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