Banjywon Park


He doth nothing but talk of his horses.
~William Shakespeare

The name Banjywon is derived from an outback station that my nanna lived on. Although the spelling is different the pronunciation is the same. All our horses carry the Banjywon prefix as a thank you to my grand parents. This is because, when I was 18 years old, they helped finance me to purchase my first "good" brood mare - a thoroughbred, Comic Court granddaughter Galway Flyer. Thus Banjywon Park was born.

I have loved horses all my life and started my "riding" career on the tough, smart stock horses that my Aunt and Uncle had on their property at Castleburn near Dargo. The two that most come to mind had the wonderfully ordinary names Sally and Dumpy. My sister (left) and I learnt to ride on these two very forgiving and patient animals that were brumby / Arabian crosses. I believe that this is where my love of the stock horse began, although unregistered they really were the epitome of the true "stock horse" to me. And probably still are, such was their lasting impression.

Over the years we rode many horses of my Uncle's, dusty, hot trips behind bellowing cows and calves that went for days as we took mobs to and from the Dargo High Plains. They were hard trips but the horses took them in their stride, even though, towards the end they were well into their 20s. I hear people today say, oh that horse is too old, it is 15 or 16 years. Goodness! I would say that, if they are good horses and well looked after there is another 10 years in them!

My first horse was a small brown mare that I purchased in partnership with my sister. She was a cross bred pony that we called Plai-Thyme. This little mare went to live at Dargo and had a foal faithfully nearly every year for us - although none were destined to survive for very long. The first died as a 2 year old, the second was sold to other locals and was struck by lightning at about 12 years of age. The next went into a fence and received brain damage as a yearling and the next died of a twisted bowl at the age of 7! The mare herself had to be destroyed at 15 - you would think that all this would be enough to put me off horses forever! Not so! And, I am pleased to say that that bad luck (touch wood) has not followed on since then, apart from the occasional mishap! Most of the bad luck with the horses has happened before I was able to keep them with me, on my own place. Does vigilance help in their safety? For sure, but somethings you just cannot stop.

My first riding horse was an anglo arabian gelding by Tristram Genoa called Conja Gift or "Ben" as he was known to us. I purchased him as a little handled 20 month old and my love with the part Crabbet Arabian also began. Ben was my first "breaking in" attempt. If not for his marvellous temperament goodness knows how he could have turned out! I thought I knew it all, but of course, how wrong I was!

Ben was registered as a stock horse as a 4 year old and we attended a few pony club shows and did some jumping schools and lots of trail riding and mustering and droving and he was mu true delight. Until navicular struck him down at 7 years old. Would my luck never improve?

During the time Ben was still with me I bought Galway Flyer. A gentle and elegant T/B mare in foal to the twice reserve National Halter Stallion, "Robinvale Rossakha" bred on the Crabbet "Silver" bloodlines. This magnificent stallion broke his leg in 1987 and unfortunately had to be destroyed - a true waste. I had "Flyer" classified Australian Stock Horse and this was the true beginning of Banjywon Park.

The result of this union was the truly delightful and beautiful Banjywon Ripponleigh, to me the perfect anglo arabian with an exquisite, dry head with a huge eye, better than I had seen on a lot of pure breds! Magnificent length of rein, strong body, long clean legs and MOVE!!! Boy can she move!

I showed her in hand as a yearling and two year old, winning at her first show out and winning or placing at A and B class shows every outing. Much to the horror of my "showy" friends, when I broke her in at aged two and a half, I started to take her "up the bush". "What if you scar her!?" They exclaimed. I said that she was a stock horse first and a show horse second. I did not realise at this time that the arabian type horses find it very difficult to do well in the Australian Stock Horse world. And this is what I wanted to do. I campdrafted Leigh at one competition before discovering that I was 6 weeks pregnant. So, in deference to my husband, I did not compete but just mustered for my in-laws and trail rode with my friends. Leigh was 4 at the time and a delightful, quietly spirited ride, if you understand what I mean.

Once I stopped riding at about 6-7 months I decided to put Leigh in foal to a Stock Horse Stallion called Cock Robin. The resulting foal threw too much to the arabian side of things but is now competing very successfully at State Level Pony Club. I tried once more to breed Leigh with the resulting foal being Banjywon Scandal who unfortnately received bad injuries as a weanling. Leigh was sold as I continued to venture into campdrafting and spent 10 years doing a bit of trail riding but mainly sitting in the paddock being talked to and petted. I am delight that I have now purchased her back and am expecting great things from her in the brood mare band.

I could go on forever about the wonderful, and sometimes not so wonderful horses that have touched my life in one way or another but the next most significant for me was definitely the beautiful riding pony mare Waverleigh Odette.

Odie was purchased from the West Gippsland Branch of the Australian Stock Horse Society in February, 1992. While not a registered mare she had done campdrafting and stock work. It was one of those spur of the moment buys, she glowed under the bright overhead lights, spun on strong hocks and strutted on straight clean legs. I bought her in partnership with a friend for the massive sum of $450. Little did I know that her back ground was one of torment and abuse and her trust of the human race was zero. More of her story in the Horses from our Past.

When my husband and I decided to try for a second child we put Odie in foal to Trewarric Secret, who stood at the Glen Park Stud and belonged to my friend Jenny Wain. He was quiet, friendly, strong, athletic and attractive, maybe a bit on the small side, being only 14.2, but I felt, a good mate for our highly strung and sometimes stressed out Odie. The result was Banjywon Sparrow. I was delighted.

Having met most of Secret's foals and followed his career for some years, as well as having ridden him and handled him on numerous occasions, I decided to purchase his son from Jenny's husband's campdrafting mare "Trader". This foal was not really meant to have been as he was the result of a "midnight rendezvous" one summer evening and was not really expected until Trader was around 7 months old and not "losing that belly"!! I had always wanted a buckskin and when"Jetson", as I christened him on the day of his birth, entered the world I set about trying to acquire him. This took me 12 nearly months but I always knew he would be mine!
Unfortunately he did not grow tall enough - making just 14 hands so was sold on.

The other major influence, and now I suppose the foundation mare of our little stud, is Banjywon Chance. This lovely old style stock horse mare was, once again, come upon in the sale yards. I had always admired a stockhorse stallion called Chan's Last by Chan. My uncle has several very capable horses by him and I had had one which unfortunately had an inclination to buck! My friend, Jenny Wain had leased a very well bred stallion Table Top Able Sam from Brian Brunton in New South Wales and I was keen to find a mare of Chan's Last breeding to borrow and join to him in the coming season. I had asked my uncle but the only mare not in use (incidentally one he had bought from me out of old Galway Flyer by Chan's Last) was already down with a stallion. So I thought I had lucked out.

I went with a friend to the Sale Horse Sales and was browsing around with a 6 week old son in the pusher when I spotted this raggedly looking bay mare. I made the comment that her type really appealed to me and after going back several times was absolutely besotted. However, I did not want to buy a mare with "no breeding" and that I knew nothing about. Slightly later I bumped into another friend of mine and, during the conversation, found out that, not only had she trucked this bay mare down with 2 others for her neighbour, the neighbour was the owner of Chan's Last and indeed the bay mare was his daughter! Well, call that fate! I borrowed a mobile, rang the owner and, after discussion, found out that she was aged, quiet (this could be unusual for a Chan's last) but not a beginners horse, and guaranteed not in foal although she had had several. I even knew her mother!

Well, that was it! I bought her for $325 and proudly carted her home. She had not been ridden for nearly 2 years and had never been in an enclosed float. She walked straight onto the float and never even moved on the way home. I took her out, put a saddle on her and rode her around the yards - perfect. I hadn't been on a horse myself since I was about 3 months pregnant so we made a come back together! She won me that day and I still adore her.

Waverleigh Odette died of salmonella poisoning 5 months after leaving our property.

Chance turned out to be in foal, to whom, we don't know, but the result was Banjywon Highlander, a lovely black colt with magnificent temperament. I was a bit annoyed as I had wanted to join Chance to Table Top Able Sam and it looked as if she would not foal before Sam had to return to N.S.W. She did, however and we had one chance at serving her but that was all it took. I had borrowed Leigh back and joined to Sam because I did not want to miss out on his blood lines so now we were expecting 2 "Sam" foals. I was so pleased with the Chance/Sam cross that we did indeed repeat this mating 2 more times until Sam's untimely death from a broken leg.

Since then much water has flowed under the bridge. Our aim has diverted to endurance and I have seperated from my husband and moved to a smaller property in East Gippsland. And the story continues....

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