For more than 40 years the Rudd family has been taking riders into the Snowy Mountains to share the wonder of this rugged country.

Story By Mark Muller

A wise man takes a coat on a good day – any fool can take one when it’s raining,” John Rudd says ruefully as he eyes the heavy clouds rolling over Mount Selwyn just across the valley. A rumble of thunder underlies his statement. Then, with a quick grin and a mischievous twinkle, he asks,” You’re carrying some wool?”. Three days into one of his feted guided rides through Kosciuszko National Park, John had been thinking of his horses when he decided to leave the oilskin at camp that morning. Even the weight of an oilskin makes a difference to a horse on a long, steep day, and John cares about his. At 80, he doesn’t spring in and out of the saddle as easily as he did 10 years ago but, once mounted, he’s about as comfortable as a normal man in an armchair watching the cricket on Boxing Day, albeit nursing a stockwhip instead of a beer.

John first took visitors on horseback up into what is now the national park in 1946 as an enthusiastic nine-year-old tagging along with his uncle Vincent Russell and Vince’s mate Harold Mansfield. Back then it cost two quid per head, per day. Nowadays, a four-night, three-day ride with everything provided will set you back about $1300. A few other things have changed in the intervening 70 years, but certainly not John’s love of the mountains.

This story excerpt is from Issue #105

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2016