Founder Deb & Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat
Debbie Burgermeister, Head Coach, Founder of Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat since 2006 and Giddy Up Gold Coast Charity
Deb has an intense passion for what we offer, dedicated to utilize our privilege of horses to connect with people and work with our community to make a difference…check out her unique story
Vision & Mission
Head Coach and Founder Story
– Debbie Burgermeister
Inspired by her parents that have given her with a wonderful life of growing up with horses and farm life! Also blessed with a family of her own and loving husband to establish the balance between country and city living.
A rare upbringing these days to be given the broad exposure of working with sheep, cattle, cropping and farm equipment that school cannot educate on the practical expertise gained growing up in this way. Responsibilities away from technology and being able to appreciate the outdoors and everything it has to offer.
Now with twins, running her own business, managing a household, fitness and involved in a sport unique to all others (horses and polocrosse)! Starting her horse riding school business to be a stay-at-home mum and to have a business that would support family and hobby lifestyle. Her passion is horses and educating people to start with horses safely and confidently. Giving people a unique stress free, sense of freedom activity.
Blessed with a loving family upbringing on a farm to learn practical life skills and many great horsemanship skills from a very talented horseman, her father, teaching her to break in horses over 30 years ago in the natural way and being able to ride horses to compete up to state level championships.
Debbie is Your Horse Riding Coach With A Difference through her ability to achieve a high focus on development with strong attention to body technique from exposure to both Western and English riding. Starting with pony club and moving into the show ring, dressage, jumping, camp-drafting, barrel racing and polocrosse.
One of Deb’s most memorable moments (apart from marrying her husband Mark of course), was performing in the breathtaking 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony on the 15th of September with 120 musical riders. Experience the excitement with this video…
Credited with an established riding school for over 10 years and has many coaching qualifications, but her unique qualities come from her down to earth, friendly positive attitude and ability to relate to all ages. Experienced in being a parent of twins and the high expectations of child development in recreational activities.
Equestrian Australia coach / CertIII Sports Coaching Equestrian / NCAS Level 2 Coach with Aust. Institute of Sport / CertIV Trainer & Assessor / First Aid, Mental Health First Aid & Blue Card / CertIV in Small Business Management / Advanced Diploma of Customer Contact Management
Deb’s life is now completely dedicated to her family, her horses and the charity that Deb & her husband Mark founded called Giddy Up Gold Coast. A not for profit venture aimed at the grassroots of the sport but more passionate in the healing aspects of horses for the community. Development in confidence, non-verbal communication techniques and emotional control along with an escape from technology and back to nature to unplug and unwind, mental & physical strength to handle life’s challenges and to experience the energy, love and freedom horses can provide. Through their Giddy Up Kids programs run by Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat, Gold Coast Australia and the amazing Horse Day Out – Ride and Relax programs on offer. For more information please Contact Us or check out realtime availability and pricing at our Bookings Hub
Written by Deb a short story of thanks:
“THESE HANDS” Can your hands tell stories? As I look at my so-called “lady” hands I often wonder how horse girls can have nails or non-marked skin. I look at my dented bruised finger from the stable door and laugh, or I think about the sadness of the 9yr old boy that died 20yrs ago after I did CPR…..OR….I think about the joy of holding my twins for the first time 4 weeks after they were born 3mths early just 560g………… BUT when I think hard about my 43yr old hands I think of what these hands have done on a farm with horses, sheep, cattle, chooks, cooking, cleaning, lifting, cutting, campfires, rivers, old cars and fixing fences…… the life of a country Australian that so many young people do not appreciate that I have had the blessing to experience – a farmer, a wife, a mother, a labourer, a mechanic, a factory worker and a horseman. These are all skills I cherish and I would not trade my hands for anything in the world as the stories are in my mind and my heart forever. I thank my family, my friends and my employers for the experiences of life to help me learn and grow in mind & body! I pray our youth continue to be educated away from the computer with hands on reality and stories to cherish of their own
For a little deeper into Deb’s life story: LIFE CHALLENGES and HORSES TO SAVE THE DAY: deep into the life of Deborah Burgermeister
Charity for grassroots horse riding and mental health
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals of improving grassroots horse riding education and delivering equine programs for mental health. Your generous donation will fund our mission to enable more community and school groups to access our horse programs. Positive outcomes in CONFIDENCE, CARE for others, emotional CONTROL, COMMUNICATION skills, COORDINATION
Through our unique programs, participants develop emotional intelligence & life skills such as empathy, responsibility and dealing with challenges in a non-threatening, therapeutic, non-judgemental environment.
A lovely story was featured on channel 10 about horses for mental health
All donations made through the Australian Sports Foundation are tax deductable.
Deb and Mark - Our Miracle Twins
This is just a little bit more about our life as a strong family, our love and devotion as parents to support the growth and development of children. We hope in sharing our story that we can help others that may go through their own struggles, the fight for hope and the importance to support each other and to have a strong network of people around your life.
Our twins were born at only 25 weeks gestation, nearly 4 months too early. Due to be born end of March 2010, they came into the world mid December 2009. The average weight of a baby at birth is 3500g. Jackson weighed 810g and Keira 560g (about the weight of a tub of margarine).
They were so small, they could each fit into Dad’s hand.
Jackson & Keira are true survivors. At birth they were given less than 70% chance of living. And if they lived, there was a 20% chance of a major physical or mental disability.
During their first 12 weeks, they were either diagnosed or closely monitoring development of challenges associated with very young premmies; chronic lung disease, hyaline membrane disease, jaundice, anaemia, reflux, hyperglycaemia, hypaglycaemia, retinopathy of prematurity (eye sight), further weight loss at birth, non-closure of heart duct, brain haemorrhaging, hearing and lots more. Each of the above was a battle one after the other at different weeks of their lives. The miracle is that both of our babies fought and won virtually all of these battles.
They came home for the first time on Monday 22 March 2010 after spending their first 102 days of life (nearly 1/3 of a year) in the amazing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Brisbane Mater Mothers’ Hospital as well 3 weeks at John Flynn Hospital Gold Coast.
We are so very proud of our babies. They have come a very long way. We would like to thank family, friends, staff and customers for their amazing support for what was an incredibly difficult time for Mum & Dad.
A very big thank you goes to the amazing group of doctors and nurses at NICU, a wonderful and dedicated group of people. Thank you for your support, time and amazing care of our children. A big thank you to the wonderful nurse who in the wee hours of Xmas morning placed near their cribs 2 Xmas cards; one from Jackson & one from Keira addressed to Mum & Dad. In them were real ink prints of their tiny feet. That will be a Xmas morning we will never forget for the rest of our lives.
Also thanks to Gaylene and crew at John Flynn Hospital. It was a short but memorable 3 weeks.
However, a special and greatest mention goes to one amazing person. Dr Luke Jardine, Neonatologist at NICU. Luke, thank you for saving their lives. You are an all-round exceptional human being & we are very grateful to have met you.
The first 3 months was daily crying as a mother, striving to produce breast milk for the increased chance of survival, so constantly attached to a pump feeling like a cow, literally crying over spilt milk and then the amazing joy of breastfeeding for the first time after 2 months from birth. Having to wait a month before we could hold our babies in our arms for the first time was so hard.
Overall the first 5 years for premmies and twins is a story of many sleepless nights, alot of crying as a mother, tough on your relationship and monthly hospital visits. Whenever they got a cold breathing support was required because their lungs weren’t strong enough to breath on their own through sickness, many ENT visits and multiple surgeries for poor Jackson with cysts on his throat and severe croup.
Our twins are now thriving and in full health to manage school, chess, drama, competitive gymnastics and horse riding.
I hope you enjoy the photos below which show a glimpse of our world in their early days December 2009 – March 2010.
All our love,
Mark & Deb, Jackson & Keira
Below are just a few of many horses Deb has been blessed with to muster around the cattle at home and take to pony club, shows, dressage, campdrafting, jumping and polocrosse: Beauty the little white shetland at 2yrs old, Gidget, Cassie, Talisa, Prince, Kit, Mooney, Cascade, Casanova, Cassette, PK, Ruby, Magic, Judge and many lovely riding school ponies over the last decade.
Deb & Cascade
First foal from Deb’s pony Cassie she had from 9yrs old
Broken in and trained by Deb. Played polocrosse to state level for South Australia and Queensland. Later getting eye cancer with his eye removed then became a retired best friend of our lovely student.
Deb & Magic
First foal from her fathers polocrosse horse Jenny
Broken in and trained by Deb. Injured at 6 months became handled alot so did some clicker training and she became the show trick horse at Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat. Moved on to a polocrosse horse and now a broodmare.
Deb & PK
Super star performer in the 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony
PK was an exceptionally talented polocrosse horse and versatile to do anything with. Eventually becoming a very special students best friend and pony club horse.