The Horse Highway Genesis

The Horse Highway genesis

How did the Horse Highway & Trails project come about?

An accomplished equestrienne from Toowoomba in Queensland, Ms Dale Philpot, started the ball rolling. She asked me years ago to form a Team & ride the Bicentennial National Trail. We would take a video crew and do a documentary of the ride. But, the timing was never right.

I found myself out of work late in 1999 and the ride down the BNT came to mind. I found the BNT Association in a state of poverty & the BNT open only in part due to a lack of maintenance.www.home.vicnet.net.au/~bnt/

What was needed was a fund-raising venture. I researched an International Teams ride down the BNT – 5 countries x 3-person teams. We would inject VIP’s & Celebrities into the ride to keep up TV interest. It took 3 months to design.

Then I found that –

  • Most of the BNT in Queensland runs through private property & they don’t like horse groups.
  • Much of the Trail in NSW & Victoria runs through national parks & they don’t like horse groups.
  • The BNT is managed by a minimum use policy to maintain the rugged, pristine condition of the trail campsite numbers are limited to 3 or 4 people.
  • There are no showers, toilets or campsite facilities for some 80% of the trail.

The BNT is a great trail – but as a national horse trail it is a failure – a bit like comparing rodeo with dressage.

What the BNT is & designed to be is an excellent Heritage Trail depicting conditions during Australia’s pioneering days. It is kept in the original, rugged condition & as a result has limited market appeal.

Why don’t we have a National Horse Trail – was my immediate reaction ?

The rest is now history !

The research took me 2-years full time. It was assisted by Ms. Teresa Gambaro PM, who helped us obtain a Federal Equipment Grant. That got us a good computer, Internet access & much needed equipment.

The development of the project from a National Horse Trail to the Horse Highway & Trails Network, now supporting an Equestrian Development Fund – is a lesson in ……..

  • resource management,
  • pushing parameters,
  • optimising opportunities &
  • never being satisfied that the best has been achieved.

The Horse Highway & Trails network is a maximum use, maximum appeal, tourist facility. It will compliment the BNT & The Longest Ride inc has declared support for the BNT, ever since we started the research.

This is why the late & great … R.M. Williams keenly supported this Horse Highway & Trails project.

Just to get this far has been a grand adventure. Seeing it to fruition will captivate the rest of my life.

Come & join us – & build together an exciting, healthy, adventurous way to see country Australia.

John R. Brodie. JP
Project Architect & Director

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