Jonathan shocked his parents by suddenly announcing that he was going to ride a horse along the National Trail, which runs 5,500 kms from Cooktown in north Queensland to Healesville in Victoria. It goes through some very rugged terrain and remote and almost inaccessible places.
We were very worried that he planned to do it on his own. And we had grave doubts that he knew enough about horses or riding to tackle a venture like this. But with the blithe self-confidence of youth he brushed our concerns aside. He had it all planned - he would drive up to Cairns, buy two horses, get to Cooktown and set off.
Paul decided to accompany him as far as Cairns because he did not think Jono's car would get there without problems, and he wanted to oversee the buying of the horses (talk about the blind leading the blind!!)
He was right about the unreliable car...they sold it in Cairns for $100.
In Cairns they looked in the local paper, found two horses for sale, had a look at them and bought them! When they phoned to tell me I asked if they had got a vet to look at the horses - oh no, these two instant horse experts had decided the animals looked healthy enough!
Paul decided that he had better get Jono and the horses to Helenvale - another... kms, so he hired a vehicle and horsebox, and off they went.
They arrived safely at Helenvale where the Trail begins, and Paul left Jono to get on with his adventure....
Although his ride was severely curtailed because of the drought - there was no water for the horses and it would have been extremely foolish to continue - he achieved a great deal, learnt a lot and tested himself to the limit. His achievement cannot be measured in kilometres - we are very proud of him.