Former Attunga saddlebronc rider Jason Newman reckons he pulled the right rein six years ago when setting up the Tamworth &Kootingal Horse Riding Adventures (TKHRA) on his 1500-acre picturesque ‘Swamp Oak Station’ property at Mulla Creek near Kootingal.
And the competent horseman maintains that his rides are suitable for anyone – “those who have never been astride a horse right through to the Olympic-level rider”.
TKHRA has plenty on offer – riders 12 years and over can enjoy a two-hour scenic trek through the hills of the Cockburn Ranges, while the Under 12 kids can take in not only 30 minutes of fully supervised pony riding/games in the arena but also visit the popular Petting Pen, according to Jason.
“For those who don’t want to get on a horse, we can take them on a station tour in the six-seater ATV (all-terrain vehicle). That’s been popular too. And if it’s a birthday party they want, we can also arrange that,” Jason said.
“We’ve been absolutely under the pump lately. We’re open for bookings every day except Christmas Day..”
For the last three years, Jason has been advantaged by having an “extremely helpful” duo by his side – partner and former barrel racing champ Christine Ogilvie and her 10-year-old daughter Piper.
“I really couldn’t do what I’m doing properly without them. They’re an incredible help.”
Jason’s brainwave of setting up the riding adventures developed several years ago – reason one being that he considered Tamworth lacking in a similar horseriding business, and secondly, he’d earlier spent several years working in the East Kimberley of WA.
“My job over there was toteach a lot of Indigenous people to ride a horse, show them how to get themselves back into the workforce, and how to conduct themselves to be part of tourism in that area. I’d really like to offer a similar thing here somewhere down the track a bit.
“Our hands have been tied in recent years, firstly with the drought, and now Covid. When the borders open up again, Covid settles down and vaccine rates reach a good level, there are a couple of things in the pipeline we’d like to do – perhaps even a camp out with swags and a campfire down the track.”
Meanwhile Jason – along with his responsible offsiders Christine and Piper, will continue to cater for not only newcomers, but also a lot of returning families. “We’ve had a heck of a lot of good feedback from not only locals, but people from away”.
“We provide the horses and all the safety gear needed, the only things people have to bring is themselves and suitable riding gear – especially good footwear. We’ve got around 20 horses here, so pairing people off with the right mount is easy.
The two-hour rides start at the foot of the hills at Mulla Creek, the horses are all good natured and educated, and riders of all levels – from the very beginner right through to the experienced – are catered for.Anyone wanting to make a booking – perhaps even an enjoyable outing with the kids during the upcoming Christmas school holidays – can contact Jason on 0467 644250.
By Vinnie Todd