Plaintree Christmas Message

14 December 2007

Christmas is a time of good cheers, and we have some fantastic news to celebrate.

Plaintree Farms has remained free of EI throughout the recent crisis, and all of the young and adult horses on the farm have now been fully vaccinated. We will start to vaccinate the foal crop in January.

Since the foals are still not protected until they are five months of age, we will continue a high standard of quarantine on the farm in order to keep them protected. This will remain in place until the last foal is fully vaccinated.

It has been a very difficult time for the entire horse industry, since EI managed to infect numerous farms right across the Darling Downs as well as closing down the Toowoomba racetrack which is just a few kms down the road from the farm.

We are moving into recovery mode along with the rest of the infected area of Queenland, and we are now in the process of sending mares home where ever we can. We would continue to ask all our clients for their continued understanding and patience because – as most of you know – the DPI permit process is a very slow and complicated one indeed. We will, however, certainly continue in our efforts to try and get them issued as quickly as we can.

Finally, a sincere thank you to all our team at Plaintree.

They proved to be an amazing, thoroughly battle-hardened team from the very first day of the outbreak. They were quickly educated and trained in farm bio-security and kept completely informed of the EI crisis on a day to day basis as it all happened. They also knew exactly why Australia needed to clean up EI – both in the short term, and also because of the long term effects on so many horses.

There was an enormous level of commitment and dedication shown by every person on the farm – from our staff to our vets, farriers and suppliers – in order to keep us clean. We maintained a lock-down and full bio-security scrub-down throughout – and still continue to do so. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of disinfectant – and probably ended up ruining a few pairs of favourite boots along the way, since hospital grade disinfectant and leather is not really the best combination!

It meant very long days coping with endlessly frustrating situations – a full scrub-down of both vehicles and people every time you came onto the farm (try doing it seven times in one day) vehicles needing to be left off farm, gear needing to be scrubbed down on the spot and then physically carried on – as well as the constant vigilance it took not to become an unwitting carrier of EI from accidental contact off-farm.

In the end, our team showed the kind of commitment and simple common sense that you can only wish that AQIS and Australian Quarantine might have shown in the first place.

Finally, we would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with happiness and love. May the storms drum down on your roof this summer and may you take the time to sit on the verandah, listen to the cicadas – and remember what really matters this Christmas.

The real gift of EI was that it came to remind us of so many things. Like how much we have to be grateful for.

It was really only a temporary inconvenience, after all. It wasn’t a World War – and we didn’t loose any lives. It wasn’t our health – and it wasn’t our friends.

In the end, it came to remind us that, with enough passion, hard work and commitment, we can do anything.

Happy Christmas.

Regards

David and Heather Pascoe

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A lovely horse is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words.

—Beryl Markham