This, globetrotters, is why I LOVE what I do. To be able to bring a smile to someone’s face is quite simply the BEST feeling in the world! Melissa Morrissey had been going through a tough period in her life when she found Globetrotting and booked herself on the Bush & Beach ride in Noosa. There were no second thoughts, she just knew it was time to get back in the saddle and experience the freedom that comes from galloping astride a powerful, majestic beast. Her experience has given her a new lease on life and we couldn’t be more THRILLED for her. This is Melissa’s story.
What is your day job?
I am a lawyer and I have a Masters’ Private Investigator’s license.
How have horses influenced or changed your life?
My entire life has been shaped by my love of, and fascination with, horses. In particular:
Friends – it is through competing at shows that I have made some of my best all time friends.
Husband – I met my husband, show jumper David Asimus, when we were both competing at Sydney Showjumping Club.
Son – we had our son, Jack, who I love and adore more than anything in the world.
Travel & Work – I have travelled the world taking horses from Australia by plane to their new international homes. My husband and I ran a very successful business, Asimus Equestrian Enterprises.
Life lessons – I have learnt about patience, respect, boundaries, body language, fear, flight, the herd mentality, connection, love and becoming one with a huge magnificent creature.
One of the most powerful things I have discovered through horses is the strength of the bond that can develop between humans and animals. It’s precious.
Therapy – horses have been the one thing in my life that I have always returned to in times of trouble. They are good for the soul.
What is your earliest memory of horses?
Before my mum and dad divorced when I was eight years old, we had a big farm with a lot of cattle. I had a horse called Sally. One day, I was about seven, I was riding Sally bareback. I had stopped to talk to my mum. All of sudden, and for no apparent reason, I fell off. I just slid off Sally sideways and hit the ground. I got very badly winded. I remember not being able to breathe. Sally just stood there.
When mum and dad divorced, I was told that they had sold Sally. I cried – I loved her.
What does riding or being with horses mean to you?
It feels very true. To be working with horses is something that feels deeply, intrinsically connected to the essence of me, to who I really am.
What have horses taught you the most?
That there is a spiritual connection with animals beyond the physical world. I’ve seen it and experienced it. I have no doubt.
What was your first Globetrotting ride?
The Noosa Bush & Beach ride, October 2016.
What made you take the plunge and sign up for a Globetrotting holiday?
I was going through a very hard time. I needed to get back out into nature and go riding, talk to a horse. They’re good listeners!
Was this ride celebrating or marking a significant moment/milestone/achievement in your life? If so, would you mind sharing?
Yes, I was at a huge crossroads in my life. For the first time in 21 years I wasn’t living with my son Jack, who I am very close to. I wasn’t even living near him. I felt like my heart had been ripped out, stomped on and left to bleed in the gutter.
My husband, Jack’s father, died when Jack was just seven weeks old. At the time we were living on our property where we trained the horses. Having a little baby was a godsend. I just focused on him and running the business and property to help pull me through my grief. It didn’t entirely work as 18 months later I was diagnosed with clinical depression – unaddressed grief. But I had this gorgeous little bundle of peachy softness that never stopped smiling and laughing. I loved him so much. And still do.
So the crossroads consisted of being away from my son, having moved out of my hometown, away from my friends and family and to a town where I didn’t know a soul. All that was familiar, was gone. I felt incredibly alone, and I felt a powerful need to reconnect with horses.
I had been watching the Globetrotting mini-videos on Facebook and each time I thought about how much I would love to do that – to go on one of those rides, to ride again – it would be a dream come true. I kept an eye on Globetrotting and Kate’s updates and the details of each ride. Then, on a particularly tough day, I saw the Noosa Bush and Beach Ride and I just booked it. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. One night at dinner during the ride I heard this person having a really deep guttural belly laugh. They sounded happy. It surprised me – it was me! I hadn’t laughed like that for a very long time. My life was turning around. I was back on track.
What Globetrotting rides have you since completed/planned/dreamed about?
I want to go on the Maasai Mara ride. A woman on the Bush and Beach Ride had done it and it sounded amazing. She said it was the best thing she had ever done and she was aiming to do the Botswana ride the next year.
What is your most memorable Globetrotting moment?
Cantering on Moose through the bush and feeling totally at one with him. We were in sync. I got him and he got me and it felt… wonderful. There was also a moment when I gave Moose a rub on the neck and then I tried to clean up his eye which had been weeping and had accumulated caked up glug through the hair. He liked it and nearly went to sleep on me, his head leaning on my hand as I brushed away at the glug. I hadn’t seen that side of him before. In fact we’d been quite distant from each other. I think we both thought, he/she is just another riding school horse/rider and we didn’t really move beyond that for a couple of days, until I gave him a good pat and cleaned his eye. That was the first time we really communicated directly. It was precious.
Why choose this type of travel? As in exploring a new country from the back of a horse?
It is a wonderful way to see the world. You can get to places on a horse that you would never go to otherwise. You are literally off the beaten track at ground level. Plus you are with people who share your passion, rather than just some randoms. The type of guides you have is very different, again you share a passion and love of the horse. Then there is the relationship you develop with the horse along the way. It changes and grows over the days of the ride. Usually, I would say, it improves, which is a very satisfying experience. It is enriching. So all your senses are being satisfied. You cannot beat it!
A tip that every globetrotter should know before going on a ride…
Make sure all your riding gear is comfortable and tested before heading out for a long ride, especially if you haven’t ridden for a while. My riding hat had become loose in between rides and it slipped over my eyes with any movement above a walk. I had six days of constantly tipping my head back so I could see from under the peak of my cap. I needed a new hat!
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without…
Your sense of humour.
Learn more about the Noosa Bush & Beach Ride here.