PAUL Clarkson has the antidote to all the new, shiny things popping up around Newcastle.
In January he’ll transport his popular horse and carriage rides in rural Aberglassin to the city.
“The horses don’t see the difference between a light rail or tram or truck or bus, so if they don’t, I don’t,” he says.
Raised on a farm near Thornton, the 45-year-old first slipped into a saddle at seven and grew up riding bareback with his brothers.
He travelled Australia after school and worked on remote stations before studying to be a teacher only to get sidetracked back into the horse game.
Living on a small property, his constant contact with horses led him to create All Australian Horsemanship, a business that does everything from break and train horses, deal with problem horses, develop rider confidence and more.
In the past six months, Mr Clarkson helped a mate stage The Outback Show – mixing horsemanship with humour – in Bourke.
“This year I became an entertainer,” he notes matter-of-factly. “I didn’t think I could do it but I did.”
During the Bourke stint, Mr Clarkson organised carriage rides with a historical focus. It got him thinking there was scope to do the same in Newcastle.
“There’s is a lot of money being spent on Newcastle in beautifying it and I thought, well, no one is doing this, if I can get a carriage full in Bourke I can do it here,” he says.
In fact, Mr Clarkson’s Christmas lights carriage tours are booked out every night for the next month in Aberglassin. Now he’s gearing up for the Hoofbeats on Newcastle carriage rides in January, noting the historical link between horse and city.
“All the roads around Newcastle were built for horse and carriage and the horse did everything in settling the city and valley, carrying goods and log pulling and so forth,” he says.
He plans to slowly build the sideline carriage business that he says can be appreciated by young and old.
“It’s an easy and fun thing to do, and it’s a fun family activity,” he says of the tours, which accommodate 10 people in a carriage.
“You can be pulled along by horses at a nice pace, you can smell them, the clip clop is very soothing, I never get sick of it. It’s a bit of a romanic thing to do as well. People love it. The viewing is good too, because you are up high, you are also in good fresh air and you are open to the elements.”
The carriages are drawn by different breeds of horses, from quarter horses to stock horses and rescue horses who Mr Clarkson has “saved” and assisted.
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