Barcoos Blog

Zoophobia! - (a fear of animals).

Almost seven years of running the Farmstay, and a lifetime of living on a farm gives Farmer Ken and I a fair bit of exposure to folk that have a real fear of animals. Many folk come to the Farmstay because their children (or themselves, and this is often where the kiddies get their fear from), have Zoophobia. Many more come because they have a passion for animals, or they wish to educate and expose their family to more animals.

Here are some suggestions that we find really work to overcome this often unreasonable fear.

1) Please don’t reinforce the fear by using the words – “scared” – “frightened” – “won’t try to do that”, ect.  All this negative reinforcement just convinces the child/adult even more that there is something that they need to be frightened of!

2) Don’t force your child to come closer to any animal than they are comfortable with. This achieves absolutely nothing. Stay back and encourage them, but don’t say “see, there is nothing to be frightened of”, etc Let them watch with you being supportive and strong. As they watch us and other guests being comfortable and safe, most times this is enough to overcome the fear. Don’t ever laugh at your child for being scared, gently support them and encourage them to reach out (even if it’s just towards the animal) and just touch the animal.

3) If Ken or I encourage the kiddies to come with us, and they are willing to, please let them. We know our animals very well. Of course all animals can have a element of danger, but we know our animals very well and have encouraged lots of children and adults to overcome their fear. Mostly when animals are dangerous it is because they have a reason to feel fear themselves. I can only recall 2 guests over the last 7 years that by the time they had left the farm the fear had not been overcome.

It is very important that none of our animals are treated roughly in any way. eg, a dog that is having its fur pulled is likely to bite, it has no other way to protect itself. A horse that is frightened, or hurt will most likely kick out or bite, ect. Never allow your child to go near any dog anywhere when it is eating! Never go amongst a group horses when they are eating. Never chase any animal away from it’s food. It really just boils down to respect for animals.

Occasionally I will request that a parent takes their child further away, maybe out through the gate, if a child is crying loudly or misbehaving. I apologise for this, but the negative energy this creates around animals is not a good thing. It is also not pleasant for other guests or me trying to take part in activities. Usually the kiddie decides it is better to stop the noise rather than miss out on the fun! Don’t take them completely away and rouse on them, they will work out, (just like a animal does in most cases) that the behavior did not have a positive outcome.

Hoping these very basic observations help you, and your family that may have a fear of animals, have a safe and pleasant experience with our animals and on our farm.

Elaine & Farmer Ken.


Delightful Afternoon's!

To-day, after Farmstay activities, Farmer Ken and I took a delightful drive for lunch. We planned on going to The Bee Keepers Inn at Vittoria, half way between Bathurst and Orange, but it was a spur of the moment thing and we didn’t book! – no room in the Inn!  so we continued on to Millthorpe, and were very lucky to get a table at The Old Mill Cafe.

I love these quick little getaways, beautiful short country drives to hidden little gems, with the most delightful food, deserts are definitely the specialty at The Old Mill Cafe.


5/5 for the Apple Pie and  Carrot  Cake – Presentation and service is as good as the food!!

Watching a few families there got me to thinking, what a great thing to do with kiddies between activities, a long enough drive for the kiddies to have a nap, (about 40 minutes), some very special food for parents to enjoy, and a scenic country drive. PERFECT.

For mains we recommend the Beef or Chicken Pies with chips and salad. You are not going to be wanting much for dinner!

Last weekend we zipped off the The Universal Cafe at Tarana.  This is a wonderful little Cafe with the most delightful food, also specialising in deserts! – The flavor, presentation and the size of these deserts are going to make you go “OOOOH!” – AND, another scenic country drive, just the right amount of time to fit in a return trip with scrumptious lunch between activities, and for little kiddies to have a catch up nap. Another 5/5 cafe in the country.


Shetland Ponies at Barcoos Farmstays Bathurst.

SHETLAND PONIES. – Awesome little horses, did you know they are the strongest horses in the world – weight unit for strength??! They can pull up to twice their body weight whereas a Clydesdale can pull half their body weight!
CODY has been here since I started the Farmstay 6 years ago, – he is around 17 years old, still does led pony rides by the hour and pulls the sulky and wagon with “pizazz!”. I don’t own Cody, he is on loan….permanent loan.

Cody. Barcoos first Shetland Pony.
Cody. Barcoos first Shetland Pony.

HUNTER is 3 years old, tiny wee fellow with a huge heart that just loves little kids and old folk especially. He does wonderful led rides and is just starting harness training. 2 weeks ago he went to a nursing home as a “therapy horse”, walked through corridors, got hugged, patted, kissed and cried upon, and never blinked a eye! I am hoping to do more animal therapy work with him.

Hunter. Barcoos newest Shetland Pony.
Hunter. Barcoos newest Shetland Pony.

COCO is about 5 years old – He has been here 2 years and has been a challenge, From a nasty, spooky “mini monster” to a delightful spirited little fellow who is coming along really nicely, now doing led rides and just starting to do harness work.
I just love the work ethic of these little Shetland Ponies and thank Nature and Landscape Photography By Di Watson for these delightful portraits of my Shetland Ponies.

Coco. Barcoos cheekiest Shetland Pony.
Coco. Barcoos cheekiest Shetland Pony.

Babysitting at Barcoos.

Visiting the Farmstay is usually all about fun and interaction for the kiddies. I can now arrange babysitting so that parents can also have some special child free time for you to go out for dinner, or maybe the movies or a show. Many of our past guests will have met the 3 delightful girls that help with activities during busy times. Gabby, Rosie and Kate. Often I can arrange for one of the girls to babysit whilst you have some adult time of a evening. I don’t seem to have a photo of Kate to share just yet. These girls are so special, apart from loving horses, they come from lovely families with younger siblings and are very good with kiddies.

School Holidays June 28th - July 13th. 2014. Limited vacancies.

Have you made your plans for a fun couple of days during the upcoming school holidays? Barcoos Farmstays Bathurst has just a few vacancies left scattered throughout this break. This booking page is always current so you can look at it with confidence that your preferred dates are available. You are very welcome to contact us direct to make your booking, or you can use the online facility.

For the braver we do have campsites available also. powered and un-powered. You do need to contact us via email, or phone – 0263372383 – 0429337439 to book campsites.

All activities are included in your tariff, this applies to campers now also.

Activities start at 8.30am daily and often can last until 11am, by then Elaine is looking for a cup of coffee!! We will have fed the chooks their porridge, sheep, horses and cow and calf their morning rations and have had lots of led pony rides In the afternoon we will have sulky rides, or maybe a farm tour and at some stage take a hay ride up the paddock to feed the cattle and have a drive of Farmer Ken’s big blue tractor .

There is so much to do off Farm (if you can get the kids to go – often they don’t want to leave). Check out Visit Bathurst and Central NSW Tourism for some great ideas.

Reality TV with Lyndey Milan.

On a bitterly cold day in August 2012 Bella (Clydesdale), Farmer Ken and I spent a day at Millthorpe being filmed for the reality TV show Taste of Australia. Well, on Sunday 6th April 2014 it eventually appeared on TV.

It certainly cured me of ever wanting to be a TV/film star! – Retake after retake, sit and wait, another retake. It was a experience and Bella was impeccable, I’d wondered what she would be like with so much happening around her, but she did everything asked of her on cue. All for the honor and glory and 3 cups of take-away-coffee!!

The show can be watched here, – go towards the start of the last segment, It is VERY brief!!!


April School Holidays availability update. (11th-28th April2014).


Wardell Farmhouse


Wardell Farmhouse is available on the 11th and 12th only.

Hillview Unit is available for the 16th only. Why not tie a visit in with a trip to Dubbo Zoo!

Either of these options can be booked online or direct with Elaine on 63372383 or









April 2014 School Holiday Vacancies.

Only 2 weeks until NSW Autumn School Holiday Break. As usual, Autumn and Spring are the most popular times to visit a Farmstay in the Central West. Mild comfortable days and cool nights to be cosy around the Campfire or in a cosy bed are expected!

We have a New Jersey cow and her calf to meet, and hopefully will have a poddy lamb or 2 for kids to care for. Plus all the usual fun with the horses.

Barcoos Farmstays Bathurst has just a few nights available for you to escape with the family.

HILLVIEW UNIT – Wednesday 16th April

VALLEY VIEW UNIT (Formally The Barn Unit).  Thursday 24th April.

WARDELL FARMHOUSE – 11TH/12TH and 26TH/27TH April.

It is best if you book direct with Elaine for these nights via email or phone.