After the last section, both us and the horses were tired, so we decided to have a rest for a week in Marlborough. Marlborough is a little town on the Bruce highway with a great pub (lots of people who visit write their names on the wall…. as you can see in the photo, we didn’t have much choice of where to sign the wall!!), rodeo ground and not much else! We were lucky enough to meet Alex, a contract musterer, who offered for us to borrow his car, so we were able to get around for a couple of days. Rest days seem to not be rest days for us, as we spent the week doing odd jobs, shoeing horses and organising ourselves for the next section of the ride. It well needed rest for the horses who started putting on weight and had lots of snoozes during the day. I think they may of been bored, as they were continually checking in on us and what we were doing, and if we didn’t fence off our tent, they may have tried to join us in there!!! My birthday happened to fall in our weeks rest, and I had the best birthday present as family came to visit us and travel as backup for the next section of out trip.
We set off from Marlborough on Sunday last week after we had remapped a section to ensure the caravan would be able to come the whole way with us. It was a lovely 6 days across to Bouldercombe with some great camp spots along the way. Having family around for this section was lovely; we chatted and played cards in the spare time we had as having lights at night seems to extend the days a fair amount.
We met some lovely people along the way, and must say thank you to Alton Downs polocross club for letting us camp on their grounds, Carmel and Darryl who provided us with a paddock, a bed and a lovely dinner and company in Kabra, Ken and the Bouldercombe Trail Riders Club for a place to camp, and Joan and Doug who have been generous enough to drop some hay off with a bonus of a pumpkin and a paw paw. Both humans and horses are enjoying their little treats!
We have been so lucky to catch up with Mal and Shirley, friends of Prestons, in Bouldercombe. It has been lovely to have thier company and I’m sure there will be more from them when they join us for a short time on the trail in the future!
Last but not least we have to thank Jean and Jo for all of their help and advice about saddles and pack saddles. Their information and advice is priceless as you can only travel as far as your gear allows you too! We have reflected on this point many times, and it seems like 6 weeks is a huge test of your gear. Riding for short periods everyday doesn’t seem to show up some of the problems you may have later on down the track, and Preston and I are constantly looking at how to make our gear better!
We finally got to meet Craig and then later on Therese, who have both previously completed the trail. They had great bits of advice and little tid bits to share with us. Talking to them, we both agreed that the people who are doing back up are the unsung heros of the trip, and don’t get enough thanks or recognition. Its a huge job to be at home at the ready to post, buy and organise gear. The trail these days would definitely not be possible without them.
I am happy to say that the horses have picked up condition very well over the past 2 – 3 weeks, and the high amounts of feed have started to go to their heads! It was nice to have horses with a bit of energy, even though it seemed like they were looking for things to shy at first thing in the morning!
Banjo continues to fit into the herd and is now not the bottom anymore. Mater, who we class as a lover not a fighter, has been pushed to the bottom yet again!!! Banjo is extremely happy with being fed twice a day, and he lets us know with his high pitched whinny – he is so excited he can’t control his voice! Some of the milestones we have hit in this section:
- 1500km bum in saddle (or walking!!!)
- 30% of the way
- We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn
I’m not sure when we will leave Bouldercombe, but the next section is a long one across into Kroombit Tops, then onto Biggenden. There should be some lovely riding in through there and I am looking forward to it greatly.