Lovick’s – riding into the sunset after 51 years
AFTER more than 50 years of business, Lovick’s High Country Adventures will saddle up for the last time in 2018.
Five decades ago, Jack Lovick was sitting around the campfire, watching the stars slowly rise into a dark night sky.
On top of the mountain named after his forebears, Jack was reminded of how lucky he was to call the High Country home; he decided to share it with the rest of the country.
Well before The Man from Snowy River made Mansfield famous, Jack pioneered the first trail riding company - and Lovick’s became synonymous for horse riding, good times and mountain scenery.
Since 1967, trail riding has grown to become one of the biggest drawcards to the Mansfield Shire – seven businesses operate locally, all offering a different take on the traditional horse experience.
Throughout the years, Lovick’s have taken at least
This isn’t a decision that I have made lightly – I’ve grown up with trail riding, it’s what I’ve always done. - KELLIE LOVICK
30,000 guests up into the High Country.
They have crossed rivers, climbed mountains and discovered new places; they are responsible for memories that last long after the horses have been let go.
But on April 28, Lovick’s will saddle up for the last time – headed to Bonnie Doon for their famous end of season – and this year, end of operation – ride.
The decision to close has not been an easy one.
Kellie is the third generation in her family to run Lovick’s High Country Adventures.
Taking over in 2016 from her father, Charlie, she has been forced to decide between her family and her business.
Last year, Kellie - and partner Ben McLeod – wanted to add to their growing family; they will welcome their daughter later this year.
The baby – as wonderful as it will be – represented another challenge for Kellie, who spends more than 40 hours a week on the back of a horse.
How was she to run a business, a home, a farm and be a mother to three children?
Already, her yet-to-beborn baby has ridden over Mount Stirling, travelled the Delatite River, cantered past Craig’s Hut and camped out under the mountain stars.
But, ultimately, a life lived in the saddle is not an easy one to sustain for a young mother and child.
“This isn’t a decision that I have made lightly – I’ve grown up with trail riding, it’s what I’ve always done,” Kellie said.
“This is massive – I took the rides over in 2016, so I feel like I am just at the beginning.
“To be the one to say put away the saddles for the last time is heartbreaking.”
With two boys in primary school as well, Kellie needed to find a balance in her life that wasn’t focused on the back of a horse.
“I love my job, but I can’t have three kids under eight and be away every weekend – I can’t spend weeks out in the bush and expect someone else to get them off to school, and to be there at night when they get home,” Kellie said.
“I still remember growing up - with mum and dad out on rides – and us at home with Nana or my older brother Wayne looking after us.
“No matter how much I love my job, I love my kids more.”
The last year has been one of the worst ever faced by the Lovick family.
Suddenly, and without warning, Kellie’s mother Glenda passed away.
The heart and soul of the entire family, things have carried on – but the hole left by Glenda is one that will never be filled.
“The last 12 months have not been the easiest on us,” Kellie said.
“After losing mum so suddenly, it just hasn’t been the same.
“I have watched my parents work so hard for everyone else in their lifetime - I made the decision to call it a day.
“I won’t get this chance with my kids again – I don’t want to look back and regret not being there for them; I know how much it means to lose someone when you thought you had more time.”
But for every ending, there is a new beginning – and Kellie now has her sights firmly on the horizon.
“I am still fiercely proud of where I have come from, of my ties to the High Country, of being a mountain cattleman - my dad and mum ran these rides, and my grandfather before them – there is a lot of history tied up here, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities given to me.”
SADDLES DOWN: After 51 years and three generations, Lovick’s High Country Adventures – based out of Mansfield - will ride out for the last time in 2018. Pictured are Charlie and Kellie Lovick.
PROUD: Kellie Lovick, pictured with partner Ben McLeod and children, Jake and Corey.
MOVING ON: Charlie Lovick ran Lovick’s High Country Adventures, inheriting the business from his father, Jack, before passing it on to the next generation.