Horses find a new home
- after drought and bushfires force closure of Bellrowan Valley Horse Riding
Posted on 09.03.2020
A tale of drought, bushfires and hardship in a New South Wales hinterland valley has found a happier ending, just as welcome rainfall again turns the land green.
For nearly two decades, Mark Ennor helped run Bellrowan Valley Horse Riding, west of Port Macquarie, but the ongoing drought, followed by bushfires, took their toll and he was recently forced to shut down.
It was a tough decision for the horse lover, but Mr Ennor said he and his partner were left with no choice.
“The crux of it really was water and feed — our main business asset was horses and we were always known for the beautiful condition we kept them in and we always say, ‘give them what they need, and they give you their heart in return’,” he said.
“We couldn’t give the horses what they needed … well we could, and that just broke us financially — I was carting water on the back of my ute four or five times a week.
“I was filling up out of garden hoses or wherever, and then the feed wasn’t growing.”
Mr Ennor said even a permanent water source on the property went dry.
“We bought that property because it had a permanent water source, there was a spring-fed dam, which went completely dry, we dug down into the spring, nothing, and there was no end in sight,” he said.
“Then the bushfires happened, the fire did come onto our place, it was stopped and the horses spent weeks in town … and then all our hay supplies got burnt, too.
“And then the downturn in tourism in regional Australia affected all tourism businesses, and we were one of them, it was just compounding and compounding.
“So, we thought it best to sell it off.
“It’s been a bit emotional, but we had a lot of fun doing it, we just need to cherish the memories we created, we made a lot of people happy.”
Mr Ennor said he was now planning a new venture in the tourism industry.
“When I rode my last two horses out of the valley it was a pretty emotional sort of ride, quite a moment when the door closed on the truck.”
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