A HORSE WHISPERERS TALE

Cath Welsh lives in New Zealand with her family on a beautiful horse ranch, way up in the mountains overlooking the ocean. A small herd of wild ponies live in the valleys with their own horses. She invites people to come and spend time with them, watching and learning the silent language.

"I have always been passionate about horses. I learnt to ride without saddle and bridleand met my first pony on the wild and windy Yorkshire moors where i rode each day and prepared for my fist long distance trek in the Dales. My early memories of gazing through the gate at a nearby farm for hours just watching the horses and of riding on a donkey on Blackpool sands are the first ones of a lifelong relationship with these wonderful and graceful beings."

I began riding at a stables in Yorkshire going out onto the wild and windy moors once a month at the age of 9.

Then a lively skewbald colt came trotting up to our farmhouse during a wild storm. A week later he was mine and a year later at the age of 13, I was able to follow my dream with him and set off riding long distance around the Dales together for 2 weeks. Each night I would stay in a picturesque village at a youth hostel and there I would ring my parents and let them know I was OK. My idea of heaven was riding all day long, sometimes up to 30 miles, reading maps and exploring the quiet lanes and open moorlands of the quaint Yorkshire Dales.

My horse, Si, became my faithful companion for the next 33 years and we travelled 1000s of miles together, learning to communicate with one another in a common language and exploring the rugged wilderness of England, Wales and Scotland.

Wanderlust and my yearning for adventure took me to New Zealand . I had a dream to catch and ride 2 wild horses In 1991 I went to the "Land of the long white cloud" and within 2 weeks found my wild horses in the South Island. What luck!

I remember camping beside the river way up in the Fairy Queen mountains the night before I bought my horses. The sky turned a deep red and the golden light bathed the horses penned up in the corrals nearby and although they were undernourished, hungry and scared their spirit was magnificent. The sunlight pouring in through my tent at dawn woke and I immediately went to the corrals and gazed through the rails. I singled out 3 horses then waited for the day to unfold. I wondered if I did actually bid for these horses, how was I going to catch them as I had no ropes and how would I carry my pack without my saddlebags.

It was probably one of the most unprepared journeys in history and that is how I live my life! I am always in the moment, trusting in the Divine and manifesting my needs as if by magic!

With a scratch on the nose at the right moment at the auction, I found myself the proud owner of a huge bay gelding and a magnificent golden palomino filly. "Sold to the lady in the white hat," the words echoed around my head.

The midsummer sun beat down on us all day and I was left in an empty corral with my two huddled in a corner. I felt so sorry for them. One minute they were running wild and the next they were penned against their will by humans. I always sing to my horses and little repeated mantras seem to relax them whilst I am training them. I often sing their names. I called these two Ashka and Merlin. They turned first an ear, then an eye and then their bodies. They took a few steps toward me and our friendship began. The magical dance. It was so familiar to me after taming and training many Welsh cobs when I lived in Wales, but this was different. The horses had little contact with humans so were like a clean slate and as I moved with them, they responded quickly, easily and with grace.

At dawn they had ropes around their necks and I taught them to tether. I rode them through the magnificent mountain ranges and came eventually into Golden Bay, a small place nestled beneath the mountains beside 60 miles of empty, beautiful beaches.

Cath has a passion for the outdoors and following organic and sustainable principles. Her time is shared between managing 20 beautiful horses and ponies, 2 dogs, cats and chickens and also building organic structures, from mud, stone, timber or whatever medium is suitable.



SWIMMING WITH A WILD DOLPHIN

That first summer with my wild steeds was idyllic, riding each day at dawn on the splendid golden sands. The real highlight for me was riding in the sea with a wild she dolphin who was living alone there that summer. There were only 13 lone dolphins around the world and it felt such a profound and powerful experience to be with her on horseback.

I took my horses into the shallow waters of the Bay. The wild she dolphin, who I named Delphine, came toward the horses. At first they were afraid of her but after a few minutes they were communicating together in the same language. I knew the language of wild horses and also that of dolphins and was amazed that they understood each other. We swam together all summer, she taught them to swim, she played in their tails and swam alongside, sometimes somersaulting and spinning beside them, they loved each other and looked forward to their swim together each day.

When she heard the galloping of hooves on the sand she would come into the shallows and I would be in the sea with her for an hour or more. She taught them to swim and took them out of their depth often through the diamond flecked blue ocean. It all seemed like an impossible dream that was actually my reality.



A SILENT LANGUAGE

I still love taming the wild horses and still sing to them in the corral. They love it as it soothes and relaxes them and helps them to trust me when I approach and touch them for the first time. If we can communicate to them, in their simple silent language, we will Improve the wellbeing of this truly amazing species. They deserve it after the way they have helped us over the past few thousand years.


















Welcome to Hill Pony
New Zealand Horses | Address: PO BOX 200, Takaka, Golden Bay | Email: life@hillpony.co.nz