Here’s an age-old rem­nant block of beau­ti­ful na­tive kahikatea in the Waikato that hides a five-acre trea­sure life­style which is home to Glenda and Nico Mou­ton. ‘Wright’s Bush,’ as it is now known, has been fenced off for the past 15 years and, with the he

NZ Horse & Pony - - Horse & Home -

Start­ing out

Glenda and Nico have been here for five years. They built the barn, with a gor­geous at­tached flat, first and lived in that with two adult sons Yasha and Sam, plus dogs and horses –“all very cosy!” says Glenda. “It was fun for one year, while we built the house, and it en­abled us to live on-site which was great.” Glenda was very hand­son; paint­ing all the cedar and wood used be­fore the house was erected, each piece need­ing three coats!

Glenda came up with the at­trac­tive house de­sign and then the Mou­tons got an ar­chi­tect to draw up plans which Nico tweaked un­til they had it just right. The dream was for a Euro­pean-style prop­erty, with sta­bles quite close to the house. It works well and looks mag­nif­i­cent.

“We quite liked the idea of lots of camelia hedg­ing, which looks bril­liant when it’s flow­er­ing in March and April, but re­quires a bit of trim­ming ef­fort from Nico,” says Glenda. “We planned and planted all hedges, gar­dens and trees our­selves – the place was a very bare five acres when we bought it.”

The cou­ple agree there’s noth­ing they would have done dif­fer­ently and find the prop­erty works re­ally well for them. “It is a lovely house to live in both sum­mer and win­ter, with lots of light and air. We have fit­ted so­lar pan­els too, which help with power us­age,” Glenda says.

The Mou­tons’ first piece of ad­vice for

Glenda and Nico have lived in both the UK and the United States.

And while grow­ing up on op­po­site sides of the world, both were hugely in­flu­enced in their love of horses by their re­spec­tive fa­thers.

Glenda’s fa­ther was a South Is­land shep­herd, so she first sat on a horse at just nine months old. She and her younger sis­ter and brother en­joyed pony club, and, aged around 11, Glenda broke in her first pony, a 14.2hh piebald sta­tion­bred, with the help of her dad.

Sadly, Glenda’s dad died sud­denly when she was only 13 and she had to even­tu­ally sell the pony, when the fam­ily moved to the North Is­land.

“Horses have al­ways been my stress re­lease/feel good ther­apy and nei­ther Nico – who was brought up in a very clas­si­cal horsey fam­ily in Hol­land – or my­self can imag­ine not hav­ing them liv­ing close to us; thus, I guess, our horsey house set-up.”

Nico’s fa­ther was a keen dres­sage rider and Nico also rode a lit­tle Ice­landic pony as a child in Hol­land, and then learned clas­si­cal dres­sage rid­ing on his fa­ther’s good horse, so he is an ac­com­plished rider in his own right. He rode in Amer­ica a lit­tle for plea­sure, but in New Zealand has mostly been the sup­port­ive back-up crew for Glenda.

Glenda tells how, as a nurs­ing stu­dent/ new grad­u­ate, she al­ways man­aged to find other peo­ple’s horses to ride.

“My own first horse, as op­posed to a pony, was a lovely Mor­gan called Liv­ingston that I owned in Vir­ginia. I first started to learn ba­sic dres­sage on him and we did lots of hack­ing in the Blue Ridge Moun­tains.”

Glenda was also lucky to have some solid Dutch dres­sage train­ing in the early 1990s when the cou­ple reg­u­larly vis­ited Nico’s par­ents in Hol­land.

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