Last weekend, the Mashford’s of Katalpa Station, 230km North East of Broken Hill, played host to a two day Horsemanship Clinic held by clinician and horse trainer Mick Connolly.
For the kids, this was an incredible opportunity to brush the dust off their trusty steeds and spend a couple of days learning from one of the Western Divisions horse trainers.
To add to the excitement Luke and Sarah Mashford kindly offered a small mob of weaners for the kids and horses to have a play with.
Mick Connolly, a keen camp drafter and experienced stockman, took the rare opportunity to use the cattle to enhance the kids’ cow working skills.
“It’s really great to have the chance to help these bush kids enhance their stock sense,” Mr Connolly said.
“They were great little calves, and perfect for the job, they allowed the kids to really have the time to stop and get their turns correct.
“We all had a lot of fun and the chance to use the cattle was appreciated by all,” he said.
The lead up to Sunday’s cattle work involved building a good foundation on the ground. Saturday the group spent a lot of time focusing on this, which was then applied to some flat work and barrels.
“There is a lot of value in good effective groundwork, it transfers to what we get done when we ride our horses,” explained Mr Connolly.
“I always work on safety with the kids and their horses.
“It’s really important for them to have some tools that their horses are understanding of so they can get their horses slowed down or stopped should they need to.”
Mick places great value on ensuring that the kids he works with are safe when they ride.
He encourages them to go away and practice what they’ve learnt at home.
He appreciates that the parents are a big part of this process.
“The support from parents was really great, they took in what was being taught and asked questions.
“They are the ones who reinforce this learning when the kids are at home in the paddock or arena so it’s important for them to be supportive and involved,” Mr Connolly added.
For Luke and Sarah Mashford, they welcomed the opportunity for the children, who came from surrounding properties, to partake in such an event.
“It’s really great that Mick was willing to come up here and do this for the kids,” said Mrs Mashford.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to learn from Mick and they seem to really take notice of someone who isn’t their parent.
“We are grateful to have him come and impart his knowledge on the kids and parents alike.”
Mick Connolly, hails from the Mildura area but for the past year has managed Willow Point Station, for proprietors Angus and Kelly Whyte.
The locality, 160km south of Broken Hill has made his services more accessible to fellow horse owners within the region.
He looks forward to further helping the local horse community with future Horsemanship and Cow Working clinics to be held at Willow Point Station.