Sometimes you come across a globetrotter who makes the most of every single moment and does so with a smile upon their face. It’s time to meet Irene Wynne, globetrotters, who joined us on our guided ride to the wonderful land of Mongolia this year (2017). Horses have been woven throughout her life – whether it was wagging school to go for a ride one day (too funny, Irene!) or riding while working as a jillaroo in the outback – Irene has made the most of every single moment and has had a wonderful time doing so. And now that she’s found Globetrotting, the fun sure won’t stop there! Have a read of her story below…
What is your day job?
I have several. We own some country and have Brangus cattle which we work by horse and quiet stock handling methods. I do all the financial and administration jobs for this and I also work for TAFE teaching Early Childhood Education and Care.
How have horses influenced or changed your life?
Horses have been a major part of my life once I ‘went bush’ following my 16th birthday. I had no prior knowledge of horses and bush life before I went west – I was a city gal who grew up in Brisbane and moved to Townsville at 13 years. I took a job as companion help outside Hughenden and was given one riding lesson and that was it…I was hooked, with (I was told) a natural seat. Jillaroo-ing followed mustering Herefords and Brafords on a property east of Cloncurry along the clay pans of and in the Cloncurry River, as well as amongst thick gidgee country. I actually lost my seat 13 times and said, ‘That’s it! No more falls!’ And I haven’t.
A stint being a partner in the Quamby Pub, north of Cloncurry, saw me escaping from the pub as often as I could and assisting local property holders muster cattle. I also quieted a freshly broken in horse for a friend who wanted to sell it for big money at the famous Annual Cloncurry Horse Sale and yes it did make good money with me crawling all over and under it! There were a great number of young ladies in the Cloncurry district at that time and many of us rode in the Ladies Races at Clongah and Sedan Dip Picnic Races. We were the first women jockeys to ride on a registered racetrack in Queensland.
I married a bush boy and we worked cattle together, mustering and yard work for various people and places in Queensland, including years of contract mustering in the gulf. Our daughter grew up in the mustering camp and I would ride the cattle during lunch breaks so all the stockmen could eat together and make plans. We also always had our own cattle country, still do, which we use horses to muster.
A long time ago I was one of the foundation members of the Cloncurry Polo Cross. That was a lot of fun. Children and debt kept us from competing in any horse sports but we always made time for Pony Club with our children.
What is your earliest memory of horses?
In Brisbane, we had a horse and cart delivering bread to us daily. I was always first to offer to get the bread just to see the horse and cart, but also when asked to buy half a loaf, I always asked for the half of a high top that bulged out. They never ever broke in half evenly. One half would have a cave, the other half had a bulge. Flaking thin pieces off that bulge was SO delicious! I always worried that the horse and cart would roll backwards down the very steep hill.
I also wagged high school one day and paid for a horse ride in the bush.
What was your childhood pony called?
My first horse on the first station was Big Red. When Jillaroo-ing, I started with Didgeridoo, who knew what to do – I just sat.
What does riding or being with horses mean to you?
Riding is an everyday part of life for me and has always been a means to earn a living. Having horses to look after and love keeps me sane.
What have horses taught you the most?
To love unconditionally and to think about them, their health and well-being, their attitude and friendship. All horses are different and I love assessing and understanding their personalities and individual traits. Given different opportunities I would have been with horses all the time, but life takes different and interesting roads to what you think.
What was your first globetrotting ride?
The 19-day Mongolian ride this year (2017) in June/July.
What made you take the plunge and sign up for a globetrotting holiday?
I have been fascinated by Genghis Khan forever, in both books and movies. I also have a love of mountains and wide open spaces. Mongolia was in my face all of 2016. Tim Cope, The Horse Boy, The Eagle Hunters, Will Comisky coming equal first in the Mongol Derby, my son and his wife having a month long adventure in Mongolia, then Globetrotting! I also had my own money from working off farm, so I just signed up.
What globetrotting rides have you since completed/going to/wanting to complete?
Just back from Mongolia but still there actually, in mind and spirit.
My husband Mike and I will join the Tassie Tiger Trail to celebrate 40 years of marriage in 2019.
What is your most memorable globetrotting moment?
The second day of riding when I galloped without reins, all the others eating my dust, and I spotted the lunch vans before the wrangler and guide!! Such a sense of freedom, excitement and adventure! BUT wait there is more, much much more…
Why choose this type of travel? As in exploring a new country from the back of a horse?
For the horse riding and mixing with like-minded people from all walks of life and experience, to actually get a ‘feel’ for the country, people and horses.
A tip that every globetrotter should know before going on a ride…
Wear what you always wear riding horses.
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without….