A Life with Horses

As the manager of a large and successful thoroughbred stud, Meika works with horses on a daily basis.

The stud, in the highly regarded horse breeding district of Beaudesert produces over 50 yearlings a year and Meika has a hand in educating each one of them from birth to the age of 15 months, when they are offered for sale.

“Teaching weanlings and yearlings to lead, stand and float is an important foundation for their future training,” Meika says.  “But every horse has its own personality and traits.  There no one size fits all when it comes to handling.”

Assessing these horses and recognising their individual needs comes from years of experience.  Meika began riding from the age of seven in Alice Springs, a town where horse activities were an integral part of outback life in the Northern Territory. 

  “Meika never passed up an opportunity to ride either competitively or for pleasure’’

Every weekend there were planned horse events and a young Meika had a well-rounded education.  As a horse mad 14 year old, Meika never passed up an opportunity to ride either competitively or for pleasure, with everything from rodeos and gymkhanas to fun pony club activities on offer.  

“Pete’s wide-ranging knowledge of horses is underscored by a calm and relaxed method of teaching.”

It was in Alice Springs that Meika first met Pete and Eva, following their dream of taking Just Equus horse clinics across the country.  Meika attending some of their clinic days and was impressed by Pete’s wide-ranging knowledge of horses underscored by a calm and relaxed method of teaching.

“I attended those clinic days on Ruben, a horse I still remember fondly and talk about often, to this day.  Ruben was a young Arabian gelding.  He was versatile, clever and sensible; the result of riding him in any and every discipline, any time of day and in any weather,” says Meika.

“He was what I call a mother’s dream horse, although we still had a lot of learning to do along the way, he was reliable and safe.  I would often ride him bareback with just a piece of string around his neck, or cross country with only a halter.

Years later, as the mother of an active five year old and experienced stud manager, Meika decided it was time to rein in her life as a competitive rider.  Travelling extensively to competitions with a young child in tow became too difficult, so she turned her attention to breaking and training young horses from home. 

“It suited my new circumstances far better and I could work with the horses at my own pace.   Producing horses like Ruben is the goal I’m working towards, but it takes hours, even years of dedicated riding to achieve,” Meika says.

“With horses we never stop learning.”

“Just by chance one day, I stumbled across a familiar name from the past and was eager to renew our acquaintance,” Meika explains, as she recalls rediscovering Just Equus years later. 

“Lessons with Pete had always felt so productive and now he was able to offer a fresh perspective on the horses I worked with every day.  It felt so valuable in relation to my progress as a rider and educator of young thoroughbreds,” Meika says. 

“I think what I learn from Pete is unique.  I was blessed to be surrounded by some very talented horsemen growing up.   Learning to understand and have the ability to read horses quite well has set me up well to align with my values and goals. “

“Pete looks at these youngsters with a fresh set of eyes.”

“The outcome is working with young horses in a sensitive environment where it is imperative to really pay attention and read the horse.  However, I have come to realise that dealing with horses on a daily basis, you can become fixated on one thing, while overlooking another.  Pete looks at these youngsters I’ve been handling with a fresh set of eyes.”

 “Ï always say, Pete has countless skills in his tool box and I love each of my horses to experience a training session with him. With horses we never stop learning and Pete keeps me honest and switches me on to be even more in-tune with my own horses.

“They get so much out of it and I get to brush up on my riding skills too.  Spending so much time handling and training young horses, I don’t spend as much time as I’d like, on the back of a horse.

“Pete looks at my riding with fresh eyes too, so it’s a win win situation for all of us.” Meika concludes with a laugh. 

Journalist: Janette Jenyns

 

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