answer emails on his return from the desert.
Check out the full program, contact details and ride descriptions on our web site

A picture tells a thousand words, a video a thousand pictures? Jan 2006

Clay Baird, recently returned from guiding tours in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and travels in Central and South America, joined us on a recent ride over the Fainters. He has produced a short video as a glimpse of riding with Bogong Horseback Adventures. We will make this available on our web site shortly.

Good Seasons Return to the High Country Jan 2006

Spectacular seed strike and regrowth in the Woollybutt (Eucalyptus Delegatensis) forests on Big Hill after the 2002 alpine bushfires are a testament to the return of good seasons and the remarkable relationship between fire and the Australian bush.
We start and finish our rides in the in the rich fertile Kiewa Valley, resplendent with mountain fed fast flowing rivers. An environment rich in agricultural abundance producing quality beef cattle, dairy cattle on the irrigated flats, wine grapes to be harvested in the autumn, olives, chestnuts and green tea.
As the horse team climbs the hills and mountains we witness a remarkable range of plant communities. The lower level forests of mixed species are a diverse and aromatic place with dry open woodland on the north facing slopes and temperate rainforests of tree ferns in the shady gullies.
Then we strike the woollybutts, a single species forests indicating the lower levels of winter snow, tall forests with a limited understorey. Here in the Alpine ash the spectacular post fire regrowth is most evident, with a thick carpet of young trees racing for the sky, to be tallest, to dominate.
When we strike the winter snowline on our climb towards the clouds we also move into the magical world of the snowgums. Twisted by weather and time, each tree a character with the seasons etched into its form. Beautiful in sunny weather and powerful shapes in the fog when the clouds descend on to the mountains.
To break through the tree line and out onto the High Plains, on your horse, is a moment that every rider treasures, a moment of freedom and promise that you hold for life.
Now I give my horse his head
On a sunny high plains day,
To freely canter as he will
Across the Pretty Valley way.

Fair Girls and Grey Horses Oct 2005

Riders from the last few summers will remember Olivia, the young English women with a passion for horses, hippos and most hairy creatures. Olivia married her long suffering and not so hairy Thomas at London Zoo this month, so we at Bogong Horseback Adventures toast their good health, wish them well on this new adventure and hope to catch up with them in Zambia in the not too distant future.
Glenn rang and booked a trail ride for two with us. He was very particular about detail and wanted us to know that it was a surprise for his girlfriend. Rhiannon was not the only one surprised when Glenn popped the big question on the side of Little Mount Bogong. And in front of the gathered riders Glenn was relieved to not get a knock back. A bottle of fizz back at the stables was shared by all with a toast to Rhiannon and Glen.
Former staffer Courtney Greer is also getting married this spring. We look forward to joining Courtney and Ben at Mount Buffalo Chalet for the celebrations. Courtney spent some of her summer holidays working with our horses here at Bogong Horseback Adventures, went on to study outdoor recreation and then took off on an adventure working with the horses at El Questro Station in the Kimberly. Some where along the way Ben crossed her path, and we are delighted that they are now travelling “stirrup iron to stirrup iron.” We wish them well in this latest adventure.

Springtime in the Mountains Oct 2005

Springtime is always a time of building and growth here at Bogong Horseback Adventures. We are planning to construct staff accommodation over the coming months as part of our plan to introduce a program in horsemanship especially designed for young travellers. What better Australian experience for backpackers than to live and work with Australians and horses while learning about natural horsemanship, packhorses and the skills of being a tour guide.
Former partner in the business Nerada Rink has returned to our mountain home over the past few weeks with her new family to join us in the starting of our yearlings and two year olds. We have enjoyed working young horses with Nereda again, and seem to have aquired some keen starters for next summer in Fern and Terese.
Matt Willey has returned from his time with the mules and horses at Rock Creek Pack Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. You can catch up with Matt’s stories, of lost stock and thunderstorms at 10,000 feet, around the campfire this summer.
Meanwhile the younger Bairds, Lin and Clay, are currently on the horse drive at Rock Creek, loose herding over 100 animals from the high summer camp down to the winter pastures.

Horse Designed by a Committee Oct 2005

They say a camel is a horse designed by a commitee. I reckon they deserve better than that and so does regular rider with Bogong Horseback Adventures Jill Pickering who took to riding of a different sort last April. Jill has always enjoyed the mobility horses offer her, and a chance to climb mountains. Now she has crossed deserts, spending 5 days with Phil Gee from William Creek in outback South Australia. Jill reports her trusty mount Mr Wobbles probably thought he had met his match. Phil is passionate about his patch of Australia and his animals, so rather than consult a committee, just choose one of Phil’s tours if you are planning an outback camel experience.
Meanwhile Steve has spent some of this winter working on tour with Andrew Dwyer of Diamantina Tour Company, traversing some spectacular remote areas of Australia in the saddle of his Toyota Landcruiser. From the Halls Creek to Wiluna on the Canning stock route, Yalara to Coober Pedy in the tyre tracks of Len Beadell and Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the footsteps of Burke and Wills the experience is always a blast.
Well done Jill, and anyone looking for winter tour activities when our mountains are covered with snow can get more information from our web site.