Our Story

About the farm

There have been horses running on the hills of Harlow Park since the early days of European settlement. The property was settled in the 1850’s by an Irishman called Patrick Shanahan and his family. Paddy bred quality horses that were renowned in the district, Harlow Park horses served faithfully in the Boer War and in the middle east during WWI.

In 1971 Bill and Jan Upjohn purchased the property with a dream of furthering their interest in horses. Harlow Park Horse Riding was officially established in 1972. Jan and Bill’s passion for horses is infectious and since opening they are responsible for sowing the seeds of interest in horses for what is now their third generation of riders around the world. This is why the riding school became known locally as the horse place.
Harlow Park Horse riding quickly established a reputation for high quality riding instruction and fun trail rides through some of the best riding country New England has to offer. Jan and Bill raised five children on Harlow park and as any person, who has come to stay would tell you, customers become part of the extended family.

This has been the Harlow Park philosophy since its establishment. Many of the horses were bred and trained on Harlow Park and they have been selected for their temperament, patience and reliability.

The property has been chosen as a venue for training professional riders, TAFE and school groups with both Jan and Bill teaching TAFE horse management and performance courses here for over twenty years.

Family groups have spent their school holidays at Harlow Park year after year, a number of youngsters coming back from the age of four until their university years forming valued friendship between our families and theirs and of course our horses.
Now into their seventies Jan and Bill take a pride in following the successes of the kids who started here. They are still keen to share a lifetime of experience and horse knowledge with the new generation of budding horsemen and women.

About Jan

Jan grew up in the eastern Fall country east of Tamworth learnt to ride as she learnt to walk. As a tiny baby she was carried home from hospital on horseback and horses have always been part of her life. She is famous for catching a wild brumby on her parents property and breaking it in to ride as well as teaching it to lie down and bow all when she was eight. Jan was a well-known show rider and showjumper in the Tamworth and New England area and was seen jumping 1.20 m in a side saddle, with ease.

Jan has developed riding ability and inspired enthusiasm in thousands of riders. She specialises in building confidence in complete beginners guiding them through to becoming a safe and competent horse-person. Over her lifetime Jan has taken on many riders treating them as if they were her own children, still to this day these students will drop in for a ride bringing along the next generation for the wonderful experiences gained at Harlow Park.

About Bill

Rather than following his family’s choice of a naval career, Bill choose to become a Jackeroo in the cattle industry in QLD. During this time, he honed and mastered his skills with horses. From there Bill decided that he needed to educate himself going to Hawkesbury Agricultural College. Bill is a character, lover of bush poetry and fits the classic image of an Aussie Bushman. If he was born in another era he would have been an explorer or a bushranger. As a horseman, he has been a horsebreaker working with stock horses and thoroughbreds as well as handling a great number of wild brumbies from the gorge country.

Many riders fondly remember rides where Bill captured their imagination for hours while they were receiving quality instruction. During his army career, he helped to re-establish an interest in the light horse and formed a mounted troop in the local armoured Unit, 12/16 Hunter River Lancers. He still mounts up each year on ANZAC Day.

About Our Horses

All horses have a story, if the horses at Harlow Park could tell a story they would tell a story of a close connection with the Upjohn Family. Most of the horses on the farm have been bred and trained by the family. All the horses have been selected for their suitability and good nature. After Talking to Jan for 2 minutes she can expertly match your personality with the horse that will best suit you.