My family has a long history with horses. Mostly in New Zealand. My Dad was a horse trainer so was my grandfather. They both trained standardbred horses.
In my teens I helped my Dad with the horses, went to pony club and rode in teams events.
In the school holidays I helped my Uncle and his Vet with their horse stud.
I moved to Australia in October 1990 and Started work at Alabar farms.
I did foal watch and then moved onto the yearling prep. I was there for 4 years during which I assisted with all facets of the stud.
A list of all the farms/studs I have worked:
Alabar Farm (One of the largest Standardbred nurseries in Australasia) - Foal Attendant/Stud Hand/Yearling Prep Foreman- 4 yrs
Grenada Park (Graham and Helen Head, very successful breeders of some outstanding harness horses. Also had cattle, sheep, Ostriches and Emus on farm while I was there) - Farm Manager- 2 yrs
Karamea Farm (Stood up to 4 Stallions and bred over 300 mares per season) - Senior Stud Hand- 4 yrs
Goldwood Park (Stood 2 then 3 stallions bred over 300 mares per season) - Studmaster-2yrs
Arcadia Goldwood (Stood 5 stallions and bred over 500 mares per season) -Studmaster- 4yrs
Concorde Park (Stood 3 stallions looked after 130 mares plus progeny) - Studmaster-4yrs
During my time at all of these places I have been lucky enough to get married and have 2 beautiful children, Brodie 11 and Kaitlyn 9 whom we are very proud, and are often seen on the farm helping Mum and Dad.
I have built up an extensive knowledge of the breeding industry through all the experiences I have had working at these places.
Also I have gained:
Certificate in Artificial Insemination,
Learned how to Ultrasound Scan Mares,
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (Sometimes Teach at National Centre Equine Education, Wangaratta Goulburn Ovens Tafe)
Diploma in Equine Stud Management.
Dean’s family have been Dairy farmers in the Goulbourn Valley area for many years, this extensive knowledge of farming has been passed down to Dean and is an integral part of our plans for the farm now and in the future. Dean’s family has also had a keen interest in Standardbreds and horses in general. Dean’s father Mac as well as Dairy Farming hobby trains a few of their own bred horses having had some success in the past.
Dean also had his drivers licence at one time and drove his Dads horses, at the trials and some race meetings.
As a young man on his school holidays he also helped some of the trainers at Elmore, often going to race meetings as a strapper etc.
Dean and Blanche meet while Blanche was working at Alabar Farm. Dean was a fully qualified Plumber and was working around Shepparton but decided to move in with Blanche at Alabar, of course Dean was often called upon to lend a hand on weekends with stallion collections, foalings and yearling prep.
Dean continued Plumbing for many years even being a Self Employed business for a while, before going back to work for wages. Then in Sept 2008 he left Plumbing to work full time on our property.
During our time at all the studs we had opportunity to work with some well known and not so well known stallions, Kentucky, What’s Next, Windsheild Wiper, Safely Kept, Troublemaker, Nuclear Nightmare, Armbro Aussie, Forrest Skipper, Camtastic, Threefold, Legacy of Power, Yentals Image, Chill Factor, Davids Pass, By Xample, Million To One, Lombo Pocket Watch and Lombo Mandingo just to name a few.
Our Farm “Rhiannon Park”
My husband Dean and I purchased our own property in 2006, the same year I left Arcadia Goldwood and started at Concorde Park.
Initially the property was 45 acres it wasn’t a purpose built horse farm so some modification to the existing layout was undertaken and we started to get Clients of our own to look after there horses.
Every year our cliental has grown, but we have also kept some very valued clients that either leave their mares/progeny with us all year round or keep coming back to us season after season.
We would like to keep our stock rate to a very manageable number so as to not overstock and stress the horses, but at the same time we welcome new customers to our farm. We would like to keep our farm boutique and not get to big, we don’t want to loose the hands on and personalised feel we have now, as we think this is important when breeding mares and raising foals.
In 2008 we purchased another property that backed onto ours giving us an extra 60 acres of land, this property has been a work in progress.
In the last 18 months we have gone through the “Farm Modernisation Scheme”, this undertaking was large and saw the whole property ripped up and reconfigured , we have installed a new Pipe and riser irrigation system to be more water efficient but also to be able to provide our clients horses with the best possible green pastures all year round. In saying that we also have re sown the whole property, mostly with permanent Equine pastures and some in wheaten/oaten crop which we have had the stock eat off during the winter and now are looking to cut some of it for hay.
We had a whole farm plan done and are now in the process of getting all the fencing up to scratch. We are using concrete posts to prevent horses from chewing them (which seems to be a favourite pastime of most of the mares on the property). We are making all the new fences electric which will hopefully keep the horses away from them thus reducing the possibility of injury.
Dean and I had a dream to one day have our own property with some of our own mares but to provide a good quality product that all industry people could benefit from, some where they could send their mares to get the full experience, foal down, getting mares in foal, weaning/handling and yearling preparation. We feel we are well on our way to achieving that dream.
We try and keep our prices competitive with other farms, and as I can do all the scanning and AI (Artificial Insemination) myself, we can keep costs down without the extra costs of Vets Fees for the breeding process. But in saying that we are in very close proximity to the Goulbourn Valley Equine Hospital and the newly formed Vic Equine Group (Simon Robinson), so vets are on hand what ever time we need for a bad foaling, difficult reproduction work and other vet related needs as they arise.