#112: Horseriding!

Dogs worship humans. Cats despise us. Horses will meet your eye as you approach, and make up their minds what they think of you (the results of which will be clear as you ride them).

This was my birthday present from CJ, and it was exactly as excellent as I remembered from distant childhood memories (I had friends with horses for a while). Also, it definitely counts as research for my steampunk book.

This was my horse – Max.

As you can see, we hit upon a simply stunning location – and the staff instantly became some of my favourite people. The main lady, Janice, is smart and sarcastic and I can’t imagine her anyplace not surrounded by ducks, cats, dogs and horses (it would be too much of a shame for the animals). Our riding companion was a real country boy (which to me is fantastically exotic). Both CJ and I know we are city folk through and through, and it was great to talk to someone who would be as sickened and uncomfortable in our lives as we would be in his. It was absolutely clear that the quality of our experience was a direct result of the competence and horse knowledge of the staff. These people are passionate about what they do (and so laid back we spent about three times as much time there as we expected – loving every minute).

This is not something I’ve been paid to endorse – it’s something too brilliant to keep to myself. (These guys are emphatically a different company to the Pender Lea operating at Thredbo.) It was about a half hour drive from Merimbula. Here are all their details:

Pender Lea Trail Rides

Kia-Ora Mia

Tantawanglo Lane, Candelo NSW 2550 (6km north of Candelo)

Phone: 02 6493 2862

Mobile: 0427 048 636

Web: www.penderleahorserides.com.au [which is having issues at the moment]

[Editorial note made in 2013: There is significant controversy about this company, including dozens of allegations of animal abuse as well as assaults on people – see comments for details.
Editorial note 2014: The owner has now been convicted of a long list of crimes against animals – see comments for details.]

Horses to suit all standards of riders. Some of the rides available:

  • Twilight ride between 5:00pm to 7:00pm.
  • Day rides available by booking only.
  • Pony Rides for the little people in the family.
  • Catering for families, small exclusive groups or large corporate groups.


Horses are visually stunning; a mix of calm and powerful, with daunting size (and bearing; cows are a similar size but no-one describes cows as “noble”) and very visible muscles beneath short fur. They tend to shuffle or stamp a foot periodically and/or swish their tail or shake their head. They snuffle, snort (especially in frustration), whinny (especially in greeting), and neigh. They are hotter than humans to touch, and soft like velvet.

The sensation of having them eat from one’s hand is quite dry and breathy. Their lips are giant and firm (unlike human lips, which are soft and mould to other objects). And they look mighty fine in water.

Walking on a horse is quite leisurely and comfortable, although the four-legged gait is just a little odd. If you fall asleep, you will fall off. Otherwise (unless your saddle is too loose) it is quite difficult to fall off. The reins are no good for balance – just steering. You grip with your knees – using unfamiliar muscles that made us both sore.

Riding a trotting horse is more difficult than any other step – it’s extremely bumpy. You need to get into the syncopated rhythm, and use the stirrups to go up and down with the horse.

A canter (or slow gallop) is exhilarating as well as being quite smooth. If you start to slide off (most likely due to attempting to turn the horse, or if the horse turns itself or leaps an obstacle), you probably won’t be able to correct yourself unless you’re moderately competent (my foot fell out of one stirrup, and that was fine). It feels wonderfully smooth (if you sit back in the saddle and flow with the steps) and fast – like flying, but with the exciting immediacy of being close to the ground.

Getting on a horse is a little like climbing into a tall vehicle while knowing it may or may not move, but a confident (and reasonably tall) person can get on first go using a stirrup. Falling off a horse generally involves a slide to one side or another, a brief trip downwards as the horse exits stage left – then a bruising hit on the shoulder, hip, or side (unless there are complications). Neither of us fell off (CJ had never ridden a horse before).

The strong smell of horse is about 10% Human Male Who Needs A Shower; 50% Leather; and 40% wet dog. It sticks to everything – clothing, humans, saddles, blankets – for days or years afterwards (depending how well they can be washed). So long as you’re outdoors, it smells wonderful (in much the way that freshly-cut grass smells good).

If you haven’t ridden a horse, you REALLY should. We rode for an hour and a half, and it cost $45 each.

Here’s a video that makes our canter look a lot slower than it really is:

Some awesomenesses that are fast approaching:

Karaoke (oh f–foccacia)

Hot air balloon

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and http://twittertales.wordpress.com. My fantasy ebook is on sale at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278981.

41 thoughts on “#112: Horseriding!

  1. I have to disagree with your comment about cows. Well, some cows. The average Hereford or milker aren’t that exciting I admit, but Droughtmaster’s and Brahman’s are majestic and noble beasts…… They carry themselves differently, and the horns really help…..

    I do love horses though…… They have an interesting combination of real intelligence and simple stupidity.

    1. Ann: I guess we can handle a disagreement on whether cows are noble or not. It’s true about horse and stupidity – I once saw one walk directly into a tree that was only a handspan wide.

      1. Hi Louise,

        we went on a great ride with these people, along the river up to the weir.
        It was just magic!!
        One of the girls was having a birthday party so it was a day to remember.
        Where did you go?
        Beautiful country-side.


      2. Nadia: We went in a simple loop over several creeks, about halfway up the hill. It was stunning bushland, and the rocks were all kinds of beautiful colours.

  2. Well, this really is awesome! 😀 I ride horses every Saturday and usually work with them for a few hours afterwards. It’s really great and refreshing to see such enthusiasm for horses, especially from someone who’s as great with words as you 🙂 Keep it up! And I hope you go riding again 🙂

  3. Louise,

    we were inspired by your note to go riding again and tried the website, but no luck.
    Keen for a ride.

    What’s the problem with the site ?

    Look forward to a ride.

    1. Hi Nadia. I’m delighted to hear you’re inspired! The web site has been down a little while. I suspect the problem with it is that the people running the show are country folk who don’t see a web site as a top priority. Just call them, and you can be riding in no time – that’s what I did. It was $45 each for an hour and a half.

  4. Hi Girls,
    we came down from leafy La Perouse Street for the week-end on the coast. Dad was looking at some property.I was hoping to go horse-riding on the sunday.We stayed in Merrimbula and had beautiful seafood on friday night, magic!
    We did the rounds of the estate agents in the morning ….found a couple of properties near Candelo.
    The agent sent us out to see this nice property at Tantawanglo,anyway we get there and there are all these horses on the place!
    We call the agent and he says something about them not meant to be there.
    From that point on it gets interesting ,it turns out the horses are owned by the horse riding place across the river, Janice and there is a court case over the trespass of the horses and that it has been going on for ages.
    We had a walk around and as we are leaving one of the locals stops in a ute and gets chatting,the person was keen to point out all the problems if dad bought the place and had nothing positive to say, which was a pity.He mentioned that a man had been assaulted at the gates who was acting as a caretaker only recently and had gone to hospital!
    “Deliverance” comes to mind?
    Other stuff particularly theft was mentioned to be going on in the area and it did not sound so attractive a place to live.
    It was not what we expected at all!
    On the way back to Merrimbula we called into the pub for tea and that was a whole other story.

    1. Nadia: Sounds like you had an adventure. Janice told us about the court case when we went there, so of course I know her side of the story. If nothing else, your story makes me grateful for the neighbours I have (mostly because I don’t even know their names).

  5. Louise,

    can’t imagine what her side of the story is,what is it?
    Any sane person would not have trespassing horses when going to court over that matter.
    Plays into the hands of the police and what is the excuse, when as the local said,
    “She can see them from her front door!”
    “Not her land so why are they there?”
    The police do nothing was also mentioned.

    Yes it was an adventure , i am thinking of using it for a paper on “Cultural Plunge” that i need to do for uni.
    The whole adventure is so different from Canberra.
    Some of the rumors were pretty serious but the general consensus was that she had assaulted this man at the gate ,stepped out of the car with a bar and laid into him. He was caretaker for that property.
    It was said he went to hospital ED and was treated .
    The sad thing is that the owner is selling-up because of the never ending difficulties with the neighbor.
    Pub locals mentioned a few people who have moved away because of the difficulties created and there were the same names mentioned .
    Other stuff was about theft in the area, stock going missing never to be found.

    The court case is interesting from what people said in the pub,the horses could be impounded very easily but there is no will to act .

    In part i have to thank you for giving me the material for this project.

    1. Nadia: Janice said the man had taken down boundary fences in order to cause the horses to trespass. (How else would they get in there, particularly at such a time?) I liked Janice very much, but it’s nothing to do with me so I didn’t pay that much attention to the details. I’m glad you have material for your project. The ugliest bits of life do tend to make the best bits of writing.

      1. This woman is a horse hoarder. She has hundreds if horses, neglected – no adequate food, water, shelter, stallions running with colts, inter-breeding, injured horses with no medical attention, horses tethered/tied up with unsuitable ropes for unnecessary time with no access to water.
        There is currently an RSPCA investigation into this womans lack of care for her horses.
        Have a look at the Facebook page: Save the Penderlea Horses….you can see for yourself the terrible conditions these pitiful horses have to live in.

  6. Why didn’t she fix the fence?

    Anyway i just thought it strange when being taken to court to continue to allow trespass?
    Law always says it is the animal owner’s responsibility.

    Nothing much happens in La Perouse St, so it was great to get material for my project.


  7. Louise,
    we spent a few weekends down on the actual coast and it was really great.

    Did the woman mention to you that she hit the man with the bar ?
    We had a counter meal at the pub again and it wasn’t long before people again were making comments about her activities .
    They mentioned she normally gets others to do her dirty work.
    Theft was mentioned.
    That fences and gates get cut pretty regularly if she wants in, a trademark entry.

    It is a great story and you wonder what there is that people won’t tell you?
    All in all it is not that attractive a scene but it sure is material for some project,
    cultural plunge!


  8. Louise, the man went to hospital with the injuries he received, he was an elderly man . She hit him repeatedly with an iron bar. There is no excuse!
    it is not her property and she was trespassing.
    Do you need to see the photos?

  9. This woman is a cruel human being. Despicable neglect of the the horses that are ” out of site”

    1. The matter of the neglect and cruelty to the animals is very evident and there is not a single person we spoke to in the area who had a different opinion.
      The assault on Mr Adlam took place on private property where she was trespassing .
      She had no business to be there and the trespass was a matter before the courts.
      It was said she got out of her car screaming and laid into Mr Adlam with a bar which she keeps by her seat.
      He went to hospital and was admitted with injuries consistent with being assaulted then went to the police to report the incident in person.
      Since then there have been at least one other incident of assault by the person, one of which before the courts and the person charged by police.
      Lara from Save the Pender Lea Horses on Face book , she was assaulted and her life threatened a, robbed as well.
      There is a fair bit of info that people don’t know about violence and events , this will come out .

      1. Hate to say this but the neglect of these poor horses still going on ,back in court next Tuesday 28th July 2020 n yes this woman’s evil ways still going she assulted me 9th Dec

  10. The trespassing incident was because Janice Northey, the runner of this trail riding facility, had her horses on someone else’s private land. The caretaker of the land cut the fences, to let the horses out because it was his responsibility to get rid of them. Janice came at him with a steel pole and assaulted him. This went to court only a few months ago but unfortunately, Keith, the man who Janice assaulted with the steel pole, was 64 and had heart conditions. He died before the hearing.

    Everyone, Penderlea Trail Rides in Candelo own beautiful horses that are kept in great conditions whilst they are making money. However, the replacement stock and old horses are thrown into paddocks to breed as they like. The trail riding horses are only about 40% of the horses owned and the other 60% are all neglected and in shocking states. All of the locals know about this and the RSPCA is currently investigating the situation. this woman has been taken to court by the RSPCA years ago for horse neglect but unfortunately, due to bad animal welfare laws, the RSPCA lost the case.
    Since then, Janice Northey has continued to let her horses starve, dehydrate, inbreed, get sick, become lame and die from unnatural causes.

    Janice Northey has threatened many people, trespassed on peoples’ private land, neglected animals, taken locals and the council to court on numerous occasions. Yes, she is quite a nice woman until you mention horses being neglected or if you ever get in her way. Then, she turns into a cruel, spiteful, abusive person.

    I can assure you, that whatever money she makes from this trail riding facility does not go back into the horses that need it. Only the horses that make her money are cared for properly and even they, eventually, are left to starve and die in paddocks.

    I’m sorry but the façade that Penderlea Trail Ride puts up isn’t true. I myself rode there as a child and loved it. But I will never go there again after seeing these horses with my own eyes. They are in terrible states and there are dead horses all over the paddocks….

    1. This is well said ,thank god the trail rides closed down ,,ill fitting saddles ,bad teeth ,feet horse tied for hrs in sun with no water ,

  11. Love how Louise is ignoring the posts that expose Janice Northey for what she really is….

  12. Louise is just a very simple minded girl living in a world without ethics, she sees what she wants.

  13. Just a bit of info for people.
    The owner of the Penderlea Trail Rides in Candelo has been charged by the RSPCA for 38 counts of horse neglect and goes to court for mention tomorrow. Five horses were seized and more maybe to come.

    1. Thanks for the calm and rational (and therefore believable) info. I have updated the entry (again).

  14. Best we clear up the untruth that the caretaker cut the fences?

    The fact is the owner of the property was the one who cut the fence,, he said so, the fence was an internal fence not a boundary fence so he is free to do what he likes including keep the gates open at the front of the property.

    George ended up selling the property because he was sick of the never-ending troubles when it had started out as a retirement plan.
    Even the sale of the property was hampered by prospective buyers being harassed and intimidated.
    The estate agent had troubles , then there was a policeman who afterward made a formal complaint about how he had been treated when he viewed the property.
    Without this trouble the property would have fetched more money and one local said it was an effort to pull this price down.

  15. Penderlea horse owner convicted of 54 charges of animal cruelty on 22nd April 2014. Fined $23,900 cruelty fines, $24,677 in veterinary bills and $4,400 in legal fees for RSPCA. Maximum fines were $297,000 for such acts of cruelty, she got off easy.
    Banned from owning horses for ten years and the estimated 161 horses still owned by her are to be surrendered to the RSPCA within one month. The RSPCA already seized 6 horses and these 6 are remaining in RSPCA’s care.

    In the hearing, the judge said the Penderlea horse owner clearly neglected the horses food, water, shelter, hooves, skin, dental, fencing and parasite control. The RSPCA solicitor said the RSPCA had been investigating and receiving complaints about the horses for several years, but everyone knows unofficially she has been neglecting horses for well over 20 years.

    This is not evident when you go to the trail riding property, so please could everyone stop laying into Louise Curtis for defending this person. The owner is a cunning, devious trickster who can fool anyone into believing her stories and lies about why the horses look bad, why she is being taken to court etc… etc…..
    She is taken to court because she is a BAD, BAD person and she does awful things to humans and animals alike. Her horses are in bad condition because she doesn’t feed or water them and she allows them to breed – they only look good if used for trail riding and making money.

    Louise, please know the person you met is NOT a kind person and they have little regard to their horses health and safety so long as she can exploit them for money in one way or the other. I believe she loves them in her own way, but that doesn’t matter when they drop dead in her care…
    You can ask anyone in this area and they will tell you multiple, horrific stories about their experiences with this awful woman.

  16. That “Anonymous” individual is a LOW LIFE ARSEHOLE, who doesn’t have the guts to stand up and say the truth of who he/she is..LAIRS do that normally.. back stubers too

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