This article is from the November 2020 Horse Deals magazine.
At Eagle Pass Ranch you feel as if you are in the Black Hills of Dakota rather than the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. The Western-themed property is not flash in the way of some modern horse properties, but it is charming, with a certain Western chic, but most of all, it is horse-friendly and people-friendly. Home to the Roy Marchinton Training Stables, Roy, along with daughters Yvette Wealands and Jessica Young, are professional horse people who put the horses first. They moved from Berwick to Nar Nar Goon North in 2003 and established the Western-themed and highly functional property from a bare 60 acres. Roy and his daughters are usually kept busy with lessons and are at the forefront of the Ranch Riding boom. COVID-19, for the moment, has stopped the clinics that are filled quickly, as Eagle Pass Ranch has the reputation for kind and considerate learning, coupled with a great deal of fun.
The heart of the property is the covered round yard. But it is no ordinary round yard. The ten-metre diameter yard is the centre of a rotunda that incorporates an office, a tack container, feed room, bunkhouse and recreation room. The internal walkway around the inner round yard is wide enough for a quad bike. Horses are cross-tied and very contentedly so, facing out like spokes in a wheel. On one side of the central rotunda is the 40m diameter round sand arena, and on the other a 30m x 90m arena.
The 60-acre property has plenty of space for broodmares, turnout and retirement, with probably some of the most contented horses and a number of curious steers enjoying the spring pasture. A deep, spring-fed dam supplies water to the entire property and you get a feeling of self-sufficiency and being miles away from anywhere, just 17 kilometres from Pakenham.
Photos: Julie Wilson. Article: Anna Sharpley.
A view across some well maintained garden to the rotunda heart of Eagle Pass Ranch. The 40m diameter sand arena is to the right.
Welcome to Eagle Pass Ranch.
The main team, Yvette, Roy and Jessica.
The central rotunda was built from timber sourced on the property. The horses are cross tied between the substantial posts.
Quarter Horse, Indy is pictured cross tied facing out from the central round yard. There is rubber under foot wherever the horses are tied.
This photo shows the alleyway around the inner round yard. Everything needed for the day’s work is placed on racks and hooks and can be easily and quickly transferred to the horse.
How about this for a good bar stool?
Roy working LP Best Too Be Graceful aka Paris, Richelle Portelli’s two year old filly in the round yard at the heart of operations at Eagle Pass Ranch.
The feed room.
Not too many mules, but there are 30 horses here.
The homemade feed bins hold about 15 x 20kg bags of feed each.
A container has been turned into a safe, weather and vermin proof tack room, but this container has a surprise.
The tack room container has a swinging wall. No need to carry those heavy saddles further than you have to.
Bridles. The top row, snaffle bridles to begin the training and the bottom row more sophisticated bits for more advanced horses.
Good advice at the entrance to the coffee room/saloon.
The well appointed coffee room.
We all need one of these for removing mud from our boots.
More good advice.
The view from the coffee room/saloon through to the sand arena. Notice that it is important for the hats to be kept safe.
Mostly the horses are kept out in yards or paddocks. There are ten 20m square yards all with electric fencing and about five 3-4 acre paddocks and one big 20 acre paddock for the retirees and broodmares. This stable within the rotunda is ready for anyone that needs to be confined.
Bringing the horses in, the easy way.
The rubber-lined 40m diameter sand arena which is ideal for cattle work. The two solar panels on top of the coaching/viewing hut power four lights that “light up like the MCG”.
The Western theme extends to the garden ornaments.
Resident, John Damiano is doing a bit of cutting training on the mechanical cow aboard his, EB’s Last Touch aka Robbie.
The grandstand facing the arena with mirror for checking your position.
The fire pit, watched over by this cowboy who appears to be looking at his phone!?
The 30m x 90m arena with rails set out for trail work.
In the foreground, the spring fed dam and behind the 20 acre paddock with some of the most content horses we have ever seen.
Looking down on the heart of Eagle Pass Ranch from one of the yards. Beyond is the 25,000 acre Bunyip State Forest, which has 100’s of tracks for riding out the horses.
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