Having been around horses my whole life, I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms after spending my first few weeks without them on a recent trip to Australia. The horsey bug, if you’re lucky enough to catch it, doesn’t go away with time – it’s rather a terminal diagnosis that leaves you calling out every horse you see in a passing field and still getting that gleeful flutter when you swing your leg over for the thousandth time.
I asked around at different yards in various states, seeking out work or just to help in any way I could.
I wasn’t having much luck, however.
All that changed when I arrived in Byron Bay, NSW. I looked up the nearest equestrian centre, which happened to be Zephyr Horses. Their website and social media accounts immediately appealed to me, as they had an air of modern professionalism – and pictures filled their social media accounts with dreamy beach rides and sun-kissed manes. Keen to check the place out, I stopped by to enquire in person about work.
This turned out to be the best decision I could have made. The super-friendly team at Zephyr were keen to have me – I started the following day, and quickly felt at home within the first hour of being there. It was all familiar ground for me: working with clients, taking out treks, and getting horses ready among usual yard duties. As these had been requirements of my previous job, I felt very comfortable even in this new setting.
I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxed atmosphere they had. The horses got plenty of rest and swapped over in between rides, which also gave staff time to breathe between treks as well as get odd jobs done. The day passed quickly (as they always do when you’re having fun!), and I got more riding done than I possibly could have hoped. After assisting rides, I led out a forest trek in the afternoon with a super bunch of ladies, and had a fantastic fast-paced romp through the bush.
As for the horses at Zephyr, I can’t sing their praises enough. What a polite herd! They all seem extremely content with life. They live out all together, and are allowed to be horses – something you don’t often get to see in bigger commercial yards. This shows in their work, and it’s awesome to see they’ve all retained personalities and quirks that haven’t been soured by boredom or dislike for their job. Each one is reliable and versatile in catering to the level of rider on their back. They’re a credit to the ladies at Zephyr that work them – or, in some cases have backed them or re-trained them themselves.
I had the pleasure of riding out on their little chestnut, Ranger, on numerous occasions to the dreamiest locations. We explored the surrounding forests on leafy private tracks and took customers onto a quiet stretch of beach for a splash in the glittering, turquoise shallows.
It was an experience I’ll never forget. Zephyr Horses was such a refreshing workplace – not just because of the location, but also the awesome, energetic people that run it and the fun, dependable horses that call the place home. In addition to their forest and beach rides, Zephyr also offers photoshoots and packages, private lessons, and thrilling horseback archery and trick riding clinics – just to name a few things! They really are a versatile bunch.
I’ll be back one day, but until then, I’ll be flying the Zephyr flag and singing their praises all the way over here in Scotland!