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
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.