Sunday, 5 February 2017

LOOK LOCAL: Peppercorn Park Horses Jilliby NSW

I got to kiss that ear! 
On the last Friday of the Christmas school holidays, we woke up early and dressed for possible horse riding, with much (see: Noise) and (See: Lack of Coffee) we left for Jilliby - our first time driving to the area in NSW, to visit Peppercorn Park Horses. Good Lord bless Google Maps.

The first thing I noticed while we drove there, was that the landscape became greener and more lush the closer we got, my children’s excited squeals with every passing cow, calf, horse or foal was so worth it! There were also a few really beautiful and old cemeteries – if you’re like me and love to walk around looking at the gravestones! Nothing better than a glimpse into history.

We found Peppercorn Horse Park after one very long u-turn (we went to “Jilliby rd” instead of “Little Jilliby rd”) and I was immediately thrown twenty years back in time to my youth where we would live with my grandparents on DiemersfonteinWine Farm in Wellington Paarl, South Africa.  

We drove up the winding road through a few white gates, and as we crested the first ridge we saw the Paddocks leading off into the distance, filled with an assortment of Horses, and one little foal/filly? That we had to stop and see. 

Getting out of the car and seeing this absolute beauty was the first of many exciting surprises in store! 
We saw a double story farmhouse under a canopy of green trees, dappled in shade. All around was a collection of horse riding equipment, barrels for practicing, harnesses and halters hanging on hooks. The smell of horses was INCREDIBLE! 

There is nothing in the world as beautiful as a saddle before a ride ;) 
Such memories of my youth doing riding lessons at the farm in Africa, the feel of the horse’s hair under my fingertips, the weight of the saddle, the jingle of the harness and the chomp and crunch of horses teeth on fresh carrots. The way sunlight highlights their long eyelashes and the depth of their character when you look into their eyes…

 Once I recovered from my nostalgic trip, I rounded up my girls and we made our way into the Farmhouse. The smell of honeyed scones filled the kitchen area and the laughter of little children and chatter of older kids filled the space. 

We felt immediately at home, this was real. A real working farm space, an experience that my children will never forget – and will cherish.

Jane Parnell is no ordinary Horseman, she is the mother of 7 great children, has recently had back surgery, and she is an Opera Singer! One of the first things she said to me with a flourish of her hand was
“These are my children, there are seven of them but some aren’t here right now, this here is my man Wayne the Bull Rider, and I’m Janey the Horseriding Opera Singer!”

Jane is so full of knowledge and history, here she was telling us about her rescued horses. 
I loved it!

Jane and her family started Peppercorn Horse Park three years ago, and they have faced their fair share of battles -  Jane’s daughter Jacinta was diagnosed with Cancer, she has just her second stem cell transplant. The family have really pulled together and are hoping for the best.

This is a family run venue and it's so lovely seeing their children take part in teaching and training. 
The abundance of bird life creates an incredible musical backdrop to all activities at Peppercorn Park and this is a rustic, rugged family establishment, a real working park. Click on the video below to hear the birdsong at Peppercorn Park. 

This family are quirky, true blue Aussies with an amazing family history, the activities at the Park are family oriented, and this is evident on their rugged farm, where customers become friends.

This family sticks together and they have a good solid work ethic.
After being with them for a few hours, I had a glimpse into the real solid community spirit at Peppercorn Park, a beach ride suddenly started forming via facebook and I watched Janey coordinate with her neighbours and contacts to make sure that the horses would be transported safely, fed and watered adequately, that there would be enough assistants on hand to make sure that the riders were safe on the beach. I just wished I could go with them!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have a ride due to the beach ride taking shape, but Janey drove us out to the far field where she selected horses for the ride, handed us their leads and had us walk them back to the farm house. Seeing my daughter Savanna leading a full-grown horse – and doing it well – was so precious to me.

Sav and Kel had never been this close to horses or ponies before. In such a relaxed environment. 
We then had to carry saddles to the fence, and my girls got to feel the weight of a saddle and watched how to saddle up a horse correctly, they then each had a lovely riding lesson as an unexpected treat! 

As My Little Pony Enthusiasts Savanna and Kelsey were blown away by their real horse and pony experiences - Thank you Peppercorn Park! 

They didn’t stop speaking about it for three days! It was an altogether wonderful morning.

Peppercorn Park Horses is open for business on Saturdays and Sundays - Operating hours 9am – 6pm. There are after school riding lessons are available for booking. They also offer Birthday Parties with Pony Rides! 


Pony Parties for your little one's birthday... heck. Your OWN birthday! 
A quick introduction to the family at Peppercorn Park:
Jane Parnell – a trained Opera Singer turned Director of Peppercorn Park Horses divides her time between their Narrabeen home and the Horse Park, while Wayne remains at Peppercorn Park Horses.
Son Josh (23) is a Pilot Instructor in Port Maquarie.
Daughter Jacinta (21) is a real estate agent in Mosman.
Daughter Bella (18) is a Uni student, and she wants to be a doctor, after seeing how Doctors have helped her sister – she is a strong singer like her Mum, and plays the guitar.
Daughter Lucia (14) is a Life saver and school student (and stem cell donor) – she also shares her Mum’s love for singing.
Daughter Gracie (12) is a student and horse rider, known for being a bit of a horse whisperer
Son Clancy (2) is a Sargeant Major in training and loves his Mum.
Son Rafael (10mths) is the family Comedian, full of smiles and a peek-a-boo champion.

They hope to see you there soon! 

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