“Owning horses is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s something my daughter and I can share together.” We speak with Clyde McGaw about his journey with horses – all the way from a small suburban unit to running a 45-acre horse property…
“It’s been a fairly steep learning curve,” admits Clyde. “As a child, my family was involved with owning [Thoroughbred] racehorses on and off, but we didn’t look after them ourselves. They were always managed on agistment properties.”
Born and raised in Ipswich, Clyde returned to the region with his wife in 2003; leaving a two-bedroom unit in St Lucia for a 45-acre horse property in Mt Marrow, near Walloon, where they welcomed the birth of their now 10-year-old daughter, Isobel.
“We’ve been here for 14 years and the number of horses has increased over time. My wife can’t stand them,” Clyde laughs. “But she understands it’s something that’s important for Isobel and I.”
“We have a mixed bag – a 24-year-old Welsh/Shetland cross – my daughter’s first pony and now paddock mate for our weanlings – a rising 18-year-old Thoroughbred broodmare, Isobel’s Welsh/Australian Pony cross, an Australian Stock Horse/Quarter Horse cross and a Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse cross.”
“For a few years, I worked drive-in, drive-out; having the horses meant quality time that I could spend with my daughter and it’s sort of carried on from there. I’m still learning to ride and I’ve been getting some coaching. I’m also learning natural horsemanship and hoof trimming, which I now do myself.”
“Isobel is a member of Rosewood Pony Club and continues with lessons once a week. She’s better than me. Riding horses just builds confidence in her and, being an only child, it gives her the chance to meet other kids, get out and about, and outside.”
In addition to riding with his daughter, Clyde also continues in his family’s footsteps – breeding Thoroughbred racehorses as a hobby.
“We had some minor successes back then, some winners in Townsville and Rockhampton. I’ve always been impressed by horses and potentially everyone has the chance to breed a champion. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be involved – but it’d certainly help.
“Our broodmare is full sister to a Group 1 winner. Her foal last year has gone to Singapore to race and we have another filly selling down the coast in March. Breeding a horse, selling it on and seeing it do well is fulfilling.”
“You may not own it, but had a connection with it; you made those decisions over time and you appreciate all the hard work that goes into it. From the moment their born, right through, you’ve got to think three years ahead.”
For these reasons, Clyde believes in seeking good advice for the health of his horses. “We look for honest feedback from vets, feed suppliers and even friends who have more experience.
“We have used a large variety of services offered by EEVS given our range and ages of horses – dental, breeding, branding, injuries, lameness, registration, blood testing and geriatric care.”