Horses find a new home

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.”

ABC News



Have a story to tell or news to share?

Let us know by Submitting a News Story

Discover Queensland

Explore all of Queensland’s adventures.

Start Exploring

What's On



Scenic Rim Ultra

Scenic Rim Ultra

Read more



Kooralbyn Valley MTB 6hr Endurance

Kooralbyn Valley MTB Endurance 6hr Enduro 10 km loop
Read more



Bushwalking Leader Training Course

Is it time to get recognised qualifications for your outdoor recreation skills?
Read more

Latest News

Billions in cancelled holidays

Travel agents decimated

Read more
Questions raised about honesty-reliant system

Queensland's coronavirus border breaches raise questions

Read more
JobKeeper criteria relaxed

Government will ease JobKeeper criteria, adding $15 billion to the coronavirus recovery scheme

Read more

Become a member

We welcome applications for new Community and Green Circle Members from organisations and individuals involved in the outdoors

Learn More
Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten