Meet a Globetrotter: Glenda Johnston

Glenorchy Back Country Ride, New Zealand , The Kimberley Ride, Australia , Glenorchy Back Country Ride, New Zealand , The Kimberley Ride, Australia

Glenda Johnston is a keen globetrotter with a yearning for the freedom and adventure that comes from exploring foreign places and lands on the back of a horse. Horses are Glenda’s life, she lives and breathes them (her husband is pretty certain she loves her horse more than him!) and spends every moment possible with them. So when Glenda found Globetrotting, it was a natural fit and has since joined us on the Glenorchy Back Country Ride in New Zealand and The Kimberley Ride in outback Australia.

This is her story, in her own words…

Horses have changed my life ever since I discovered them as a toddler. Growing up in NZ with 6 kids on a big farm, we would have to walk through the horse paddock to go swimming in the river in summer. I would HAVE to be put on the quiet horse’s back every time or I would complain! As I got older (about 6), I worked out that the horse (who had founder) would lay down a lot so I could sneak into the paddock and climb on her back (unbeknown to Mum)! I would give a kick so she would get up and I would get a free slow ride around the paddock for ages.

After about 10 years of nagging I finally got a (Pony Club cast-off because it kicked) 12.2hh chestnut mare called Peanut. I loved that pony as she gave me my freedom from my big family. Mum led me around after school for 5 minutes each day for a week, then she would go back inside to cook dinner and look after the babies she was constantly producing (I was number 2). She would say she was watching me out the window but it was basically ‘teach yourself horsemanship’. Peanut was fat and slow so pretty safe, and the green grass was long, so when I fell over her neck (she was always trying to eat) it didn’t hurt. I had no saddle for the first year and a half so learnt to have good balance. To make Peanut canter I had to run her down a hill towards home and whack her with a willow stick while holding onto her mane bareback – all with no supervision, it was called common sense back then. When I worked out how to jump, my big achievement was clearing the chicken coop with roosters in it! Anyway we were born to work on the sheep farm so no luxuries like Pony Club. I had to watch my friends toot and wave as they went past with their fancy ponies and trucks to shows, as I would be working. I vowed when I grew up that I would be able to go places with my horse and have fun adventures and travel…

Fast forward to today… yes I m doing just that! 100%!

Over the years I have tried as much as I could with horses – I ran a riding school, taught kids to ride, took people on wine tours on horseback, trained a TB to event, evented up to Pre-Novice level (105cm), I go hunting in New Zealand every April (I love galloping around jumping full-wire fences), learnt play polo cross (socially with wine after!), showjumping, learnt Parelli and Natural Horsemanship, joined an Adult Riders Club (group lessons with cuppa and gossip after), started breaking and training young horses, had TB’s, warmbloods and now am onto Australian Stockhorses (which can do everything).

I have finally have found the horse I am going to keep (bets are still on, if he gets too boring/quiet he will be sold). Chiko is a 5yr old, 16hh heritage stock horse, bay with a white heart on his forehead. I have had him since he was 2 and he is my adventure horse. He is out on my float up to 3-4 times a week sometimes, our beautiful horse beach is 5mins away so we love to ride then swim (often with dolphins and crystal clear water all to ourselves). We are a part of 4 riding clubs so have lessons every Wednesday and take part in whatever fun things are scheduled on other days. He is good at showjumping, dressage, working equitation, loves the beach and swimming.

Apparently Chiko needs more days off/holidays from me (he loves adventures but also eating) so I have found horse riding adventures all over the world to keep me busy. I’ve ridden in southwest WA twice, ridden with Paul & Fiona at Jesters Flat, completed 6 day coastal treks in New Zealand twice, a Kenya safari, and then I found Globetrotting! Where have you been all my life?

I share most of my horse riding adventures with my sister from NZ (number 6, loud & fun!) and we have the BEST of times. Our first Globetrotting ride together was the Glenorchy Back Country Ride which we absolutely loved. The scenery was mind blowing, great horses, awesome adventures, couldn’t fault them. I loved swimming the horses in the blue/green mountain rivers and laughing with my sister – we often come home with sore abs from laughing so much and one of us looses their voice from telling too many stories.

I have just returned from the Kimberley ride as I had always wanted to ride there, swim in the oasis’s and sleep in a swag under the stars. I learnt how to girth up a stock saddle, roll my swag up nice and tight, wear a handkerchief to protect from dust at the back, found riding in jeans actually good, and invented the phrase ‘cocktails in the creek’ as my vodka and orange went down very well while soaking in the river after a hot day riding. Loved the boab trees, sunsets, swimming the horses, making fun new friends, waterfalls, and watching the stars and the sunrise from my cosy swag. Great ride!

Horse riding is my freedom. I am so in the moment, I am at peace, thinking of nothing else, thinking like a horse, how I can have that special bond and connection with him (my husband thinks I love my horses more than him), we can run and fly together. No wonder we love it so much, it’s addictive! I am still that little girl sitting on her loose horse while he eats, vaulting on, riding bareback, sitting on Chiko at the beach while he is laying down, looking out my car window with my float attached with my horse on board, off on another adventure – we are all just trying to live out our childhood dreams, and I am there!

I was so shy and quiet as a kid that now I am making up for it and have miles of fantastic adventures to share. That’s why Globetrotting rides are so good because we are allowed to talk about our horses to like minded-people!

So get out there! What are you waiting for? Everyone has a bucket list. Work to make your dreams a reality. And don’t forget your camera! It is almost as special to re-live it all again once you are back home reminiscing and planning the next Globetrotting adventure to escape on! I am just trying to enjoy every day as much as I can and LOVE to be sharing it with a horse!

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