Read the interview with Peter and discover what makes a Cochran Horse Trek an authentic, memorable experience for those who seek adventure out of the ordinary.
The Cochran ranch has some amazing Heritage! How long has the ranch been in the family?
The Cochrans migrated as free settlers from Scotland and first settled in Braidwood, then Michelago and finally settled in Yaouk in 1846. Portions of the property were handed down through the generations with the final remaining lot being where I have myself resided since 1945.
The scenery and surrounding areas are pretty breathtaking could you please tell us a little history about the snowy rivers and what you enjoy most about living here.
The Cochran family has a history of raising cattle in the Snowy Mountains, which included migrating to the mountains during the summer, grazing in the high country, and bringing the mobs back in autumn to winter them in the lower country. This was typical of the area until grazing was banned from this mountain region.
Our family has a history of horsemanship, with both cattle work and military connections. My great grandfather was in the light horse in the Boer War, my grandfather was in the First World War and I served in Vietnam. We have a military history and record of community leadership. My grandfather also conducted rodeos at Yaouk and in Sydney to raise funds for the Spit Fire Fund in the Second World War.
What I enjoy most about living here is the vastness of the open country, fresh air and very few people!
Has running Cochran Horse Trek’s always been your passion?
I have always had a passion for horses and the mountains. Establishing Cochran Horse Treks has been my focus for the last 22 years, following my passion for the high country and the lifestyle and cultural heritage associated with it.
What does a usual working day look like for you?
I have always been an early riser. I start with a hearty breakfast, and always have my day planned the night before, regardless of whether it is trek season or winter.
During the trekking season, the billy is boiled, horses are checked and fed, and morning routine takes place before saddling up for another day of high country adventure in the fresh mountain air. Evenings are spent sharing wholesome food around the campfire and sharing a yarn, before crawling into the swag early for a good night sleep.
In the offseason, my days may include administration, planning, liaison, feeding livestock, maintenance of equipment, weed control, and all the other usual farming tasks.
Have you ever owned a Driza-Bone? If so, do you have any stories to share featuring your Driza-Bone?
I am the biggest Driza-Bone owner in the Monaro! I have at least 30 or so at any one time to fit out all of our guests. You never go anywhere in the mountains without one, regardless of the weather in the morning!
Driza-Bone coats have become part of the cultural history of the high country and image of the high country horseman. We proudly display our Driza-Bones whenever we’re involved with public rallies, and their versatility is evident varying from snow adventures through to keeping away the chill as we arrived on horseback to a recent magazine launch. They have been used through the ages to comfort people when they become ill or injured in scrub and used by bush-men as blankets or pillows.
It looks like you have a list of different treks to take. How did you come about these treks and what is the longest and hardest?
We have a variety of trek options of different durations and suitability levels. Regardless of which trek it is, all the treks are based on local knowledge of the high country to share the best experiences on offer. They include mountain hugs, panoramic vistas of the high plains, grand mountains, Brumbies, native wildflowers, trickling streams and river crossings.
The longest and hardest trek on offer in a 7-day experience crossing the mountains to Corryong to align with the Man From Snowy River Festival. Back in 1947, my mother rode this same trail solo with me on the pommel of her saddle and a pack-horse in tow from Yaouk to Aunty Joan’s place in Khancoban. This historical journey inspired our own trail across the mountains.
What kind of experience should we expect on a Cochran Horse Trek?
At Cochran Horse Treks, you can escape from the stresses of life with an authentic high-country adventure into heritage-listed Kosciuszko alpine wilderness. Witness the beauty of the Brumbies in their natural habitat and reconnect with nature, horses, people and yourself. Hearty, wholesome tucker round the campfire, sharing a yarn. Safe, reliable, legendary horses with whom to share the journey. Comfort and good humour. Adventure of a lifetime!