Angela Tiede remembers the purchase of TW Homelands Waler filly Coolibah, and part-Waler filly Somers and her brother gelding Hastings. Image: TW Homelands youngstock arrive at Darraweit Guim December 2011.
A time never forgotten, and the horses constantly remind me of Doug and Mary Treasure and their wonderful contribution to the Walers through their breeding programme.
It was mid 2011 and a sad time for the Treasure family as Doug was terminally ill and decisions had to be made about moving young stock off Homelands. Ben Kindblad helped out with handling so they could be less stressed when trucked to saleyards, and I drove Jac Kindblad to Homelands a couple of times during this time. I was keen to help as best I could and on my first trip down I saw a young grey Waler filly, Coolibah. The next trip down I bought her, to save her the stress of going to the saleyards, she was not quite a year old at the time.
Front of mind was how I was going to get her home, to some land at Darraweit Guim, with as yet no infrastructure on it. First step, get some fences in, yards, a drive, water troughs. Well, that helped take my mind off the reasons why I had purchased Coolibah. Next step was to convince my Waler owning friend Gill Scott to buy filly part-Waler Somers, if not before, at least by phone bidding at the sale. Phew, she agreed, so now there were two horses to get home. Oh, and then there was Somers’ brother, gelding Hastings. He was a menace, a big chap not quite three, he ran onto the truck the day of the sale, then off again then on again then off. So they left him home, too much of a handful to manage. Well, I bought him of course, a potential paddock mate for my stallion Ezekiel.
Three other horses were purchased at the sales by a buyer on the same side of Melbourne as me (Bushfire, Negoura, and Tyabb -Hastings and Somers’ middle sister), so Ben and Kate Treasure agreed to undertake the job of delivering the six horses that December. A long day for them indeed (approx 10 hours return). First stop was Darraweit Guim, guided from the end of the freeway to me by Ben Kindblad. In a mad rush the infrastructure was established and the big day arrived. I had not long dipped my toe in the Waler adventure and was beside myself at what I had entered into, but it was done and the next steps would have to be taken one after the other. I will never forget the sight of the truck coming down the drive which had been established just days prior.
So that’s how Walers at Darraweit Guim began, followed shortly by some Dexter bovines to help manage the grass. The horses had a few days in the yard and then soon disappeared into the long dry grass of my first established paddock, aided by my senior Waler mare Mega who I had brought over from my farm at Clarkefield to keep everyone settled and in line. She was not thrilled with the job but the grass and the view were compensations she accepted in good faith. Somers carried her sold sticker for a few weeks until it fell off, as all were unhandled and we had to start the process of teaching them about buckets of food so we could then touch them. Coolibah was a tough nut and would not accept touch for months unless she had her head in a bucket, even if it was empty. Hastings continued to be a bolshie youngster who would run over the top of you at the drop of a hat. Somers was a sweetheart, young enough to have not yet learned to follow Hastings’ bad example.
After the bovines arrived the horses felt they had more of a role to play and would happily come up to report on what had been happening, their life adventures were starting and they were a cheerful mob. A few months after they moved in I heard author Roland Perry interviewed on the ABC about his new book Bill the Bastard and as I had worked with him on a previous book (in my role in the publishing industry) I opportunistically invited him to meet the Walers. Despite all his research and books about the Light Horse, he had never met a Waler. He readily accepted and after meeting my Walers at Clarkefield we visited the youngsters, who were thrilled to have a visitor. In a suit. Roland was equally delighted. Win win!