If you've had to field the question 'can I have a pony' you've already needed to think about the financial and logistical responsibility that goes along with saying yes! Despite the expense and commitment, horse-riding is a fantastic way to build a child's self-esteem and often leads to lasting friendships both human and equine.
So what if there was a compromise - a happy medium where your child could experience all the joy of owning and caring for a pony without the need to buy one straight away or at all?
This is where The Saddle Camp has become the perfect solution (or delaying tactic) for the parents of horse-loving children across NSW (and beyond!).
Your daughter will have the opportunity to try all those things she dreams about - jumping, riding bareback, cantering, riding out for picnics, plaiting up for shows or anything else she can think of we'll be happy to make happen.
Not only will we make it happen - but we'll keep her safe doing it too. We have 6 very well trained horses that we have owned for years and know well (their strengths & weaknesses, and what they can and can't do). They are a part of our own family, and we feel a strong responsibility for their welfare and happiness just as much as we do to your daughter.
The Saddle Camp offers a safe, fun-filled, exciting adventure for your daughter where she will be with a small group of girls with plenty in common, riding quiet horses and welcomed as part of our family.
We’re on a 168 acre scenic property in the Southern Tablelands just 10 minutes’ drive from the historic town of Braidwood – 1 hour from Canberra, 40 minutes from Batemans Bay and 3 hours from Sydney. There is full mobile phone reception, and in the rare event it is needed - the hospital is just 10 minutes away and on-site First Aid trained staff and equipment is constantly on hand.
Drop off your daughter on your way for a holiday at the Coast, and rest assured she’ll be as safe, well-fed and having as much fun as you are (if not more!).
Helen & Robert Faulkner (with Blake, Dexter & Carson)
I first fell in love with horses at a school excursion to Little’s Animal Farm when I was 7. I was picked, out of my whole class, to sit on a big grey horse. For the next 7 years my parents had no peace. My parents kept a copy of my wish-list to Santa where I filled a whole page with “A horse, a horse, a horse…” By the time I was 14 I’d worn them down and got my first pony, Dusty - a black and white pinto. I loved him so much – he’d meet me at the gate every afternoon after school, and I rode him bareback everywhere. We went on great trail rides exploring the area and we made many good friends. He was freedom.
I always wanted to own a horse riding farm, so after finishing school I studied business management while working full-time in the travel industry and on weekends at Darkes Forest Riding Ranch. In 1997, when I was 21, I missed out on a promotion at work and decided to start my own business. I sent a proposal to the local shopping centre offering to dress as an elf and give people rides in a horse-drawn elf-mobile for Christmas. They loved it! We signed contracts and shook hands, and I didn’t dare tell them I’d never driven a horse and cart before.
Anyway, that terribly risky start led me to a Carriage Driving Career - driving my horse Cupid for Weddings, for Marie Bashir State Governor of NSW as part of a National Trust Opening Ceremony, for Willie Wonka in a Nestle Chocolate campaign around Darling Harbour, as a Tourist Guide of Braidwood (the highlight of which was my stint on the Sydney Weekender show with Mike Whitney, where I cracked a joke on National Television). And it led to many newspaper, t.v. and radio interviews.
But BEST of all it led me to owning the most beautiful riding school in the world - with gorgeous horses and people to work with every day in a brilliant setting.
I originally started the riding school side of our business in Sutherland Shire, Sydney, using any paddocks I could find and flat grassed areas to teach on! But in 2003, my parents drove through Braidwood and thought my carriage would fit perfectly into this Heritage Listed town. I came down and fell in love with the area and bought this 168 acre property, with nothing but trees, grass and native animals on it (plenty of them!). My parents and brother built the shed (which is now our fully fitted out Club-house, Café & Accommodation – by Rob) and we put the caravan inside it and I moved down with my horses. I worked in Canberra and on weekends gave lessons and carriage rides around Braidwood. In 2007, I was introduced to Rob by some of my riding lesson students from Sydney (thanks Caroline!) and Rob has transformed everything! We now have 3 gorgeous boys (keen riders themselves) and a really comfortable, beautiful place to live and work in. Any chance you have, we’d love to have you visit!!!
Working with children check number- WWC0661092E
"My daughter had the most wonderful time. There were quite a few tears upon return as she had to return to her very normal, no excitement, no horse family - such is the terrible life she leads. Thank you so much for taking such good care of her." from Liz in Sydney.