ISSUE 62
JANUARY 2021
SAMMI &
GIZMO

FIND THEIR GROOVE
HAPPY DAYS
FOR HAYLEY
BERESFORD

JAMES PATERSON
-ROBINSON’S
FULL CIRCLE

PLUS: BLACK BEAUTY RIDES AGAIN, KERRY MACK, KELLY LAYNE, THE BILLY STUD, CAROLYN LIEUTENANT, DREAM BEACH ESCAPE, OTT TRANSFORMATION, HOW TO BEAT HEAT STRESS, THE POWER OF LIGHT & MORE!

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 62

CONTENTS

JANUARY 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Opinion

BACK TO THE FUTURE

RYAN’S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Eventing

SAMMI BIRCH & GIZMO FIND THEIR GROOVE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Dressage

HAPPY DAYS FOR HAYLEY BERESFORD

BY ADELE SEVERS

Showjumping

FULL CIRCLE FOR JAMES PATERSON-ROBINSON

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Lifestyle

BLACK BEAUTY RIDES AGAIN

BY SUZY JARRATT

Dressage

KELLY LAYNE & SAMHITAS MAKE A SPLASH IN FLORIDA

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

‘MAIZY’ LANDS ON HER FEET IN NEW ROLE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Special feature

COURAGEOUS KIWI BLAZES HER OWN TRAIL (Part 6)

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Training

BUILDING BETTER RELATIONSHIPS

DR KERRY MACK

Health

THE POWER OF LIGHT

BY EQUILUME

Showjumping

EVERYONE NEEDS A BILLY!

BY ELLI BIRCH

Health

HOW TO BEAT HEAT STRESS

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

EQ Journeys

HIDDEN TREASURE OF DIAMOND BEACH

BY MELISSA RIMAC

My Favourite Dish

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

WITH JAMES PATERSON-ROBINSON
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Dianne and Khalif, of Sea Horse Diamond Beach, galloping along the back beach. © Seahorse Diamond Beach
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Imagine cantering along an empty, outstretched beach, taking your horse to a café for your morning fix, and then heading back to what feels like your own private resort to lounge by the pool.

“All the ingredients for
an escapist beach break
feature in abundance.”

These are just some of the indulgences that await you at Diamond Beach on the NSW Mid-North Coast. At Diamond Beach, the crystalline water sparkles vividly and a lacework of alluring aquamarine pools fringe the shore. Sometimes the dolphins come in really close for a frolic; other times, you can almost make out the feather features on the sea eagles.

As we jogged north towards the lagoon that edges Saltwater National Park, we moved through plumes of tangy sea mist. This is a beach that stretches on, and blissfully further on, for almost 7km. A bird-rich swathe of coastal heather forms the backdrop and, for much of the year, the only footprints in the sand are likely to be your own.

All the ingredients for an escapist beach break feature in abundance here, however, there’s a trump card that makes Diamond Beach really shine: this is a place to live out daydreams of riding along a beautiful beach to your heart’s content.

As one of the rare beaches that are 24/7 horse and dog friendly (with the wilderness vibe unhampered by pesky four-wheel drives!) – it is not at all a stretch to refer to Diamond Beach as a true gem.

Just a short walk from the white sand awaits supremely comfortable, fetchingly atmospheric lodging for horses, hounds and their subsequently deeply contented humans. Sea Horse Diamond Beach is a spacious and thoughtfully appointed beach house surrounded by voluptuous tropical gardens, with a vast, spongy lawn for dogs to play on and a lush and shaded paddock for visiting horses.

Raising our glasses of red wine on a deck shaded by jacarandas and rainforest trees, we watch the afternoon sun ignite the back paddock into an incandescent green. How jealous our horses would be.

As well as Diamond Beach, which can be reached by way of a 10-minute amble from Sea Horse, there are plenty of other rewarding rides in this typically overlooked area north of Forster. Horses can be ridden on nearby Nine Mile Beach (also known as Tuncurry Beach) a sweeping sprawl of sand that’s also horse and dog-friendly for almost its entire length, although vehicles do use this beach. To my mind, the northern section of this long beach is lovelier, more pleasant to access and typically less crowded.

If you ride a little north from Sea Horse onto Old Soldiers Rd, there are bush riding trails in eucalypt forest. Nearby Possum Brush — which you would need to float to — is popular with local riders and offers a diverse range of forest rides, including trails through carpets of ferns.

However, it can feel superfluous to go too far from the beach. Mornings are most magical at our local, when the water is at its most gloriously glassy. After a ride on Diamond Beach, you can top off the buzz by having a coffee at horse-friendly Diamond Drive Café. Or, if you’ve been to the beach for an afternoon ride, a ride-up tipple might be appropriate — at Cellarbrations liquor store.

“This is a place to live out
daydreams of riding along
a beautiful beach to your
heart’s content.”

We’ve already started plotting to return with our horses, ideally to revel in a moonlight or sunrise ride on Diamond Beach. For now though, our “foster fail” from German Shepherd Rescue NSW, a big, beach-loving fluff-ball called Zircon, relished monopolising our attention. An inclusive attitude prevails at Sea Horse – dogs of all sizes are welcome and, of course, they can come inside. Best of all, there are gourmet treats for them on arrival.

Nearby Redhead Beach, which is accessed by a bird-embellished track through rainforest, and Blackhead Beach – home to a large ocean pool at the southern end and distinctive for its stately procession of Norfolk Island pines – are open to dogs for most of the day. Just about all the local cafes are dog-friendly.

We especially delighted in walking through rainforest to reach hidden little rocky coves behind Redhead and Blackhead Beach, which we had all to ourselves. Diamond Beach and Redhead Beach are dotted with whale-watching platforms that also make wonderful perches to simply hang out.

At Tuncurry, the break wall walk offers exciting views in big seas and when the tides are shifting. Dolphins are frequently seen playing in the channel. If you follow the shockingly turquoise inlet behind the bridge which links Tuncurry with sister town Forster, you’ll find picturesque spots for a picnic with arresting vistas of Wallis Lake and nearby islands.

The wider Manning Valley region rolls out a wealth of splendid scenery. Worthwhile explorations from Diamond Beach include the lofty Comboyne Plateau and the heritage charms of Wingham, which can be combined with a trip into Taree for horse feed.

With its nostalgic streetscapes and an appealing riverside walk, there’s an old-style country charm to Taree. The streetscapes of the village of Nabiac — now acclaimed for its farmers market and vintage shopping — also haven’t changed much since the early 1900s.

About a 20-minute drive north east of Taree is Harrington, a village with a fetching North Coast vibe with a historic pub overlooking an inlet thick with posturing pelicans. Drive a little further through a road edged by wind-sculptured coastal bush for a splendid mountains-meet-ocean panorama at Crowdy Head. Wide and evocative, Crowdy back beach seems to go on forever.

After beach-time, we eagerly head back to Sea Horse to lounge on the daybeds around the pool.

As I cook up a storm in the large, well-equipped kitchen, I watch the ocean turn metallic with the afternoon light. By night the sea scent had mingled with the heady aromas of the jasmine and orange jessamine, which embrace the house. The big open fire cranks up the romance.

There’s a cosy, rather privileged feeling about having the run of beaches most people don’t know about. At Diamond Beach and surrounds, there are no celebrity endorsements, no crowds, no high-rise, not the slightest whiff of trendiness or attitude – rather, people smile and say hello. What you get here is a heady sense of freedom, an abundance of nature and, best of all, the giddy joy of heading to the beach with your horse whenever you feel like it.

“After beach-time, we eagerly
head back to Seahorse to
lounge on the daybeds.”

EXPLORING THE MANNING & GREAT LAKES REGION

Think North Coast and the imagination almost instinctively leaps to the furthest reaches of NSW. And indeed, there seems to be something of a vortex on the Pacific Highway drawing people to acclaimed destinations such as Byron Bay.

And yet, just over three hours’ drive from Sydney and an hour-and-a-half from Newcastle lies a sparkling stretch of white sand beaches – many of which you’re likely to have pretty much – and sometimes even entirely – all to yourself out of peak holiday times, dramatically rearing headlands, a mosaic of shimmering lakes and rivers and a hyper-green hinterland that offers rewarding riding.

What the region lacks in hype it makes up for in natural wonders. Some standouts include:

• Spectacular coastal scenescapes south of Forster such as Cellito Beach – a wilderness reached through rainforest – and the acclaimed surf at Seal Rocks. The beaches of Pacific Palms delight with almost pastel turquoise water and rearing headlands.

• Mesmerising views of Wallis Lake can be had on the drive between Forster and Pacific Palms. Viewing hotspots, fringed by casuarinas and paperbarks, include Great Lakes Sailing Club and Pacific Palms Recreation Club.

• Walking the foreshore at Forster (Little Street offers exceptional views) is a must, while the Tuncurry break wall also offers captivating vistas.

• With its bayou-like wetlands, selection of scenic waterside picnic spots and sweeping, rainforest-fringed beaches, Manning Island feels delightfully tucked away.

• Hire a tinny and explore islands – many of which have their own little beaches at the entrance to the huge Wallis Lake. There are numerous boatsheds along Little Street, Forster, hiring craft that do not require a boat licence.

• At Forster, the walk to Bennetts Head provides stunning vistas

LOCAL EQUINE EVENTS

The local equestrian community is active, diverse and open to new faces. These are just some of the annual events:

• Nabiac Show – 1st weekend in March. Staged in a lovely old-style showground dotted with large trees, Nabiac show is a hot favourite with locals.

• Wingham Show – 2nd weekend in March.

• Taree Show – 2nd week in October.

STAYING AT SEAHORSE

This expansive, light and airy residence overlooks the ocean and has so many decks and private nooks that everyone can find a quiet place even if travelling in a group.

Dianne Denton, the owner, is an experienced and passionate equestrian and meets guests to help them settle in. Uncertain how to drive through with your float? Dianne can show you the ropes. Worried that your horse may not be beach savvy? Dianne will happily accompany guests to the beach with her trusty Arabian.

There are three separated stables for horses all with excellent lighting and plentiful watering options. Horses are treated to a biscuit of hay upon arrival and bedding can also be pre-purchased.

www.seahorsediamondbeach.com.au

OTHER HORSEY ACTIVITIES

• Team Penning at Nabiac and Wingham

• Campdrafting at Wingham Campdraft Club

• Manning Valley Dressage Club

• Manning Trail Horse Riders Club

• Mid-North Coast Working Equitation Club

• Kiwarrack Endurance Riders Club

• Wingham Showjumping Club

• Mid-North Coast Barrel Racing & Horse Sport Club

TIPS FOR TRAVELLING WITH YOUR HORSE

Dianne Denton has travelled extensively with her horses and helped countless guests settle their horses into the paddocks at Seahorse Diamond Beach. These are a few of her suggestions for travelling with your horse:

• Let your horse stay cool – don’t rug and boot them too much (if at all).

• Horses can get hot quickly when travelling in enclosed spaces such as a float. Make sure there is good flow-through ventilation (the inside temperature of a float can rise quickly to uncomfortable levels so best to err on the side of caution).

• Carry water and containers whilst travelling.

• Check your horse every time you stop.

AS FOR THE VEHICLE…

• Make sure tyres are pumped up properly and the spare is in good order.

• Ensure any equipment you are carrying is tied down or stored securely.

• Take it very slow and steady around bends and corners… this gives your horse time to adjust balance.

• Allow plenty of travelling time. EQ

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