NEWS > Vaulting
Posted by Equestrian Queensland on 22/09/2015.

Horseland Sponsors Vaulting Nationals & CVI

Stuart Hill is Horselands longest Franchisee, and owner of Gold Coast, Jindalee and Ipswich stores.

Stuart signed his first franchise agreement for Horseland Indooroopilly before Christmsa in 1987. Jockey Larry Olsen had just won the Melbourne Cup on a horse called Kensai, making a spectacular return to racing and changing his plan of running the saddlery store that he had retired to.

At that stage Stuart was still Head Air Traffic Controller at Brisbane airport, but knew that he would be forced into retirement in a few more years and was thinking about his future life. Always a hard worker, he was considering his future direction in the workforce.

He grew up around horses, his father worked their sugar cane farm with a team of Clydesdales, and he had a very naughty pony that he rode to school from age 4. Sometimes he got bucked off and had to walk, but if he and the pony both arrived at the school, the older boys would always shove him back on, slap the pony on the bum and send him home at the gallop at the end of the day. There was no saddle, just an old corn sack, heaps of obstacles, sugar trains to race, roos, branches, gullies- but they both survived. Living outside Sarina, near Mackay in the early 1940s with whispers of war, limited comforts and little money certainly shaped the rest of Stuart's life.

The oldest of 3 boys, he worked hard to gain a Navy scholarship at 15 where as a ship navigator, he also learnt to fly. He met an air force nurse named Carol with whom he has now been married for over 50 years. As children came along, he found that being a pilot was taking him away from his young family for too long, so he worked towards becoming an Air Traffic Controller.

Around 1994 he purchased Horseland Gold Coast, and a year later moved it from Sportsman's Paradise in Bundall to its current location at Nerang. A few years later, the tiny Indooroopilly store was relocated to its current site at Jindalee homemaker centre. 10 years ago he built the store at Ipswich.

Nudging 80, Stuart still drives between the stores twice a week, does all of the bookkeeping for the three stores, and manages the wages and staff. It is not that he has boundless energy, he is simply one that pushes himself and has an amzing work ethis. He is popular amongst his staff, loved by his family and respected by his peers. He is also quite humble, and would hate to know that this will be printed!

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