The Dingle family has produced a comprehensive guide for anyone setting out to ride or own a horse for the first time.

Story By Kirsty McKenzie

The light bulb went on for Helen Dingle the day someone asked her if ‘mare’ was the term used to measure the height of horses. The former horse instructor and trainer, jillaroo and station cook suddenly realised that a lot of her equestrian knowledge was not as common as she imagined.
Helen and her stockman husband, Terry, live and work on “Tay Glen”, a station just north of the central Queensland mining town of Dysart. They breed both stock and quarter horses. Terry broke in his first horse at the age of 15 and has now broken in more than 60 horses. The couple met in a mustering camp in far north Queensland and found they had a similar approach to horsemanship. While they have both been riding for as long as they can remember, it wasn’t until they had their own children, Abby, 5, and Tara, 3, that they realised other parents were not as familiar with the care and handling of horses as they were.
“It became apparent that for a lot of parents, owning a horse for the first time was quite a daunting thing,” Helen says. “People often said to me they wished there was a manual or a video they could watch to help them get started.”
Helen and Terry hit on the idea of making a DVD, a kind of 101 course for parents and kids, which covers the basic aspects of learning to ride, care for ponies, grooming, saddling, stabling and keeping horses in the paddock. They hired a film crew and during three freezing days last winter, put as much of their accumulated knowledge onto film as was possible. After weeks of editing they launched A Beginner’s Guide to Horsemanship: Let’s Start with the Basics.
The stars of the show are Abby and Tara, who have also been in the saddle since infancy and display the ease and familiarity around their ponies that might be the envy of much older riders.

This story excerpt is from Issue #88

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2013