The Racing Horse had the most successful racing holiday in Australia but we also took advantage of some fabulous rest and recreation. There were many highlights but simply the best was horse riding in Centennial Park in Sydney - something I had wanted to do for a long long time. Please excuse this piece if it reads like an advert but the truth is, this was one of the best places I have ever visited and most rewarding and on a number of levels!
There are few parks in the world that offer inner-city horse riding and remarkably, within this peaceful sanctuary teeming with history, we witnessed the extraordinary splendour of beautiful parklands moving from spring to summer and the accompanying birdlife. This hidden gem is not known to overseas visitors at all and even interstate and locals are massively surprised to find this quality of experience available to the general public! It is absolutely impossible to receive a better view, participation and reward and I truly believe that the Equestrian Centre and Centennial Park is the most unrivalled horse, stable, walk and view integration anywhere in the world! I challenge the reader to prove me wrong!
We passed the Federation Pavilion, an important historical monument where Australia proudly became one nation in 1901, whilst gazing at many of the 120 native water and land birds that are recorded here. Spectacular trees, floral displays and picturesque ponds delightfully add to the magnificent backdrop where majestic views and vistas of the Sydney skyline complete the most idyllic landscape found nowhere else on earth. I make no apologies for the language used and the clip below gives just a small taste of what was enjoyed.
Furthermore, the visit to the Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre itself was exciting, interesting and rewarding also. The five high calibre schools with nearly 200 horses that operate from there were so impressive in everything they did and all this just 5km from the CBD. I have never witnessed so many horses given the absolute best care and attention both physically and mentally. The stables were spotlessly clean, spacious and welcoming and the horses were clearly thriving in their home. The visit was a joy and will last forever in the memory.
I could not have imagined the setting and it was there we met Thelma (pictured) at Sydney Horse. She was an 8yo Percheron Standardbred mare standing at 15.1h who had previously worked in the ACT horse riding school. She was also a harness horse for 18 months and travelled 4,000kms in harness around New South Wales and Victoria with another horse called Louise. Given my weight and experience she was the one I chose to ride and what a lovely calm, sweet and engaging nature she had. I had not known at that point but she was always in great demand for Centennial Park rides and ideal for lessons for beginners and those more advanced and I now know why - bless her.
The staff at the Equestrian Centre clearly loved their job and their horses and there was much fussing and loving and this transmitted naturally and spontaneously to the patrons who used the facilities. It was reassuring to know that each and every horse goes on holiday twice a year to relax and recharge their batteries and as with any holiday this was done to take advantage of the best possible weather for the horses.
Importantly Sydney Horse had a range of horses and ponies to suit every shape/type of rider no matter how experienced and there were horses suited to carrying weights between 10kg and 90kg. The centre had covered and outdoor arenas ideal for horse riding lessons as well as the 3.8km riding trail for Centennial Park horse riding, they even had an electronic and mechanical horse to help your horse riding. Kitting up was not a problem and all the riding tack was pristine. Apart from learning how to ride the centre taught patrons, including children and adults, how to look after their horses in ways that are both safe and fun. Horse riding is clearly one of life's best experiences and we wanted to share our experience in this most perfect place. Anyone who enjoys horses and gets the opportunity must visit to truly appreciate the beauty of the surroundings!
Please check out the website but the address of Sydney Horse: Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre, 114-120 Lang Road, (near corner of Cook Road) Centennial Park. They are right next door to the Entertainment Quarter and Fox Studios and a stone’s throw from the Robertson Road Gates of Centennial Park.
Please excuse the irritating voice and commentary below but the content is both excellent and pertinent and shows exactly what is going on within the Equestrian Centre. If this does not excite the viewer then nothing does, suffice it to say - we were and must revisit sometime in the near future:
Today's Pacafi: click here
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