Off Again! 2005 - 2006 travel blog

New Zealand is very volcanic hence the undulating landscape. Cheleken Stud is...

The nearby 'Omaha' beach

'The Shack', my home for the last 2 months!

On a daily basis I had to do the 'farm check' -...

The mares and foals waiting anxiously for their daily feeds!

Any horse with a white facial marking has to wear a 'visor'...

Only a few hours old, Puzzle was born in the middle of...

Coco feeling very sorry for herself after her operation to straighten her...

The foals are just starting to lose their baby fur. Zepher is...

Bella was one of my favourites!

No this isn't one of NZ's beautiful native birds as I first...

Megan, a very friendly kiwi and her dog Benji - my hosts...


As many of you know I have spent the past couple of months working for Cheleken Stud in Matakana, a wine region on the East coast of the North Island, approx 1hr north of Auckland.

Two words describe the time spent there - bored and isolated!!! The job and stud was unfortunately not what I had imagined when I took the it, but to a certain degree I suppose it has served its purpose in the fact that I have bided time from when I got kicked out of Oz when my visa expired in December, until this week when Mum and Peter arrive in New Zealand for another Needham/Jackson tour!!! I haven't got into any more debt but I also haven't managed to really save anything either like I had intended to through no fault of my own (or an exhuberate social life)!!!

I lived on site in a 'rundown shack of a house' (up until 3wks a go I had to flush the toilet with a jug!!!) on my own, which was very handy in terms of going to work in the mornings but not when you want a break from the horses and want to get out! With no form of transport and no taxi companies in the area you can imagine what my social life has been like over the past couple of months!! Let's just say I am thoroughly looking forward to the next 4wks with Mum and Peter, and some stimulating conversation on anything but horses! And I will finally get to see some of New Zealand, what I intended to do when I came out here - all I have seen of New Zealand so far is Auckland and Te Anau where I stayed with Logan and his family over xmas.

The actual job as groom to two sisters, Ana (not Anna) and Torrs Rattray who breed, train and compete showjumpers was very testing at times. The main object of taking a horsey job was to get some riding in as I haven't done much since Frosty was sold, well that didn't really happen - if I was lucky I got to ride the 20yr old school mistress out on a hack!! On a positive note I have I suppose learnt a bit about breeding and have spent a lot of time looking after 5 foals all under 3 months old. Unfortunately I missed all their births (one was born in the middle of the night and we just found it in the field the next day!!), but watching them get more confident and develop their own individual characters each day is a great experience.

All I can say is that this job has been an experience and one that I don't want to repeat in a hurry! New Zealanders have a very long to go before they catch up with the Europeans in the horse world!!

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