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On the next episode, screening 25 May at 7pm on TV ONE

Horse Play 

Cows pay the bills on Craig and Donna Hampton's dairy farm in the Maruia Valley, south of Murchison, but horses are the couple's first love.

Craig and Donna met as teenagers at nearby Springs Junction and they've farmed together on Craig's family land for the last 18 years. 

"Horses are amazing creatures," Donna says.  "They can be naughty, much like children, but you always forgive them." 

The Hamptons use horses for jobs such as bringing the cows to the shed for morning milking. 

"We find it keeps the cows quiet and it's more peaceful at that time of the morning than using a motorbike or a quad," Craig says.

The Hamptons are milking 170 cows this season for Westland Milk Products. Last year they moved to milking just once a day and although production is down a little, as expected, Craig says the new policy works well for them.

"We make a good living off once-a-day milking. There's no point in paying the taxman more when we have what we need.  

"The cows seem so much happier on once-a-day milking, so everybody's happy," Craig says.

They still treat the cows as though they were going to the shed twice daily. 

"We move them around the farm the same way and we still milk early to give us the whole day for other things," Donna says.

Milking once a day frees up time for the couple to spend with their horses.  Donna grew up with animals but Craig had seldom ridden till five years ago. Now he's a total convert - so much so, that he shoes all seven of the Hamptons' horses. 

Another farm job done on horseback is moving their mob of beef cattle. Clydesdales are a favourite breed and Donna and Craig will often ride gentle giants Ted and Ace.

It's reminiscent of a simpler time and fits the couple's philosophy on farming. 

"We try not to use sprays too much," explains Craig.  "I'm not anti-spraying, but I think we all overdo it and we're not too worried about a few weeds or bugs.  So long as the stock gets its fair share of feed, then the bugs can have theirs too." 

The Clydesdales also feature heavily in Donna's paintings.  "I've always been interested in art," she says.  "I only paint old things so I take out power poles, modern fences or exotic trees like pines.  I like the era of the Clydesdale." 

To find out more about Donna's art visit: 

To find out more about the sport of cowboy challenge visit:

Barrington West

Field sound
Don Paulin

Offline editor
Brent Whitwell

Online editor
Alex Wright

Sound mixer
Ian Leslie

Sound editor
Don Paulin

Vivienne Jeffs

Network executive
Jude Callen

Associate producer
Dan Henry

Production manager
Robyn Best

Dan Henry

Julian O'Brien