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The Story of Fleur Christie: Dreams to Reality

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

A Thousand Hooves: Stories of the Moreton Bay Equestrian Community

In a lovely home in suburban Victoria, a young girl named Fleur found herself captivated by the allure of horses. As a child, she would spend hours pretending to ride these majestic creatures around the yard. Her fascination with horses began with a beautiful 1950's rocking horse at her mother's friend’s house and a magical merry-go-round at the local shopping centre. To fuel her passion further, Fleur sought every horse book she could find and opened a gateway to a world filled with equine wonder.

Whilst some may say this is a child’s fascination, Fleur's love for horses only deepened over the years. At 21, she gifted herself a gorgeous china horse, a symbol of her lifelong devotion. But it wasn't until she was 23, driving through the countryside with her soon-to-be husband John, that the idea of owning a horse truly dawned on her. John, with his endearing support, encouraged her to pursue her dream. After listening once more to Fleur fawn and gush over the horses in the fields he pulled over and said, "For God’s sake get it out of your system and get a horse, you are working and can afford to buy and keep one." Until that moment, Fleur had never imagined that owning a horse could be within her reach. John, laughing at himself, often wonders why he even suggested it, never thinking it would last over 40 years – longer than their 38 year marriage.

John is always right besides Fleur, supporting her equine dreams

Fleur's equestrian journey began with an intriguing ad she stumbled upon in the Weekly Times. The ad led her to a horse with an extraordinary name - Mr. Spock. Being a devoted Star Trek fan, Fleur couldn't help but feel it was a serendipitous sign that he was destined to be hers. With excitement coursing through her veins, Fleur eagerly withdrew her saved money from the bank, knowing that her dream was finally becoming a reality. However, before she could bring Mr. Spock home, John insisted that she take riding lessons to better prepare for horse ownership. Fleur agreed, and those lessons a total of three, only fuelled her determination and love for riding. Despite her limited riding experience, she felt an instant connection with Mr. Spock, an Appaloosa-Thoroughbred cross, and their extraordinary adventure together began as she hired a float to bring him to his new home in the Yarra Valley. When she rode him for the first time, she found Mr. Spock to be a bundle of nerves, offering spins and shies at every opportunity. Yet, Fleur's determination and natural talent kept her firmly in the saddle, and they embarked on numerous adventures together, building a bond that would last a lifetime.

Fleur's family expanded, not just with horses, but with the arrival of her children, Jason and Portia, who quickly became integral parts of her equine adventures. Portia shared her mother's love for horses, forging a deep connection with Jewel, a beautiful white mare. Together, they explored the trails, creating memories that would last a lifetime. Meanwhile, Jason, while not as horse focused as Portia, remained a constant source of support, always ready to lend a helping hand or share in and photograph their equine escapades.

When Fleur, John and their family decided to move from Victoria to Queensland, they couldn't bear to leave Mr. Spock behind. Despite transport troubles that left him stranded in Toowoomba, Fleur's was soon reunited with her beloved horse at Redcliffe Pony Club. Fleur wanted a space of her own to enjoy her horses though and eventually found a place in Woodford, a beautiful acreage providing the perfect haven for her horses to roam freely.

While I was talking with her, Fleur seemed bemused as she recounted a peculiar incident. She believed she had somehow jinxed herself when she renamed her new horse from BB to GiGi, only to encounter a terrible accident soon after. One day while trying to help GiGi integrate with the herd, Fleur was kicked, it was fleeting moment and barely made contact, but it was enough to require a titanium rod to replace Fleurs broken bones in her shoulder and arm. Despite the searing pain, she still led her equine companions back to the safety of their paddocks, never giving up. At first, Fleur thought it might be a dislocated shoulder, but as time passed, the severity of the injury became apparent, and she had to endure the agonizing moments alone, waiting for help. Eventually a riding friend arrived and called an ambulance.

Fleur laughs when explaining that it was her first time with intense painkillers, and that the 'Green Stuff' brought a temporary sense of relief, sending her off to the ambulance in a drugged yet surprisingly cheery disposition, merrily waving and bidding farewell to a concerned neighbour who popped over after seeing an ambulance arrive. In times of challenge, family support shines the brightest, and Fleur's loved ones swiftly rallied around her, providing not only care and comfort but also ensuring her horses kept getting the care that they knew Fleur wanted them to receive.

Three to four times a week, Fleur drives an hour or more from Redcliffe all the way to Woodford where her two remaining horses are spoilt for space and the beauty of nature. Among her beloved horses, Jewel, the wise and beautiful white mare, holds a special place in her heart as she turns 30 this year. Recent years have been tough for Jewel, as she developed mouth cancers, a common diagnosis for white horses, which is indicative of a mutated gene that increases their susceptibility to cancers. While an independent spirit, Jewel's presence is cherished by the other horse at Woodford, and her playful antics, like running off when it's time to be haltered, bringing laughter to all.

Fleur with NayNay and Jewel

NayNay, the retired racehorse, also holds a special place in Fleur's heart. Having joined her life when he was 17yrs old in 2019. Previously, NayNay had been rescued by the caring local trainer, Tamara, when he was in a fragile state. Under Tamara's dedicated care, NayNay made a remarkable recovery. Recognizing the importance of finding him a loving family, Tamara reached out to Fleur, who was thrilled to provide NayNay with a new forever home. Despite his senior years, NayNay still surprises Fleur with his speedy antics, occasionally giving her a good fright during their rides. This chatterbox and mischievous horse found solace in Fleur's care after witnessing the hardships of the knackery. In her presence, he has discovered a safe and comforting home, where he can embrace each moment, sharing laughter and joy with Fleur.

Apart from the privilege of still owning horses, another significant achievement for Fleur was obtaining her first horse float just last year, despite not knowing how to drive or reverse it. With the invaluable guidance of one of her riding friends and John, she learned all the intricacies of floating with and without a horse. Now, Fleur confidently navigates herself and NayNay on exciting adventures, often successfully backing the float into the narrow shed her husband, John, constructed for it—a feat she once thought beyond her capabilities. The unwavering determination and passion of a ’horse-mad’ girl shines through in every accomplishment she achieves.

Amidst the picturesque landscapes of Woodford, Fleur and her horses have thrived, their love enduring through triumphs and hardships. The horses she loves so dearly have become a part of her family and patiently wait for each week as they roam the acres, and when their time comes, the horses are laid to rest with others of Fleur’s herd, beneath the shelter of the giant gum tree, forever a cherished part of her life. As she looks back on her remarkable journey, Fleur's advice to others seeking a horse echoes her own experiences - treasure every moment, respect, and love your horse, and in return, you'll find a beautiful relationship that will last a lifetime. Her narrative, filled with laughter, love, and dreams fulfilled, stands as a testament to the unbreakable bond between a girl, her horses, and her family.

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