Thousandmiler Pricing

imageG’day to all of you who have expressed interest in our adventure. Please read all of the information before you reach any rash decisions because as I said in my email and I must stress that in developing the costs I have made no attempt to minimize them at all. In nearly all cases I have used current retail prices and have not obtained any negotiated prices for anything.

That means that the figure quoted on this page will be the MAXIMUM expected cost for the ride.

All equipment such as tents, beds, vehicles, refrigeration, cooking and eating gear is sourced from hire companies. There is very little that will have to be purchased out right. Food has been priced at off the shelf supermarket pricing and is based on an a menu of meals that is varied and of high quality.

Some assumptions have been made such as the cost of fuel for vehicles but where that has been done I have erred on the generous side.

Please, please, do not look at this as the final cost for it is not.

Some of the things that we listed in our back of the envelope plan on the home page cannot be done either because they are unavailable or are not practical given the locations that we are traveling to. That said the alternatives that will be included are more than adequate.

The first item that has had to change was the dream of a mobile kitchen. I have not been able to find one to hire in a size that would be practical or at a price that any of us could afford. All the ones that I could find are based on a semi trailer and there for overkill so I have opted for a compromise. Great food will still be cooked by our kitchen team but the cooking will have to be done in a kitchen set up in a tent with the cooking gear unloaded from a truck each day as required. A little more work but with the same result.

Another item that has changed because of availability and servicing issues is the toilet and shower facilities.; the same problem as the kitchen, everything available was overkill so we have opted for some camping basics using tents and ‘Thunderboxes’ over ‘Long drop’ pits for toilets and an arrangement of side by side shower tents where one is a change room and the other a shower with the shower water being delivered by a hand pumped pressure tank. The water will be heated on gas or a campfire to keep topping up the tank.
Toilet shower tentThunderboxShower

It should be noted that in many camp sites we will be attached to station shearing quarters or sporting facilities where showers and toilets will already be available so the portable showers might be a bit of a luxury that we can do without.

Tents will be of the Safari type that you can stand up in and there will be 2 people per tent. Camp stretchers will also be provided so you will not have to sleep on the ground. This is very important to some of the geriatrics that will be on the ride.Tent

Whilst on the topic of camp comfort, we have included a mess tent, tables and chairs so no balancing your food on your knees whilst sitting on the ground. Also chairs will be provided for lounging around after dinner. The Geriatrics among us will not have to struggle up from the ground after a bit of a campfire chat.Mess tentTable & chairLounge chair

Where permanent yards are not available the horses will be in 6 meter x 6 meter yards constructed with steel posts and electric fence tape that will be electrified. We have opted for this as trees are a bit scarce out there so picket lines would not be an option in most cases and searching for hobbled horses that have learnt how to gallop when hobbled is just no fun at all.

Whilst on horses it is planned to have a mill make up a basic mix for us of chaff oats and bran with a little molasses to keep it all together and the dust down. The amount per horse per day is being calculated at about 4.75kg given in 3 feeds a day to start with an option to increase to 4 feeds a day if the horses are not doing well on that ration. The amount of and the constitution of the rations is based on what the Australian Light Horse used when feeding their horses whilst on maneuver. They seemed to know a thing or two about feeding horses in solid work. There will be no hay as it is way too bulky and there are issues surrounding weeds etc. with hay.

Remember that all you have to bring on the ride is your bedroll, some extra clothes and personal gear, your saddlery and I suppose you had best include your horse. Everything else will be provided.

All the calculations have been based on 25 participants. If there are less than 25 then the cost per person will remain about the same, maybe. This is because there are some fixed costs that will not change until the numbers reach a point where we can cut down on the larger expenses such as vehicles. Costs like horse feed, human food horse yards, tents and beds will all go down to offset the vehicle costs until we reach a point that a vehicle can be deleted.

If the numbers go up well that is another challenge Numbers increasing may effect where we will be able to camp more than the costs as there will be an optimal number that will be happily accommodated by the station owners who at this stage are expecting about 20 or so horses. There are logistic problems apart from that when many more riders are involved as many people who have attended some rides with large numbers can attest to. The dynamics of the ride would also change with a much larger number with groups within the main group being formed and wanting to do their own thing which will cause all sorts of unforeseen problems. Camping a big mob of horses will also be an issue.  

So I guess what I am saying is when we get right down to it there will be a cutoff point. Riders that commit for the entire ride will get first preference then it will come down to first in best dressed for any particular leg of the ride.

OK, I have waffled on long enough so here is the numbers that you are all waiting for.
The maximum expected cost is $100 per person and horse/ per day. This is less than you would pay for a dodgey motel room with nowhere to stable your horse.
Based on approximate participant group size of 25 people. Price may change if numbers increase or decrease or items included are changed.

Riders who want to join the ride for just a week or two will pay the same amount per day provided always that we are able to keep the numbers pretty stable.

Age will have no bearing on price and there will be no Pensioner Discounts.

Membership and Joining fees for the yet to be formed Geriatric Trail Riders Inc
(We have to form an association so that there will be an opportunity to take out a public risk policy as well as member personal risk policies at reduced prices.)

Accommodation and bed. (tent and camp bed)
3 meals a day plus morning & afternoon tea and supper (Note this includes all the Coffee & Tea you can drink) This is to satisfy Lindsay who lives on tea.
Meals will consist of the following:
Breakfast cereal,  bacon & eggs, bread/toast oatmeal, fresh fruit
Lunch will mostly be sandwiches or rolls
Dinner, Roast beef, pork, lamb, corned-beef, chicken with vegetables, Pasta dishes with and without meat, stir-fry type meals served with rice, casseroles and stews with vegetables, BBQs on occasion and even the odd hamburger, sausage or rissole.  Desserts will follow most if not all evening meals.
Lots of muffins biscuits slices for snack in between
All meals prepared by our kitchen staff.
Mess tent, tables and chairs erected by camp staff
All tents erected by camp staff.
All horse yards erected by camp staff
Toilet and shower facilities prepared by camp staff where required
Horse feed supplied and ration measured out by camp staff. Riders to feed their own horses.
Lunch camp water for horses will be provided where no surface water is available.
Toilet facilities will be provided at lunch camp
The ride will be accompanied by up to 4 vehicles consisting of the following
1 x 4-5 tonne truck with enclosed pan-tech/furniture removal body to carry horse feed bedrolls extra clothes cooking gear, dry foods and freezer.
1 x 1 tonne ute to carry 1000 litres of water, towing double float with yard fencing, feed and water bins
1x 4x4 1 tonne tray ute carrying tents, tables chairs and towing cool room
1 x 1 tonne ute to carry lunch camp stuff and fencing equipment in case we meet cattle grids with no gates to get around and any other gear that does not fit on the other vehicles.

Things left to consider at this time include finding a qualified First Aid Officer to accompany the ride or someone willing to get qualified.

A first aid kit is something we cannot hire and will have to be purchased unless someone on the ride has a suitable one that can be provided for the duration of the ride.

Soft drinks will be available for purchase. Alcohol is another can of worms. Here we may run up against licensing laws and to this point in time I have had nothing but conflicting statements from Official Channels (Bureaucrats sitting in Sydney with no idea what I am talking about.) The only definite thing I know is that I will need an RSA Certificate if we are to have any alcohol at all. (This I will do at my expense no problem at all. It falls into the category of thing that I have been planning to do for about the last 10 years. )
If I do manage to leap over all the hurdles and through all the hoops it is envisaged that the choices of alcoholic beverages we will have available will be, Beer, Red wine ( a Cab/Sav) and White wine(Chardonay or Sav/Blanc). Drinks to be supplied and limited to the equivalent of .05, about 3 drinks per rider per night. THERE WILL NO BYO ALLOWED AT ALL, NO MATTER HOW THIS TURNS OUT. As you can guess opinion is divided on the drinks issue however it is not divided on the subject of Drunks and Horses do not mix.

Your comments and input on this subject are definitely requested.

The ride will start at Barham and we will all gather there on the 22 September 2012 where last minute instructions and rules will be expanded on so that there will be no misunderstandings as we progress.

Visit the Map Page and download the maps to follow the planned itinerary below.
The ride will start off on the 23/09/2012 and head north towards Moulamein with one camp before arriving at Moulamein on 25/09/2012 where we will camp at the pony club.

We then head north west with the next camp at Moolpa then on to Balranald. We should be at Balranald on the afternoon of the 27/09/2012. This will be the first point where riders can leave or join the ride.  We may have a rest day here or we may go on to Piaka station just north of Balranald on the 28 /09/2012.

Either way on the 1 October we head north on the Burke & Wills track with an over night camp at Bidura Station. We continue north and then east for a bit and should be camping at Iona Station on the 2/10/2012. North again to camp at Boree Plains on 3/10/2012 then on to camp at Baymore Station on the 4/10/2012 . This is just before we cross the Mungo National Park. Crossing the Mungo National Park is one of the longest days we will do but there is no choice as we are not allowed to camp with the horses in the national park.

On the other side of the park we will camp at Top Hut on the night of the 5/10/1012. We head west towards the Darling River and will camp not far from the Wentworth-Menindee Rd on the 6/10/2012. We will then head north to Pooncarie which will be an easy day and camp at the racecourse provided there is not a meeting there. We will have a rest day here after the short ride up from the Top Hut Rd. This will be the second point where riders can leave or join the ride.

9/10/2012 will see us heading north again to camp at Harcourt Station. On to Bono station for 10/10/2012 then on to Menindee on the 11/10/2012. We then head west to Scarsdale Station 12/10/2012 then Farmcote on the 13/10/2012. From Farmcote we head southwest to Pine point Station on 14/10/2012 where we will have a rest day. This will be the third point where riders can leave or join the ride.

We leave Pine Point on 16/10/2012 and head south down the Silver City Highway until we reach the Tandou Rd turn off. We will camp there the night then in the morning head east to camp at Packers Crossing then on the 18/10/2012 we reach Bindara on the Darling River. 19/10/2012 we reach Wyarama and following the Darling down to Mullinga on the 20/10/2012.

On the 21/10/2012 we cross the Darling  south of Pooncarie and go south to Lelma where I hope to have a rest day. This will be the fifth point where riders can leave or join the ride.

23/10/2012 after going south a while we head away from the river to the south east to Wamberra. East again on the 24/10/2012 to Marma station. We then strike south on the 25/10/2012 to Koolaman Station on the Prungle Mail Rd. Then on the 26/10/2012 south east to Bramah Station. 27/10/2012 we head south and arrive back at Balranald. This will be the sixth point where riders can leave or join the ride. Another rest day here before retracing our steps back to Barham to arrive there on  2/11/2012.

All the camping points will have to be confirmed which will be done when we know the numbers so we can liaise with the station owners properly and not surprise them when we arrive. We do not expect many changes to this itinerary as most stops have been contacted on a probable basis.

This poses a transport problem that I have not even attempted to address save to say that moving your car and float or truck along the route each day will not always be an option as some of the tracks are just that, tracks. So to that end I want those that are planning to  do only a section of the ride to put your thinking caps on to see if we can come up with a simple workable answer to get your vehicles to where your horses will be when you want to leave the ride. It may be that someone will have a partner, relly, friend, acquaintance or a paid lackey that can pick you up and transport you back to your vehicle so you can then collect your horse and gear from where you are leaving the ride. This is not a problem for those riders completing the entire ride as we will return to Barham from where we started.  Over to you guys.

Special Dietary requirements
If any of you have any special dietary requirements and are still wanting to come on this adventure can you let me know ASAP so we a can plan accordingly.

As I have said at the start of this document this is a first draft of the expected costs and no attempt has been made to minimize them. It is expected that some savings can be made on some of the costs like food and some equipment but it is the big ticket items, the vehicle hire that will be the hardest to get the prices down.

Any suggestions, comments good or bad send me an email. If you are happy with what is suggested here let me know. If you are not happy with what is listed here let me know what and why and I will have a look and see if I can find an answer, or better still, provide me an alternative solution

Ultimate intent of the Thousand miler trail ride is ride our horses through some of the outback that otherwise very few of us would get to see. As organizers we want to do everything possible to achieve the best out of this amazing experience without compromising health, safety of horse or rider or level of comfort. The ultimate goal is to see if 2 or more geriatrics can make 42 days in the saddle without injury or dying or regaining our sanity.

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