With daring inspiration, Jackie and Noel trained the lost and confused horses, and forced their own unfit bodies to meld into one team.Life became horses, trail, endurance, and camping: all seven reliant on one another as they trekked along part of Australia’s majestic Bicentennial National Trail.
What started as a dream adventure turned out to be more than they had ever imagined. The beauty of the trail didn’t lessen its dangers; with minimal support and all their worldly possessions on horseback, Jackie and Noel made mistakes and with humour learned the hard way.
They were amateur horse-handlers, tackling an epic challenge, but they created something special, unique, and incredibly endearing.
Fears were faced, healed, and conquered. Bonds were forged.
But did the team of seven that started together, finish together?
Saddle up and take a ride along life’s natural trail of trauma, fear, pain, and loyalty.
The Standardbred is a horse breed best known for its ability in harness racing at a trot or pace.
‘A hauntingly beautiful book.’‘A story that shows how two people continue to discover new strengths in each other through the most dire circumstances.’
‘The humour and humbleness makes this such an enjoyable read.’
‘She conveys her story with searing honesty.’
‘This will stick with readers for a long time.’
Galloping down the mountain to find a gun to shoot one of our horses, I realised that I had bitten off more than I could chew.
My borrowed horse sensed my fear as we plunged down the trail. My mind focused on the gun, a necessity to terminate excruciating pain. There was a broken horse on the ridge. He had released a knowing groan as his fetlock snapped.
Plunge, jump, ford – I squeezed my aching legs around my brave mount. We both expelled urgent breaths from our flared nostrils. I had to find a gun!
Sweat and tears mingled, running clean streaks along my grubby face, my eyes stinging. My heart banged in my chest, while the horse’s heart thrummed beneath my calf muscles. Time slowed as if we hurtled through syrup.
I cursed Noel – it was his idea. Not to shoot the horse, but living with horses twenty-four seven while trekking along the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT). We had rescued five lost beasts that could have been destined for dog meat. Over many months of struggle, we had transformed the seven of us into a team.
Currently Jackie is exploring the French canals on a Dutch barge with her Australian husband.
Originally she was from the UK, Jackie is now an adopted
Australian. She grew up with horses in the UK until her world was shattered with a heart-breaking bereavement. Disillusioned with life she ran away to Australia and met and married Noel. They decided to buy a boat and set sail. So within her first year living in a foreign land, she was getting used to a foreign husband, and a foreign life on board!
Mariah II took Jackie & Noel around the world. Pyewacket II (purchased in San Francisco) took them across the Pacific Ocean for a second time on a more southerly route. Adventures include The Great Loop in the USA plus Canada’s Great Lakes and the French Canals.
As a commercial skipper Jackie has worked internationally, and has been a Marine Rescue skipper. She has also taught commercial maritime. She co-wrote a pilot book (in America) and several hundred magazine articles worldwide. Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen) was Jackie (and Noel’s) first self-published book.