Size of the farm

Horses are run on approximately 300 hectares of the Beef section.

Herd size and composition

Australian Stock Horses are bred at Tocal for student training and stock work. Over twenty broodmares are joined each year to the two Tocal resident sires and well performing outside sires to provide top quality stock for use in student training and on the farm. At any one stage Tocal will have over one hundred horses on the property from young foals, yearlings, breakers, work plant horses and broodmares.

The Australian Stock Horses breed was chosen for their versatility and there is also some Quarter horse in the bloodline. Our priority is to breed horses for good temperament and trainability. The Tocal horses are sold at 3 years old so they need to be early maturing horse and the inclusion of Quarter horse has helped in this area.  They are registered Australian Stock Horses.

Herd management

The horses are run in several mobs:

  • Mares and foals – run as main part of the herd, smaller groups are kept close to the skills arena during breeding.
  • Sale horses – 18-20 horses per year that are ridden and prepared for sale by students in the year after they are part of the breaker mob. Fed on rye grass and hand feeding twice a day in the lead up to sale.
  • Breakers – foals born on Tocal are used for student training in breaking a horse.

Foals are born on Tocal to Tocal sires and some outside semen (six mares). They are weaned as yearlings to become the breakers for the horse course students the following year. The following year, at three years old, students train and prepare the horses for sale that year.

Student involvement in the horse enterprise

Horse course students undertake a 12 month course during which they are involved in all areas of the horse operation. They learn to ride and train a horse, wean a foal and trim hooves. In third term, if they have satisfied the requirements so far, they are given a horse to break in for the rest of the year. They are also involved in foaling mares and helping with breeding (both AI and working with Tocal stallions). Students prepare horses for sale in November each year. They are also responsible for cleaning yards and making up feeds, care for equipment and undertaking skills training including tractor work, quads, fencing and cattle handling amongst others.

Horses are also prepared for the annual Tocal stock horse sale by the students.

Each year the students from the Horse Breeding certificate compete in our Stock Horse Challenge where students demonstrate the results achieved with their young horses which they break-in in July and train throughout the year.

Horses are run on same area of Tocal as the beef cattle.

Market

On-site sales of Australian Stock Horses are held on the first Sunday in November each year at Tocal College.

Average price last year/animal?

In 2018 the annual Tocal stock horse sale resulted in a lower, but not unexpected, prices across the sale.  The horse’s offered were at a very high standard but drought conditions across NSW definitely impacted on the ability of vendors to bid.

Sixteen horses were offered for sale resulting in a gross sale value of $100,150. The average for the sale was $6,259, just under the average for sales since 2007. The mare ‘Tocal Primrose’ brought the top price of $13,250. Horses were purchased by buyers from Victoria, NSW, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Overall the 115 Australian Stock Horses at Tocal have now developed a reputation that is well respected in the horse industry and this contributes to the overall standing of the Horse Course. It has been a team effort from Warwick Lawrence, Simone Harvey, Chantelle Vella and the beef enterprise team to develop a strong group of horses and to manage that enterprise. The goal is to have students complete the one year training program equipped with abroad range of skills and ready for work. The horse enterprise has provided the platform for this program.

Supplementary feed

Oaten hay is provided along with pellets and mineral supplements, particularly to brood mares.