THE LIGHT HORSEMAN
His name was Dave Bishop, an old Derro who lived in Yankalilla. He dropped in one Day, to Comic Court Lodge and introduced Himself, saying that he had been in the ” Light Horse” but no longer had the opportunity because he didn’t have a Horse anymore. He liked a Beer and we found Him dropping in regularly, around ‘knock off time’ and enjoying the end of the Day with all the Boys and their yarns and ‘Tall Stories’ about their Day on the Ranch, riding the Race Horses, Riding School Horses and ‘Breakers’. Old Dave was in his element but again, never brought a Beer along, just like the THE BOY FROM THE BUSH OR WAS HE ( below)
The Yankalilla Show was upcoming and indeed, it would be his Life’s Dream, to ride in the Troop. We decided to make his Day 🙂
On the Property, we had an 18 Hands Old Percheron, named ‘Bo Jangles’ so we decided to train Him up for the Grand Parade at the Yankalilla Agricultural Show, where the “Light Horse’ were to indeed, lead the Parade. Imagine if we could get Old Dave up to scratch.
So we first decided to to train Bojangles up to Harness, in other words throw everything at the Horse in order to ‘Bomb Proof’ Him for his first time experience, out in Public and indeed, in among Cows, Farm Equipment and all the other things You see in the Grand Parade, of course to protect the Passenger ( who would be like a Rag Doll )
One evening, having got Him going reasonably, we decided to all go up to the Normanville Pub , by harnessing up ‘Bo Jangles’ and hooking Him to a Brick Pallet, which we would head up the Main South Road, on the Bitumen, all jumping on for the ride….away we went ……..
However, we only got 100 Metres, when one of the Boys’ Dogs, an American Staffie, completely lost his plot at the noise of the Pallet being dragged on the Bitumen, that he started attacking all of us. He went Mad 🙂 Thankfully, the Pallet was full of Young Cowboys with ‘Cuban Heeled Boots’ and I tell You, the Dog copped as good as he gave, ending with Him being driven off………and to the Pub we went
A Hell of a Night. You should have been there
Well, along came the Yankalilla Show and we got permission for Dave to lead the Troop, all dressed up in the Uniform, with sundry War Medals adorning his Chest, which was pushed out so far he looked like Statue 🙂
The Grand Parade assembled and after devising a way to get Him on the Horse, off a Hay Stack, away they went, entering the Oval with Dave Bishop out in front, Grin from Ear to Ear and Old ‘ Bo Jangles’ plodding along like he had done it for many Years
Well, he went a full lap, not looking back once, transfixed on the course ahead, but when he reached the entrance Gate ( where the Grand Parade participants were still entering…..Jersey Cows, john Deere Tractors, Hay Balers, the odd Alpacca and much more) he lost the plot. Instead of stopping, he kept on riding, straight through the entrants’, leaving the Troop stationary, on the other side.
It was one of the funniest things we have ever seen and he ended about 100 metres in front of the rest of them, still pushing the Chest out and with Old Bo Jangles looking equally Proud. He never did re-join them, he couldn’t hahahahaha. A true shambles and worth all our work ………roll on 2018……….
Back in the Day, I owned a 410 Shotgun and my Brother, sundry Veterinary equipment, including a set of brand new Emasculaters, for gelding out own Horses. We lost track of them back then and had no idea where they had gone.
The Phone rang one Day and it was a Country Police Officer from North Queensland……..” Mr John O’Leary?……..yes………You are registered as owning a 410 Shotgun, is that right? ………Well Officer, we used to have one in the Family, I think it was my Dad’s but we have lost total track of it. The South Australian Police have asked us a few times……….Ok then, do You know a Bloke called Dave Bishop???????? ………..………..I sure do know Him, why?????……….well he died last Week and when we went through his House, we found this Shotgun!………..”
The bloody Old Bastard I exclaimed, so he knocked it off!!!!!!!!!…….You didn’t happen to find a set of Emasculaters did you????????…..to which he answered, ” as a matter of fact we did Thanks Officer, send it down when You get a chance.
Well it took 6 Months but he posted it in normal Australia Post Mail would You believe ( for we can hardly have one out of the Gun Safe……seems odd to me) but it duly arrived and I have shot about 100 Rabbits with it since.
So there You go. The Bastards’ I have met. ……… You never know who will be next
THE BOY FROM THE BUSH…..OR WAS HE??????
” As I glanced across the back of our Paddocks, I saw Him tearing down the Hills of the adjoining Equestrian Centre. I swear, he looked like the ‘ Man from Snowy River’.
The thing that struck me most, was the Hat. It was a ‘ Dead Ringer’ for Sim Dusty’s, in fact, he looked a lot like Slim Dusty and I was left with the clear impression, that he could ride like Hell 🙂
A couple of Weeks later, ‘ blow me down’ he drove in the front Gate, I knew Him instantly,
because of the Hat. I wonder what he wanted?
After initial intro, he spoke of his concern for a problem with the Wither of his Horse, a Standardbred Pacer, just off the Track. Of course, I agreed and we jumped in the Car and went around…….
What I saw was truly shocking, the Horse had Puss pouring out between the Vertebrae at the top of the Wither, just where the front fo the Saddle Site, the Puss encrusted down the Shoulder, the Legs and to the Ground.
I couldn’t believe my eyes
I asked to examine his Saddle and was shocked to find no padding below the Cantle and a sharp lump of Steel that had been bearing his weight as he sped across the Paddocks for 2 Weeks. Oh, the mighty Standardbred, God’s Horses 🙁 I simply don’t know how he coped with it. The Horse was put down a couple of Days later 🙁
Anyhow, the Bloke started dropping in to our evening Camp Fires, with my Apprentice Horsemen and he did that for a Month or so. Drank plenty but never brought along a Beer 🙂
He said he was from Broken Hill and that his Brother ran a Trail Riding Outfit up there and this fitted well with his image…..and his Hat We had no reason at all, to view Him as anything other than a Top Horseman.
He asked me start an unbroken 2 Year Old Palamino Quarter, which I did but apart from my Hand over Ride, on our arena at Gainsborough, at the walk, we never saw Him Ride. It was quite bizarre!!!
Down the back of our Property, I had the Horse agisted in a Paddock, that had a massive and sprawling Gum Tree, with low hanging Limbs. The only time we saw Him ride the Young Horse, was in it’s Paddock ( something never done before on the Property) and BEHIND the big Gum Tree. It was quite some talking point around the Equestrian Centre and sure had us puzzled as well
Anyhow, the following Week, we were all planned to ride newly started Horses, out around the Suburb and invited ‘ The Man from Snowy River” along with us. ” No worries” he replied but wasn’t up to the stage of taking his Pally, so we organized a very quiet Appy that was hanging around the Property at the time. So we all saddled up and out the gate we went…………
It took me about 50 metres, to become quite confused about what he was doing upon the Horse. It was wandering all over the place and considering we were traveling along the edge of an 80k speed limit Suburban Road which was quite dangerous. I found myself starting to instruct Him in Rein Steering, just like a first time Learner Rider. It was bizarre and I was confused, surely he had to be a Horseman??????
Anyhow, we traveled and made it down the road about 300 metres, to where there is a Cross Roads. On one Corner is a Church and to the left, a Cemetery but we were traveling to the right, to go to the Cobblers Creek Trails for a few Miles. We were joking and laughing as usual and had taken our minds off ‘The Man’, so we had turned to the right and traveled about 100 metres when suddenly one of the Boys’ asked where he had gone??…he wasn’t with us!!!! We looked back and to our shock and dismay, he had TURNED LEFT and was off his Horse, in front of the Cemetery, with hands on his knees……and VOMITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I won’t tell You what the conversation was on our side of the Road but, as one, we knew right then that he had been scamming us from Day one and indeed, that he was a total fraud. Ge got us
We simply rode off and left Him, being most relieved when we got Home, that the Horse had been returned unscathed and had survived the experience.
We don’t know where he went or what was the fate of the lovely 2 year Old but will never forget Him. Rest in Peace lovely Standardbred Horse. We never did get a Beer out of Him but he must have drank 10 Cases of ours 🙂
LISTEN TO YOUR HORSES
Mrs. HP was offered a very nice Warmblood Horse, from Holland and flew there to have a ride. At the time she was having Lessons with a Dutch National Squad Member and so she took the Horse for a group of Lessons, to be able to make up Her mind whether to proceed or not. ($25,000 Air Freight)
Of concern, was the tendency of the Horse to suddenly throw its Head, up into the Face of the Rider and then go on fine, even though the temperament of the Horse was perfect. So in order to rule out any major problems for the future, we decided to pay to have the Horse ridden and trained, for 6 Weeks, after which Mrs. HP would fly back to Holland, taking me with Her, for a final look, prior to Purchase. This is what we saw……..
Indeed, the Horse was precisely the same, with the same problems that were present 6 Weeks earlier.
So whilst no one was around, I got the Horse out of the Stable and examined it’s Mouth of course and what I did find was of course the entire reason for the behaviour of the lovely Horse, it’s TEETH HAD NEVER BEEN DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I booked a Horse Dentist but due to the extent of the problems that He found, he suggested we take the Horse immediately to the Vet, to be treated under general anesthetic, ☹ which financially I didn’t need but couldn’t let the lovely Boy endure his pain. So off to the 800 Euro Vet treatment.
Now the first key step to every so called ‘problem horse’ is to eliminate the Veterinary’, and so we felt good that we had done the right thing by the Horse, albeit, much to the Dutch Coach’s irritation for she didn’t like me interfering.
So onward for another couple of Weeks, continued the Riding and Training but not with the Coach. She did the completely wrong and ruthless thing but refusing to answer phone calls after that but of course, we didn’t need Her.
Over the next two Weeks, we tested the Horse at length but found Him exhibiting other symptoms, associated with Horses that want to throw their Head up violent, but only now and again. It is because they are trying their Heart out, holding on, holding on until they can’t hold it any more and need relief from the pain associated with the problem and so throw the Head up for a while. This is almost always connected to ‘Sacroiliac issues’
The Horse did not come good and so we decided to reject Him, advising the Owner to not bother competing Him for he is unsound but before we left, we filmed a Video to assist others and any future Vet of where to look for possible diagnosis.
So we left Holland, advising the Owner to not compete the Horse again, let Him live happily in his Paddock (13 Year old) but by the time we arrived back in Australia, yep, she had leased Him to a Z Level (Medium) Rider (Male) who could ‘crunch him’ for a competition Life
So out to the Dressage he went, flogged around for 2 Years, at no time stopping his need to throw his Head in the Air, even for the strong Dutch Male. Finally, he went completely lame in a right-hand front Shoulder and was retired. Such a shame, so sad for the lovely Boy that he was.
“I wonder if they thought we had a Clue? “ ☹
THE YEARS OF BABY-SITTING CHILDREN
I was organizing my Sydney Clinic and a well known International Trainer ( who I had previously come to the aid and support of early in his Career for he was not being well received) who has made his name using the “Endorphin Tap’ told me that he had approached Equitana, about entering the next ‘Way of the Horse’ ( the Horse starting competition) They were sceptical They had agreed that they were will to assess Him, if he could find a venue to provide the opportunity, so I immediately offered to help Him by offering him the opportunity to do it at my Clinic. ( I must have been mad, thinking back)
He hit me up to pay his Air Fares from Hong Kong and I did, paid return Air Fares for the Trip. In fact, I paid all expenses for everyone involved, including from Western Australia for another Trainer and his Wife. (more about that later)
Anyhow, the Equitana People came and the Trainer put on his Show. ( Sandy Simmons was one of them)
We stopped all of our work for a long period (so as not to allow them to inspect ours of others systems) and he worked on a number of Horses. They decided to not invite Him to Equitana..
Anyhow, after returning Home, I was alerted to the fact that I had been unfairly scammed because and indeed, he had organized his own Clinic IN THE SAME VENUE, the Day after I had gone Home, and as well, flew onto New Zealand, for a pre-arranged Clinic over there, but didn’t inform me about. He kept it all a complete secret from me ……ex jockeys 🙁
Meanwhile, I noticed at the first Dinner at the end of Day 1, that there was subtle vibes going on, between another Trainer and His Wife, who I had flown from WA. I didn’t realize why but later found out that he had been on a ‘Bender’ the Night before, all Night, tracked by his Wife across Sydney, via the Credit Card, Night Club to Night Club. I couldn’t believe it!!!! …..2 for 2.
THE BINGE DRINKING TRAINER
When it came to the Melbourne Clinic, I was more aware of his activities and demanded of His Wife, a deal, whereby if I paid Her Air Fares from WA, as well as his, and gave Her a new Saddle ( which I did) that she would ‘Baby Sit’ him and ensure Professionalism for the massive task of dealing with 30 Horses over 2 Days, in front of a big Crowd. She agreed.
We drove 12 Hours from SA, towing the Float, arriving in Victoria at about 5pm and I almost ran off the Road when we approached the Gate of the Equestrian Centre for there he was AND HIS WIFE, he sitting on a new Carton of Beer and drinking. I held my Lip for all concerned but could have killed the Wife.
Later, I took everyone to a Local Pub, for Dinner and noticed that his Wife was sitting with our Group but Jennings, was up and down the Bar, drinking Bourbons and meeting all the Locals. Dinner was served about an Hour later and eye brows raised, when he came to the Dinner Plate, both eating their Meal with their bare Hands How embarrassing? Again, I held my Lip.
When I had booked the Equestrian Centre, I also booked 2 Holiday Units, one for us and one for he and his Wife. The MASTER Unit for us and the smaller one for them.
We arrived back and upon arrival at the Units, found that they had already moved into the Master Unit, so again, we held our Lip and settled in for an extremely important Night, to be able to face so many unbroken and ‘Problem Horses’ the next Day, in front of 300 People and desperately needing all the sleep we could get.
I haven’t probably mentioned this before but I have extreme Tinnitus, caused by being on the end of a Sniper’s Rifle for 2 Years ( without any Ear protection) I don’t wake up once asleep BUT I DID ON THIS NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…1am, from the noise of a Party, coming from their Room. I could not believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!
I asked Mrs. HP to text ring the complimentary Baby Sitter, the Wife but received no response, so a few Minutes later, I burst out of Bed and into their Room. There she was, sitting on the Bed, looking at the Mobile Phone, whilst Hubby Partied, still drinking but worse still, he had corralled another Trainer, Justin Halling from SA ( my Brothers apprentice) , who I had also brought across, to replace another South Australian who had been injured. Justin had flown in at around 9.30pm and He too could not get to Bed, he must have been shocked indeed.
I read the ‘Riot Act’ to He and Her and sent them to Bed. The Clinic proceeded successfully, amazing really, although extremely tiring and drained with it all. No more Clinics I declared to my Wife and NO MORE Apprentices. She happily agreed!
Not long after our return Home, I was contacted by a Lady who has been a big supporter of ours over the Years and she owns a big Horse Stud in Rural NSW. I didn’t realize it but at the Clinic, she had approached this WA Trainer and offered to fly Him from WA to work on Her string of Young Horses, which he did.
She contacted me shortly afterwards, beside Herself and severely traumatized, as were Her Horses, one being injured and requiring the Vet but there was more.
She actually had to move out of the Station after a few Days, staying with Her Mother in Town as she could no longer put up with the Drunken abuse to the Family, the physical abuse to the Horses and indeed, having to regularly clean Human Faeces off the Walls of the Toilet.
So it may come to no surprise that I cut ties with both aforementioned in this Story but we weren’t finished yet………..
BURNT TO DEATH
My Apprentice, also had an Alcohol problem but we didn’t realize that it was a severe as it was. One Night, we had a few Drinks around the Camp Fire at Gainsborough and around 11pm, everyone adjourned for the Night, to be ready for Work the next Day…….or we thought so………the Apprentice had not. He stayed alone, at the Fire, still drinking.
Some Hours later, I was awoken by the sound of a Male Voice in the Bedroom next Door but as I said, I couldn’t pick up exactly what was being said and immediately thought he must have escorted one of the last remaining Ladies to his Room and was enjoying Himself….I nodded off again.
Sometime later, Mrs. HP was awoken also and could hear the repeated sounds of moaning so she got up and gingerly entered his Room, shockingly to find Him in danger of Death with severe 3rd degree burns to his Legs. He had fallen to a drunken sleep at the Fire, which had set his Boots and Jeans on fire, where he must have awoken, ripping his clothes off (where they were burnt to shreds, as was his Mobile Phone) and staggered to his Bed rather than calling for help.
The first Ambulance that came immediately called a second one for he needed intensive care and immediate Morphine, drips and the works. So very sadly, after years of work, promotion of careers, we had 3 for 3 . We saved his Life that Night and he was in the intensive care burns unit for some time.
All very talented in their own right, all had much promise. I was telling an Old Mate of mine, Glen Denholm, a Master Horseman, also from NSW, about this and he gave me a Tip, he said…..” I learnt a long time ago, get a good Female. They are far more solid and won’t let You down.” I will always remember those words and have flirted with a few since but never completely put my name on them, in fear of being burnt again.
THE MAN WITH THE IRON BAR
One Day, at Golden Grove, we were riding 3 suspect Horses, down the Middle of Para Valley Road (which was dirt at that time) and very little Traffic as it only went up to the local Motor Cycle Track.
A Holden Torana with a Single Male Driver appeared behind us, traveling at about 60k and with no sign of slowing, as we struggled to get our Horses off the Road (which was most difficult due to steep Banks on each side.
One had just been banned from Racing in SA due to being a Barrier Rogue among other things and was suspect. I was on Him. The Second was a ‘Green Breaker’ with a tendency to Buck and had Bucked a couple of times that Week ( ridden by one of my apprentices) and the third was also a ‘Green Breaker’, a Warmblood who had Bolted with Michael Higginbottom prior to coming to our Property. So suspect Horses all around and with not a lot of control among us.
As I said, the Car didn’t slow and in fact as it neared us, he gunned it and went for the Apprentices’ Horse, almost striking it. I saw His Face and his intent was true. Probably on Drugs as well. Sensing Danger, I leapt off my Horse and picked up a Blue stone Gibber the size of a Cricket Ball.
He traveled a short way up the Road and suddenly did a burnout spin, gunning it again and charging straight towards us this time. He got to about 10 Metres away and I let Him have it with the Rock, which Hit the middle of the Bonnet, struck the Windscreen and rattled along the Roof. Weeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllll, all Hell broke loose 😊 He skidded to a Halt and came charging out the Door, with a 4-foot-long Iron Bar, screaming as He ran. You can just imagine the panic, the shying Horses, the dust and the action. Luckily, there was no Fence on the left as they were developing the Paddock at the time and I remember us three, galloping across the Hill with the assailant hot on our heels and indeed, too close for comfort. Hell he could run.!!!
The Apprentice was wearing a brand-new RM Williams Hat and that went flying off his Head, such was the Wind from the Speed we were traveling at 😊 It remained with the assailant. Anyhow, we managed to outrun Him, stay on our Horses and not see any Buck Jump Shows and stopped for a breather. He was down on his Hands and Knees, smashing the Ground and yelling “Dead F———s, Dead F———–s and then he sprinted back to his Car like a Lemann’s Driver and screamed off back down Para Valley Road. The Vehicle was hotted up and had loud exhaust. We could hear it. Right on Golden Grove Road, over the Hill a K and we thought He had left……silence as he went down through the Valley behind us but then all of a sudden, like something out of a Movie, he hurtled over the Kerb of the Street behind us, onto the Grass and charged at us to run us over.
At this point, we had Grass Paddock but with at least an 8 Degree slope, which we found ourselves once more, galloping down with Him in hot pursuit, off the edge of a Housing Construction cut out with a 2 Metre drop off, all still on the Horses and still no Buck. Thanks, God, for that was our greatest fear. Safe again.
Out he gets again, “Dead F————-s…….Dead F————s”, back into the Car and we hear Him screaming back through the Streets, out onto Golden Grove Road, Para Valley Road again and over the Kerb, this time uphill, attempting to get to us on the Building Sites. He failed. Too rugged.
“Dead F——-s………and off again, down Para Valley, right onto Golden Grove and You know the rest. This had gone on for 40 Minutes. We had rung the Police but they couldn’t find us. ☹
We debated what to do, Hat still back where it fell and never recovered 😊 but we came up with a Plan to wait for Him to be over in the Suburb behind us and we would shoot across the Road, out and attempt to get an Old Rusty Gate open, into an adjoining Mining Company 100 acres. You can imagine the Adrenalin!!!!!!!!!!!! You can also imagine the relief when the Gate Opened and we could hear Him roaring back along Golden Grove Road again, towards our direction.
Through the Gate, mounted up and we all raced off together, like 3 Thoroughbreds doing Track work. Hell those Horses grew up that Day. They were so possessed with watching the Dude, that they forgot all about their own issues and all proudly looked after us to keep us safe.
We dropped over their Neck ( forgetting their profiles) and chatted 1000 metres up the long Hill. “What about Your new Akubra Nathan?????” ……..”F—-the Akubra” and out of sight we went.
I wonder where he thought we had gone. Disappeared and out of sight. We certainly didn’t want Him to see which direction we had gone in for he would have sussed out maybe which Equestrian Centre we were from.
A few Days Later, my Apprentice went to the Shell Service Station at Golden Grove and who should pull into the Pumps?……yes, “The Man with the Iron Bar”, complete with Crutches and a Broken Leg. How did he get that. I wonder? I do hope it was from an Iron Bar!!!!!!!
HE DIDN’T LIKE THE ADVICE
I have Thousands of Stories of Agistees behaving badly over the Years but was reminded of this one when Serita Stratton from the Academy of Dressage has been fighting to remove 1 Star reviews ( in quick succession) on Facebook.
We had a Male Agistee a couple of Years back, named Craig——–from Lewiston. He was a devoted Father and a very talented Electrician but had some Personality traits that had the potential to make Him hard to handle should he not get his way. I had Him read in advance and trod most carefully around Him. He was great. He was responsible for installing a lot of the 12 Volt Power systems at Gainsborough and had his facility super.
Then one Day, Mrs. HP ( who never upsets a Soul) mentioned to Him that his Daughters Horse ( Daughter very nervous and Horse a Standardbred) which had fallen to the Ground more than once with Her, should possibly be Veterinary investigated or retired for the Horse presenting a real Danger to his Young Daughter.
. Mrs. HP rode the Horse for them, assessed it and could feel that if it were not for Her knowledge and experience, it would have also fallen with Her on that Day.
Weeeeeeeeeee’llllllllll, he fired up and verbally attacked Mrs. HP, upsetting Her quite a bit, for she is not used to that. I stayed away from it at that point, trying to keep the Peace and for his Daughters sake as well.
Then, not long after, ( I had stayed out of his vicinity as Mrs. HP runs Agistment) he approached me and complained that the Drainage run, on the side of our Road and in front of his Gate, was causing his Daughter to not be able to undo the Gate, as it was too high. ( which is was not of course and had been like it for 25 Years of agistees :)….. OK, so the Customer is always right’ and I altered the fall so that she could easily reach it……..all was well.
Then one Day, whilst driving the Bobcat past his facility, he stormed up to me with a bright red face, screaming at me. Screaming about how dare my Wife would say that his Daughters Horse was suspect and that he should get rid of it. I saw the other side of Him, which of course I always knew was below the surface.
Weeeelllllll :)……..he had ‘steam coming out of his Ears’ but this time he had gone too far. As I drove up 50 metres to the parking location for the Bobcat, he was coming along, screaming at me.
I parked it, turned it off and leapt out but he had then done the Bolt towards the exit Gate and Car Park, yelling “You touch me and I will call the Police and sue You for assault”….Hell that made me feel good, I thought I was Young again, where a Pensioner could put the fear up a 50 Year old “Big Fulla”
I do admit, I did get ‘the Irish up’ and I did walk after Him a bit, telling Him “to come here while I pull Your bloody ears off “
He left shortly after, purchased a place at Lewiston but 12 Months later, I looked over my Shoulder one Day as I felt vibes, at the Dressage when I was filming Mrs. HP, and there he was, 10 Metres behind me. His Daughter was competing…….but on a different Horse..…….”I wonder if he thought we had a Clue?”
Anyhow, to the point re Sarita Stratton, shortly after, an unknown Person gave us a lovely ..Google review bashing….not……..I could hear Him through the words 🙂
Yes, Google is a worry and there is much skulduggery going on in reviews on the Net. Don’t believe them Folks. Many are fraudulent. It’s a failing of the Net, just as we found out last Week in Dubai at the so called 5 Star Hotel that was actually a 3 Star.
It is time for Google and the rest, to be broken up.
I was living at Inglewood, in the Adelaide Hills and I had a cheap Horse advertised. A potential Buyer turned up and I had no idea what Her visit would trigger in the Years ahead.
She was obviously up to no good as she raised the subject of a Person who lived at Golden Grove, a Person I had never heard of and had no interest in. Absolutely nothing to do with the Sale of a Horse.
She went on to bad Mouth Him, even though she explained that she was renting a small Club House at the Property, meant to be for Equestrian activity use. She was attempting to get me to go along with Her Slander. She had no real interest in the Horse and she left.
Now it is significant that Her Brother was a Speed Cop, later to become my Neighbor on the other side of our Equestrian Centre that we later Purchased from Vendors who went Bankrupt. He would later die, allegedly from Suicide but with 2 Bullets involved. 1 in his Hand and one in his Head.
About a half an Hour later, the phone rang and it was future Neighbor, demanding to know why I had just slandered Him to a Girl who had been at my place. I related the truth of the matter to Him and indeed, jumped in my Car and went down to his Home and knocked on His Door ( not knowing that NO-ONE is ever allowed near his Home and especially his Clients, the Agistees, for the Property was an Equestrian Centre)
Anyhow, I explained to Him Face to Face and left without incident but I guess I was lucky for he was quite an imposing individual. I had no idea about his history. I forgot all about it.
About 12 Months later, we purchased our Equestrian Centre, also at Golden Grove, forgetting all about the earlier incident but over the following 10 Years, we sure were reminded of Him, for he was now our Neighbor on the Western Side and he came with quite a reputation. He had basically terrorized the District, Property by Property in 2 Year stints. These events included some of the following:
- Terrorizing the Neighbor adjoining his Southern Boundary, where the Tails of Eventing Horses disappeared in the Night, among other things. Then……
- That Gentleman ( an Earth moving Contractor) naively drove into Thug’s Property, with a Truck load of Fill, saying that he had been told by the then own of our Equestrian Centre, that he was wanting to build a Creek crossing and that he may want some fill.The Thug calmly said Yes, even after the Truckie explained that there were a few pieces of Concrete in among the Dirt as he was directed to the location and backed up to empty the load. All good.However, some time thereafter, the Truckie received a Summons to attend the Elizabeth Courts, for damages as the ‘Neighbor’ had to pay for the removal of it as it had a few pieces of Concrete in it.Now ‘The Neighbor’ was highly skilled in the Court and indeed won the Case but subsequently, the Truckie was found hanged to His Death :(** Remember the Magistrate
- Then one fateful Night, a Young Man snuck into the Neighbors 10 acre Property, which was secured well and was caught raiding a Drug Crop. He ran to his Car and took off up One Tree Hill Road, right on Seaview Road, pursued by ‘The Neighbor’, run off the Road and then shot in the Face with a Shot Gun, the Cartridge of which had been emptied of Lead and re-filled with rock Salt.At the same time, a Birthday Party had been taking place, in the Dining Room of what would become our Equestrian Centre, for a Young Lass and as the Candles were being blown out, the front Door of the Home was kicked in by Star Force Officers’ wielding Riot Shot Guns and Armalite Rifles………..they had gone to the wrong House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!In the run up to the Court Case, the witness was too fearful to assist the Police much and the case fizzled.
- On the Easter side of ‘ The Neighbor ‘ was another Equestrian Centre and regularly, he would jump the Boundary Fence in a rage and do things like Grab the Owner who would be teaching Horse Riding to a Pupil on the Arena, lift Him off the Ground by the Shirt front and ‘roar like a Bull’ at Him. Yes, it was a wonderful District to live.
Then we Purchased, not knowing about any of this and as I said, not even considering that he would be dangerous for I had gone and spoken to Him without event.
So we purchased, moved in and got down to work on the run down Property, not dreaming what would befall us in the Years to come He terrorized us for Years, basically Daily but often Nightly for he was the Master of leaving signs and to psychologically intimidate.
contd next Week…….but sorry, on my Blog, for it is a dangerous subject and I need to know who is reading.
THE PREMIER – HIS MATES – AND THE SMACK BEHIND THE EAR HOLE
Still at Normanville but back when I was 22, I always had a yearning to own a place called Tungalilla Beach Homestead. God’s own Country, a private Beach with half a kilometre of flat Country, running 3k along a totally private Beach and 480 acres on 6 Titles.
I couldn’t afford it of course and it had always been in the Family of the Bonyathons., it wasn’t even for Sale, but I used to Party with Young Richard Bonyothon back then, who had just inherited the Beach. It had been in the Family name forever. I asked Him if he would sell it and to my surprise, he said Yes. I couldn’t afford it of course, so I had to think fast, real fast!!
Dad had a Mate, Colin Freeman of Freeman’s Chemists in Hindley Street, My Fair Lady Theatre and St. Francis Winery. I went to see Colin and talked Him into buying it. He was supposed to cut me in for a share, but didn’t, but he did make my Dad, the Manager of the place.
As an aside, the old Homestead has a Ghost…named “Sexy Rexy” and often frightened visitors to the Home, all Friends of Colin and People in high places ( Barristers and others) in Adelaide, partying in private if you get my drift? One Night, he threw Plates clear across the Kitchen and smashed them into the opposite Wall, causing shrieks from some of the assembled guests.
It is located in Rugged Country where You can’t fight Bush Fires. It was private with no access to the Public. We spent many an evening, fishing for Mulloway off the Beach. I remember one Night, we were sitting on the Beach, just on Dusk and a Brown Snake slid right across my Dad’s Legs as he sat motionless, waiting for it to clear Him 🙂 I was outa there fast though, before it reached me!
anyhow, one Day, when we were at Comic Court, he rang us, to say that there were two Blokes on the Beach, ( in the middle of Summer) cooking Bacon and Eggs, near the Grass and that they had walked in ( 3k) from the Balquidder end. He had asked them to put the Fire out but they had refused, so he had driven back to the Homestead and phoned us, to come down and assist.
Several of us jumped in the 1 Tonne V8 Ute and powered the 20k down there, meeting Dad at the Homestead. He jumped in and as we were driving across the Paddocks, a couple of K down the Beach, he demanded of us all, the following…….”NO BLOODY FISTICUFFS, alright???????”!!!!!!!!!!!…….”Yes Dad, no worries. ”
We drove to nearby and walked up to the two Guys, (one standing and one kneeling over the Fire)…….Dad says and I quote as I’ll never forget the sequence, “Are You going to put the bloody Fire out? ” to which the one kneeling down replied, “No” and to our shock and Dad replied, with a short sharp right cross to behind the ear hole of the Fellow Weeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllll…….the Bloke exploded, leapt up and grabbed Dad in a Bear Hug with his Feet off the Ground for the Bloke was about 6 foot 6 inches high The other Bloke had scampered, bounding across the Paddock with two of our Young Apprentices in pursuit.
I had to choke Him off from behind. They decided then to leave the Beach and to hike back to their Cars. ” What about the no fisticuffs Dad??” ……but he didn’t answer that one 🙂 This wasn’t to be the end of it though!!
The following Morning, we got a Phone call from Detective Sergeant Wayne Yelland at the Victor Harbor Police, asking us to drive over for formal interviews for Assault, because the Premier ( Don Dunstan) had personally demanded it. You see, the two Trespassers, were Mates of his ( both Gay) and of course at that time, he was presiding over the formation of the ‘Family Murders’
So over we traipsed and after a little schooling by the Sarge, were interviewed one by one and the matter buried, but that wasn’t the end of it of course………
At the time and much to my surprise as Dad hadn’t mentioned it, a very sharp and smooth Operator named Steve Wright, had weaseled his way into gaining Dad’s trust and indeed allowing Him to go fishing on the Beach from time to time, even fishing with Him.
Steve Wright had been Don Dunstan s Chief of Staff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, seen here on the left ( Mr. Muscle) at the McNallys Health Studio….
*****remember this for later as Mr. Wright has a habit of striking up associations with the O’Learys’
So now we knew how come the two Trespassers were on the Beach but we didn’t dream of what Dunstan would do next!!!!!
He “Compulsory Acquired’ the Land, for the State Government and because it was 6 allotments of 80 acres, there suddenly appeared 5 other Homes and 6 different Owners. One Day, when I retire, I will investigate these little deals
Of note, in the last few Years, again suspicious, Kerry Stokes purchased it.
and I find it a bit suss that 6 Owners would all agree to sell Paradise???????…….Oh, could it be that the Labor Govt had just won in 2012????
anyhow, so that was it, we have never been back to Tunk again, which I find a terrible shame
Here we are with the last ride down there.
Dunstan later died of Aids ( although never admitted) and the truth of what had been going on during his Government, was revealed through the shocking Sex Crimes that are still being related on TV Today.
next Week – THE ITALIAN STALLIONS and the MISSING TOUR GROUP
COMIC COURT LODGE
In 1969, as a Brother a little concerned that my Young Brother needed to settle down a bit :), and knowing that he had a Passion for Training Racehorses but was Single and broke as we always are at the Young Ages, the Property that saw the start of Young Bart Cummings and the Melbourne Cup Winner, Comic Court who broke Pharlaps record. The Property had be owned by the Bowyer Family for many Years but then sold to prominent Adelaide Real Estate Developer, Ian Quigley, who later built the East End Markets precinct in the Adelaide City Centre.
Well the Locals down in them parts back then, HATED anyone new arriving in the District. It was a default and cart blanche shunning of them and the District Council was run by a Bloke called Tom Liddon…….with an ‘Íron Fist” One Sheriff Town, Quigly had laid the foundations for a Beach House, down the back of the 67 acre Property, on top of the Sand Dunes where he had Bulldozed and put in a Gravel flat area. “Like Hell You are said Tom Liddon” and took Quigley to the Courts, where the Sheriff won :), so Quigley decided to sell and I purchased it for my Brother to settle down and start training Race Horses, which I must say, has turned out most successfully for He has a long and distinguished Career via O’Leary Racing.
The Property has some wonderful memories for us and formed many mile stones in our lives. One of them formed my ‘Life’s Stories’ last Week, regarding the World’s richest Quarter Horse Race being run there, but many others.
I moved down there a few Years later and together, we felt the wrath of the Locals, for many Years, to the point where when ever we walked into the front Bar of the Normanville Hotel, all Locals would get up and move their Bar Stools to the opposite end of the Bar to us, with a complete ‘No Mans Land’ between us. Completely vacant, for the entire time we were in the Pub. One Night, we decided to go to the Yankalilla Hotel for a change and ended up getting ‘King Hit’ by the Son of the Publican and then all physically belted up by the entire patronage, all the way out the front Door and into the Car Park. I remember the last Punch to the Face came from a big fulla named Michael Hill who many Years later, I went to the Council to speak in support of his application to build the Links Lady Bay 🙂 I had severe concussion through the experience.
Speaking of Hotels, back then, the Normanville Hotel was owned by a bloke called Brian Stevens, who had put it up for Sale and a bloke named Bob Blacklock, from Sydney, wanted to buy it. Hell no said the Locals, we can’t have Him in the District but because we were 10 Years in and had started to prove ourselves to be half acceptable ( my being the Full Forward in the 1970 Grand Final which Yankalilla won) they allowed me to buy the Hotel, which I did but assigned the Contract to Bob Blacklock, prior to settlement, much to the shock and dismay of all around hahahahaha. ( The Daughters would not know that story) I think it is still in the Family name. I see it was 1973 when I purchased it on behalf of Blacklock.
Anyhow, I had started a successful Horse Trail Riding along the Beach at the back of the property and escorted out over the Years, in excess of 50,000 People, including to the Normanville Hotel for Lunch or Drinks.
Among other things, we mastered the old Sunshine Binder 🙂 The Locals told us we could never grow a Crop on that Land because of the Salt content but 12 Months later, we proved them wrong, with a Crop over the top of the Fence but then we also had to master the art of the Pitch Falk and did, loading the Semi in an hour.
Then one Day ( don’t know why) but the Black Friar Catholic School had a Summer Camp down the back of our Property and it came up for Sale. I purchased that to complete the shape of the Boundaries and to stop Visitors coming down the back and for some reason, I decided that we should build a Caravan Park on the location, especially as Quigley had put a Road over to the magnificent Beach. I climbed up on top of the roof of the magnificent ‘Fergussons Mill‘ one Day and took this Pic with my ‘Box Brownie Camera, walked inside and drew these Lines
………enter Tom Liddon He denied it and fought me for Years 🙂
Anyhow, Years later ( I think he admired my persistence and was warming to us a bit) he granted permission and Today stands the Beachside Caravan Park.
and I just noted in Google, that plenty around the Country like the name 🙂
We built the Caravan Park with our bare Hands and even had to blow the entire Power trenching, with Gelignite ( which you could buy off the shelf back then) as just beneath the surface of the dirt, was Corral Reef, with Sea Shells and the like 🙂 We had no shortage of Fish either in those Days, for it was only a short Walk over the Dunes and to throw half a stick of Gelly into the Water and pick up the Garfish for Lunch 🙂
The Septic Tank was huge and had to be pumped out to a Dam about 200 metres away. We built it too, on site and had to blow a massive hole to do it.
I will never forget the Day that it opened, for we were inside the Septic Tank when Vans started arriving. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we peeked out, for they were lined up 300 metres up the entrance road and about 200 metres down the Main South Road and yet we hadn’t advertised. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!……..”Quick Boys, we got to get this hired Form work out of here” as we feverishly worked to a sweat like in a Sauna, with Jacks and other equipment, to retrieve the Steel Forms but alas, before we could get them all, People started using the Toilets after driving 100k from the Big Smoke and we had to scamper out just as urgently as those attending the Toilets above……anyhow, it was a great success and became instantly very popular because of the wide Sandy Beaches just 100 metres away. The Hire Company wasn’t impressed and we had to buy new one’s for them 🙁
This photo of Normanville is courtesy of TripAdvisor
As Part of my lobbying the District Clerk, I formed the SOUTHERN Fleurieu Tourist Association and later became the Chairman of the Fleurieu Regional Tourist Association and before this time, the word SOUTHERN had never been used in connection with the Fleurieu Peninsula but as it crept into the jargon of People and Businesses, it is now used widely. Anyhow, I recently gifted the Business name to the Victor Harbor City Council, at their request.
Then one Day, I got a Phone call from a Lady, who said……..”Do You do Horse rides longer than an hour ( which we hadn’t) as we have a Work Group that I would like to take for half a Day “. That made me scratch my Head so I said I would get back to Her, walked outside, Saddled my Horse and rode off down the Beach, to see if I could get through the Rocks down past Lady Bay, and get into the Paddocks of the Wirrina Holiday Resort, which I did manage to, with only a 200 metre section of Bitumen Road…..and so they came and we went for half a Day, all the way down to the Resort and took the Pack Horses for Lunch around the Camp Fires.
with Views like this
and you can see where we came off the Beach here and finished at the top of the Cliffs for Lunch and the ride.
Well this became a Weekly event and again, we took many People on those Rides, later down to the Holiday Park complex and their BBQ’s.
Then another Phone Call…..Peter J Daniels
would we be able to take the Fathers and the Sons of the Edwardstown Baptist Church, on a 3 Day Ride, June long Week end? ……..and back on my Horse I went, this time on a long ride, attempting to commence the first true Holidays on Horseback rides, in this Country.
I ventured into the High Country, spoke with the Government, found an Old derelict Bluestone Historic Homestead in the Forest Country and many other locations for lunches, among some Country that remains a secret in this State. One of the Fathers was 125kg and 6 foot 6 inches but because our policy was max 90kg, they went and sourced their own Horse ( a 14.2 Hand Pony from Victor Harbor) We couldn’t believe our eyes but the Horse astounded us, doing the 3 whole Days in rugged Country and never putting a foot wrong. Super Horse. Then of course, we took Thousands out on 2,3 and 4 Day rides which then became replicated across the Country, by others, especially in the real High Country in Victoria and NSW. The Historic Building we were using had a massive Fire Place, open at each end and we used to drag logs in their with our Horses. The Parties were something to behold.
The characters were a plenty. It was a Single Mens’ Camp in those Days and we used to go to the Courts and save Violent Young enraged Men from Goal, by promising to rehab them, which did many….OMG……the stories I could tell You. Luckily, we could fight better, drink better and had the goods to put them back in their Boxes when they stepped out of Line. We came up with a Boxing Ring on the main lawns, complete with Referee and Corners, should they start picking on any others on the Camp and would have to fight it out properly. We saved them all, none went back to Goal and indeed, one of them is seen here as our Pack Horse Man Tex.
I remember one Night, having come back from the Normanville Pub, putting a Dead Fox in his Bed with Him, such was his condition at the time lol……next Morning he came out firing though
We had a Pet Galah, his name was ‘Ravioli’ because I came across Him in blinding Rain one late Night, having just picked up take away, in Rostrevor, Adelaide. He was feisty and quick with the beak and so I stuck Him in a Cardboard Box whilst I ate my late Night Meal but before I could finish my ‘Ravioli’ he came bursting out, having eaten his way through the Box, just like that. He became a Legend at Comic Court and would fly down 5k to the Normanville Jetty each Morning and meet our Race Horses coming back from work on Carrickalinga Beach, swoop down and land on the shoulder of one of the Riders and hitch his way Home 😊 He wasn’t so welcome at the Catholic Church which was across from the Homestead, on the other side of the Main South Road.
A knock came to the Door one Morning and there, dressed in Black, was the Local Priest, Father Michael Heaven ( aptly named I thought) He explained to me that he certainly believed in the Divine right of God’s Animals and that our Galah had been attending Church recently, wandering down the aisle and perching on the front Pue, but things had become a little embarrassing of Late as the tone of some of his language was a little unbecoming of the Service, so could we lock Him in on Sunday Mornings???? So poor Ravioli was grounded on Sundays, much to his disdain 😊
Then of course, came the building of the proper Race Course on the Property, with irrigation and the terrible fateful Day that we were approached by the Committee of the South Australian Sprint Racing Association. ( See previous Life Stories.)
It was time for me to go, new Horizons beckoned but I knew I had to leave the Property in the Ownership of my Brother, so I came up with a Plan to design and apply for a subdivision, across from the Caravan Park, to blend with and totally suit the ‘amenity of the area’, with single level Log Homes, Streets like Çlancy of the Overflow Lane’ and so on, and by this time, having obviously won the District Clerk, got it approved.
I sold the 5 acres and the approvals, to a bloke who would You believe sold it on to….wait for it…….yes, Michael Hill 😊 He then went and built this instead. ( as an aside, the Chairman of the Council that Night was Wendy Hunt, the previous Chair of Equestrian South Australia. She always loved positions of power
So at the end of the Day, we ended up being responsible for quite an extensive change to the District.
Anyhow, I was gone and don’t have to look at it but High Country Trails is still running and has now escorted hundreds of Thousands of Riders out on Beach Rides. Michael Hutchins, John Farnam, John Stevens, Angry Anderson and the current Star of Judge John Deed, to name a few. Note the Photo with the Dolphin, Young Dagmar spent Her first 15 Years with us after coming from Switzerland, I put Her into business and got Her Domain name.,,,,and of course lately
Wonderful times, hard work as usual and many fond Memories.
Next Week, the first installment of the ‘Pedophile Premier’
THE DESPERATE’ S TO THE BIRDSVILLE CUP
We were broke and only had one asset that we could sell, the Photo Finish Tower, which we advertised and was purchased by a Norther Race Club somewhere. We got $8,000 Cash and were wondering what in the Hell do we do now. It was all my fault, putting my trust in the Sprint Racing Mob. I forgot the one thing that holds true still Today, that Committees just fight and rarely agree. Look at Equestrian Australia right now.
Anyhow, all upwards and on wards…..or……”up the Guts with Smoke” as I had learnt during another Career, that of a Sniper……..
We decided that we would have a crack at the Birdsville Races, with a little black Horse called ‘Nudga’ ( aboriginal for Óld Fulla’ or to You Internationals……..Male Sex Organ )
…….he was owned by Clark the Jeweler and was a real little Psycho but had a tonne of ability, good enough to win in the City. So we thought we would take Him there and put the whole $8,000 on Him…straight out. Hell, not much riding on it ey?? , but how were we going to get a price for they are as ‘savvy as Hell’ up in those parts, met and seen all the ‘smarties’ come and go over the Years, with $100 Bills burning holes in their pockets, why could we be any different??
Well we conjured up a Plan that we would buy 4 other failed race horses for Doggers prices $300 each and take 5 Horses, all on the back of an Old Commer Truck, with just a Rope between them and standing side on.!!! …….that wasn’t all though……..we had to somehow fit a Wheel Chair for with us, was a Bloke called Harold Nichols, a Racing Industry notable, comedian and Race Caller, made paraplegic in a Jumping accident many Years ago, so we legged Harold up into the Cabin and hooked his Wheel Chair on the side of the Truck with Ropes……away we go, up the Birdsville Track, in the Days when it was nothing but Pot Holes the size of Mini Minors, dirt, dust and Dingo’s.
It took us 36 hours to drive it, drink stops for the Horses but we couldn’t take them off the Truck as it didn’t have a Ramp…..they traveled like Babies. Those X Race Horses couldn’t believe their eyes hahahahaha. No more climbing the walls of Floats lol
Anyhow, we eventually all arrived in one piece……oh, except Harolds Wheel Chair as all the Wheels had fallen off it on the Track and the poor Bugger wasn’t going to be at all mobile in the dirt of Birdsville.
First challenge, what the Hell do we do about this???? but some bright spark came up with the idea of going to the Birdsville Dump, where we found an old Hospital Bed which we adapted the Wheels for his Chair and with some extra effort, he could now move through the dirt and grit from point A to B. 🙂
We got there a Week before the Cup and set up Camp on the Banks of the
Diamantina River, roping up yards with Trees and settled into Bush Camping, cooking and sleeping. The Horses didn’t care, they had seen everything by now
Track work was about 3k away, at the Track but even a Week before, there still plenty of interested onlookers, all trying to work out what the ‘Smarties’ from the ‘Big Smoke’ were up and that interest heightened a lot, when we worked a big grey Horse ( who couldn’t run out of sight on a dark Night) but looked like Gunsynd, the wrong way around the Track. Weeeeeeeellllllllll, word got out real quick and the next Morning there were about 200 Aboriginals watching from various vantage points and some with Bino’s :)…..Hell he was impressive, Neck arched in Deep and round and snorting like a Crocodile 🙂 The other Horses all worked well, wrong way and right way around the Track, just to add to the confusion. It was the talk of the Town Folks 🙂
Well, along came the Friday, the first Day of the Carnival but Nudger wasn’t racing that Day, so we left Him back at the Camp with another Horse and only took 3. Just let him relaax……One of them actually ran 3rd in a 1,000 metre race, which shocked us but added to the ambience, but when we got back to Camp, we almost died!!!!!!!!! for the little Crack Pot and “Nudga the Bludga”as we used to call Him, had been running his Yard all afternoon and was completely and utterly dehydrated to the point of not being able to even compete in a Picnic Race, let alone up against good Horses at Birdsville. My poor Brother was beside Himself and kept saying “we are buggered, we’ll have to scratch Him, but as the Night went on, around the Camp Fire and with a Carton to drown our sorrows, I came up with an idea………
“Why don’t we go down to the Birdsville Hospital, speak with the Nurses and see if we can get a Hartmans Drip and all the rest, to be able to drip Him??????”…..they looked at me some disbelief but after a couple more Beers, I talked them into it and off we went. Midnight as well 🙂
We got to the Hospital and thank God it was Birdsville for the Nurses were most concerned ( all going to the Races Tomorrow) and went and dug out a Doctor and together, they calculated the time we should start dripping Him and how long it should take to complete, in order to get the best possible result. They packed us up with all the equipment, the tubes, Massive Needle and the like and Home we went. Imagine the sleep??????………You won’t believe what happens next…
We were up bright and early and cooking Bacon and Eggs, boiled the Billy and had set Nudga up at the base of an appropriate Tree, tied up Solid ( thank God an O’Leary Horses) and had the Drip Hung up above Him, happily eating a hard feed. So happy Horse and happy Punters ……..’Nudga’was through the Trees a little, about the second Yard in but you could plainly see Him from the Camp Fire…..
and then a Car drove in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…….THE CHIEF BLOODY STEWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. ” Hi Gentlemen, just came around to sell You some raffle tickets for the District Hospital” he said ……not a problem Sir says my Brother ( the registered Trainer)……like a Cuppa??????…….”don;t mind if I do” says the Chief Stipe as he sat on a Log that sadly had Him facing in the direction of Nudga!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, we bought plenty of Raffle Tickets, swapped Yarns and we swear he could see the Horse with the Drip hanging out of his Neck but never said a word, indeed, relating a story of his own, that of a Jockey using a Battery in Race 3 and if we watch closely, we will see him drop it after the winning post and a bloke casually walk onto the Track and pick it up ……and then he left………..’Not happy Jan’ 🙂
but Nudja was in the next Race…..incidentally, we backed the Horse with the Battery on board and yes, the Chief Steward was right, a Bloke did wander out onto the Track, about 150 Metres after the finish line and casually bent down to pick something up lol
Now, the previous Night, we had also discussed the tactics “for the plunge”……only I and another Bloke who had gone with us “Perce the Punter’ aha Tommy Wheeler, would be allowed to handle the Money and approach the Bookies. We all agreed and Young Harold Nickols was threatened with Death if he opened his Mouth. and so off we went, because ‘Nudga’ was starting to de-hydrate again, the little psycho!!!!!!
Now You may think that it is easy to win one in the Bush, not so, there are some big players up there. We found out that there was a Horse in our Race, that was owned by Multi Millionaires, and it had won in Melbourne…..wonderful. The Owners owned Pandi Pandi Station and had many great Stakes winning Horses in Melbourne, Pandy Star and Pandy Son to mention two of them, but I forgot to mention our Jockey…..who we took and who was threatened with Death and to be buried in a ‘Shallow Grave’ back down the Birdsville Track. His name was Greg Nicholls, fantastic Rider and Apprentice to my Brother, Dennis. Young and a typical Jockey, you had to watch Him like a Hawk, hence the threats. ( seems the trip of the Nicolls.)
So Tommy Wheeler and I, each armed with $4,000, entered the Betting ring, at the last minute, there were so many watching us. The price had not drifted as we wanted as the Bookies are no Mugs either. 45/10 only. Just as I went for the first Bookmaker, “Bugger me Dead” there was Harold Nicolls, in his damn Wheel Chair, placing a private Bet on Nudga and driving the odds down, not only that but alerting the Bookies as to what the intentions of the Camp was. The Bustud!!!!!!!!!!! we should have left his Wheel Chair Wheels at the Dump I thought….or…..we bury Him, with his Wheel Chair, in a ‘Shallow Grave’ on the way Home!!!!
Wheeler and I rushed in, put the lot on and averaged 32/10, we shall deal with Nicholls later and so to the Grand Stand 🙂
We wee not nervous at all…….much………but finally they jumped. Guess what….. ‘Nudger the Bludger’, the little Psycho, ”missed the kick” bt 10 Lengths, we almost died a thousand deaths.
He had caught them by the turn, such was his blistering speed ( just his brain) and yes, sure enough, out in front was Pandi something, but he caught it too, at the 100 metres, to which ensued the most desperate whip riding exibition you have ever seen, not legal by any sense now, nose by nose, head by head and LEANING on each other, shoulder to shoulder, the whole last 100……on the Photo……..the Bludger put his nose in front of the other Horse, with the ‘Bob of the Head’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…..”thank You Lord” surely must have gone through my Mind, as we ran to the Mounting enclosure fence and even in the psycho moment of our own, I will never forget the sound of Punters leaning over the Fence, yelling at the top of their voices…”SMARTIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” REPEATEDLY………..I couldn’t believe it, we must have caught some off guard…….but it wasn’t over yet………
Whilst unsaddling the Horse, the Jockey suddenly whispered to my Brother……”I forgot to put the Lead weights in the weight bag”?????????………God knows what my Brother thought or said but I told You before, what a dodgey little bustud Young Greg was, as he waltzed in through the front door of the weigh in room, where the Old Fulla ( Volunteer) was on the Scales. He jumped on and off so fast, yelling Correct Weight’ that the Official didn’t pick the fact that he had left the weights out of the Bag and the Race was called “Correct Weight”….Bookmakers free to pay out………… where upon Wheeler and I lined up to collected $8,000 x 32/10…………. BUT THEN THERE WAS A PROTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….…You can imagine the amount of stress that can take place in a fleeting 5 minutes????……we waited and waited and then came the announcement…….”Protest dismissed”
That Night we went to the Birdsville Pub, knee deep in beer Cans, then to Fred Brophies Boxing Tent and finished the Night at the Birdsville Ball, dancing every Black Mamma in Birdsville, off their Feet to the late Hours 🙂
We didn’t bury any of them on the way Home, especially Young Greg, for his desperate whip riding on the Day, saved us!!
In 2018, I ran into Harold Nichols in Victor Harbor, at a Saddlers Home. He was still a character and still telling me how it’s done. He gave me a good old lecture on Horses and Saddlery and that the local Saddler was taught by Him. I didn’t mention Birdsville and watched Him wheel his Chair down the Main Street, thinking to myself what an amazing journey life is to those who take it on and how successful, the 2 Nichols Boys could have been in Life, with Brains like they had.
A Week Later, in an Outback News Paper in Queensland, there was a Head Line and it read……
“PUNTERS GET THE NUDGE AT BIRDSVILLE”
…..I had to chuckle to myself…….. what happened to Nudga?….well he went straight back to his Owner, Clark the Jeweller. What happened to Gunsynd??????, well he went Hunting and made a Middle Aged Bloke very happy indeed. We never told Him the story either. The others went to Eventing Homes and so had their lives saved from the Doggers. The Nurses at the Birdsville Hospital????…..chocolates and a yarn over a Cuppa, the Doc missed out 🙂
and so Life went on, we saved the Family Homes but lost the Beachside Caravan Park, dreamt up the next Goal to kick and away we went again. “Never throw in the Towel” Folks……..
Next Week, being still inside the on site built Septic Tank, on opening Day of the Beachside Caravan Park
THE WORLD’S RICHEST AND FASTEST QUARTER HORSE RACE
A Car drove into Comic Court Lodge one Day, we were all in the Single Men’s Quarters having a Cupper and saw it drive past the Window. 3 Dudes got out and introduced themselves as Committee Persons of the South Australian Sprint Racing Association. We ushered them in and made them a Cuppa.
They were……Peter Schultz ( President), Peter Gower and John Hodgins. Anyhow, they related a long story of some Hours, about the fate of the South Australian Sprint Racing Association ( pretty much like SA Equestrian right now) and that a bloke called Noel Fennel, from Willomurra Quarter Horse Stud, was controlling the Industry and running things very much his way. They alleged that he was even beating everyone to the Timing Mechanism and that his bred Horses were doing handily and others were not. Prize money was appalling, something like $300-700 a Race. Put simply, they were there to ask if we would host their Races on our Thoroughbred Training Track, even though it was Grass and that Quarter Horses don’t run on Grass, AS IT IS TOO SLOW!!!!
At the end of the conversation, my damm Irish upbringing took hold of me by default, I always take the side of the ‘Únder Dog” We agreed to help them, something that would end up costing us $386,000, every cent we had in the World….less $8,000. ( read next Week)
Anyhow, Quarter Horses run on mainly straight Tracks, especially up to 365 Metres so we had a fair bit of expensive Earth works, irrigation, running rails, a Photo Finish Tower, Cameras, Mounting enclosure, Stewards and Jockey Rooms and God knows what else. ( Bart Cummings would be proud of us as this is the property where he started and the first Melbourne Cup Winner was bred, breaking Pharlaps record)
Keith Martin and Graham Goodings seen in shot, Channel 7 and 10
Well, I can’t stand ‘Mickey Mouse’ anything ( which is what the Horse Industry is famous for, so we set about to make it big time and did. So much so that the Minister of Racing approved Bookmakers for the Sport and the Inter-State Trainers were all moving here. ( Thanks to the brilliant Allison Self for Her help.)
We ran the Krondorf Wine Stakes – $36,000, to start things off and then the West End Gold Cup $7,000 plus Cup
The Weekend was the first official Racing CARNIVAL of big time proportions, 3 Ministers of the Crown, 4 Helicopters and so on. The Thoroughbreds, copied soon after, starting at Morphetville and spreading to Victoria after. Hell, it even boasted MOUSE RACING and dozens of Kids were driven from Adelaide with their Mice, by their poor Mum’s. We had forgotten about us promoting it with my Brother calling a Race on the Channel Niners on TV the Week b4, but Kids just kept coming up to Him and tugging Him on the Pants, “where is the Mouse Racing Sir?”……..Years later, they all think they invented it……Pig’s Ass 🙂
We were constantly warned of much consternation by Willomurra, who were shocked to the point of despair but the ‘straw that broke the Camels back’ was yet to come. Fennell told the World, via his mates in the A.Q.H.A. and the Magazine, that no Horse could ever turn fast times on Grass. Not possible, World wide!!!!….and then this
Well, that did it…..Fennel secretly went behind the Committees back and to the Racing Minister, strongly arguing that Bookmakers should never be allowed for the Quarter Horses ( something they had been trying to get forever) and of course you know the Government, they dropped it. He killed it. He argued that the Quarter Horses needed to be on the Thoroughbred Tracks…but forgot they were Grass too. ( The Thoroughbreds couldn’t wait for them to come to their tracks….so they could destroy them)
Now Easy Watch had broken the Australian Record and we had build an expensive, correct Track, paying Simons and Simons, Surveyors, to get it dead right. Further, the Winning Post and Photo finish Tower, was supervised and operated by the Jockey Clubs own Timing and Photographic Person. ( Atkins) ( it cost squillions)…you see it in the background
Fennell had been fighting tooth and Nail, to stop the record for Easy Watch ( even though she was by his Stallion) and secretly lobbying the A.Q.H.A. to reject it. He must have been having trouble though for then the fateful Night happened……..
Noel Fennell and a bloke called Tim Harvey, drove 150k and snuck into Comic Court Lodge, in the Dark, at about 4am, armed with a Highways Department Tape Measure, and announced to the A.Q.H.A, that the record could not stand because the Track was 2 metres short. (We were unaware of their presence, lucky for them.)
Of course, the A.Q.H.A. ( his Mates) accepted his word, DID NOT CONTACT US, did not know about the Surveyors and rejected the Record against the name of the Horse.
WEEEEEEEEEEELLLLL, as it does, all Hell broke loose, with the fighting between the 2 Camps and then the President Jumped Ships, back to the side of Fennell and that was the end of the Game. Nice Guy that one. Mr. Quiet Guy. You always have to watch them!!!!
We never got a Thank You for anyone and had to dismantle the lot and suffered the huge financial losses. They left us out to dry Folks.
During the time leading up to all of this, Fennell had a ‘Stable Manager’ living in attached building to the Marital Home, where he and his Wife lived. The Stable Manager and Keeper of the Stud Book 🙂 was his ‘right arm Woman’…..and much more…….A bloke called ——— was on the Phone with Him one Night and could hear all this noise. He asked what was going on and Noel gleefully explained that ” I’m in the Bath and M— had Her big Tits in his face”
Some Years later, he awoke one Day and there was no M—–. She had ‘done the bunk’ with a Cowboy and had set up Camp 50k away, on a Property out Wistow way, where substantial numbers of well Bred Willomurra Quarter Horses were happily roaming the Paddocks. She had been the ‘Registrar’ You see, at the same time as being in charge of the Soap It had been planned for yonks. Fennel never noticed a thing…except those big you know what’s
When he found out about it, he walked outside the House with a High Powered Rifle and shot every Quarter Horse within range. Indeed, including prized Stallions, one of which was not owned by Him at all as it turns out, but a Judge of the Court.
As I said, the lot of them all disappeared into thin Air. Not a thank you or a goodbye. Such is the Horse Industry.
Next Week…..totally broke and armed with our last $8,000, from the Sale of the Photo Finish Tower to a Thoroughbred Race Club, we are off to the Birdsville Races, in an attempt to come back from Rock Bottom ….
29th December, 2018
I don’t know why, but my Life has continually attracted, events that are far above normal and some could indeed be made into a Hollywood Movie.
I have met them all. The Crooks, Criminals and Con’s. Nothing surprises me anymore and nothing phases me either.
I’ll start easy and work up over 2019. You won’t believe some of them and will be riveted.
MRS HP EXIT FROM THE STATE SQUAD
In 2008, Mrs. HP had a bad accident off a Horse. A compound fracture of the Leg and serious debate among the Surgeons, as to whether they cut Her Leg off or not. Had she been a Smoker, they would have.
They had to cut half of Her Arm off, to save Her Leg.
At the time, she was on the South Australian State Dressage Squad. She was in Hospital for 3 Months but within the first Week, right at the time of the discussion to cut Her Leg off, she received a visit from a Mz. Liz Duncan from the South Australian Dressage Squad of EA, who had brought the wonderful News that she had just been voted off the Squad, due to Her accident, by the Dressage Committee.
Roll on 2019 and Equestrian South Australia has self destructed. They would be scratching their Heads as to why but You don’t have to look far Folks…..do You????????
…………there is a Silver Lining…………due to Her ‘True Grit’ she came back and has ‘brained’ the State Squad over the past few Years, not on it though as they brought in a quaint new rule that you had to apply.
I wonder what they think????Most won’t know this story. We never told it.
THE LEARNER RIDER’S HORSE
In the 70’s, there was a renowned Horse Auction Sales, held at Gepps Cross, on the site of the old Abattoirs. It attracted most of the Shifties of the Industry and an interesting statistic that I learnt, having purchased approx 3,000 Horses over the Years, to continually replenish our ‘Holidays on Horseback’ outfit, that 95% of all of them were either unsound or dodgy………anyhow…..
One Day, an Elderly Gentleman from Cape Jervis, walked in the front Gate, saying that he wanted to buy a quiet Horse for his Grand Daughter. Not a problem for us, we had 60 Horses in the String, all proven with non Riders’, almost every Day.So we offered Him a lovely Horse for $700, to which he said he would consider it and he left.
The following Week was Auction Day and it didn’t take us long to spot Him across the Rot-under, bidding on a Horse for $160 and successfully so too.
At the end of each Sale, the entertainment commenced, in the Float Park which was made from 100 Year old Cobble Stones. Horses would be leaping, spinning and giving People Rope Burns and more
Up to his Float, proudly walked Grandad, with his Horse and presented it to the Tail Gate. The moment he took a feel on the end of the Lead Rope, the Horse just ‘flipped’, smashing the back of it’s Head on the Cobble Stones, with Blood pouring from it.s nostrils ….I’ll never forget, so sad.
He presented it again, much to our shock ( we thought he would walk it into the Doggers Yard and get his $160 back but no, he tried again and the same thing happened.
I don’t know what happened as we drove out of the Park. We never saw Him again but often wondered what may have happened to his Grand Daughter, should he got the Horse Home.
“Ya Can’t Bloody Tell em” Folks……..