Matt was born in Tumut New South Wales (NSW) and grew up on his family property Fieldon Brungle . The property is situated half way between Tumut and Gundagai in Southern NSW. The French family have been on the land at Fieldon Brungle for six generations, during this time each generation has ridden, bred and broken-in their own horses.
Like a lot of rural families, horses have been the French families lifelong passion. Matt was brought up in a droving background.. Droving was at all times Tom Frenchs (Matts father) livelihood. Over the years Matt and his sister Heather brothers Archie, Jade and Pat have all done their fair share of droving, either sheep or cattle along the never ending stock routes throughout New South Wales.
Matt has grown up with horses. He has been breaking-in and educating horses for over 20 years. Through the years he has progressed within the horse sector competing in Campdrafting, Polocrosse and Horsemanship Challenges. He has also followed his ancestors, and his father (Tom French) footsteps in breeding horses and takes a special interest in the Australian Stock Horse.
Matt has been very successful over the years and some of his achievements include:Southern Campdraft Association (SCA) Rider of the Year 4 Times in various categories, SCA All round Horse of the Year Awards, Monaro and Riverina Zone Rider of the Year numerous times, Gippsland Runner-up Rider of the Year, A Grade Polocrosse and represented at Zone level.
Chrissie was born in Bega NSW and spent all of her life on the land. Firstly at Candelo on the family dairy then moving to Nimmitabel in the Snowy Mountains on a sheep and cattle property.
Chrissie's family on both sides where involved with horses for their livelihood. Horses on the Hart side were used for all farming requirements, breeding and riding. Eric Hart (Chrissie's Grandfather) was one of the last South Coast farmers to use Draft Horses for all farming aspects such as ploughing etc.
All six generations in the Smith family (Chrissie's mothers side) were well known horsemen in various disciplines. Great Grandfather, Grandfather and several uncles were well known reinsmen in the pacing industry and Chrissie's cousins are still involved in racing, breeding, breaking in and training today.
Chrissies father Mick Hart worked on track as a farrier for all of her childhood years and has used horses daily on the land. Both her parents have been breeding Australia Stock Horses for years and both still compete in Campdrafting today.
Chrissie has been around horses all of her life, she started pony club when she was 3 yrs old and went through all the stages. Chrissie has competed successfully at state level for Campdrafting, Showjumping, Sporting and Dressage. Chrissie has been handling, breaking-in and educating horses for over 17 years. Some of Chrissie's achievements include: SCA Runner-Up Lady Rider of the Year, SCA Monaro Zone and SCA Riverina Zone Lady Rider of the Year on numerous occasions, Winning the Championships Campdraft at Canberra Rayal Show 2009, placing 3rd at Sydney Royal Show in Showjumping and 2nd in Ladies Campdraft at Warwick Gold Cup as well as winning Lady Rider section of the Tumut Horsemanship Challenge.
Chrissie French(nee Hart)
Matt & Chrissie brought it together when they married on the 1 January 2000. Since that time they have purchased the property "Chansit" which is situated at Nimmitabel, where they are currently running both sheep and cattle as well as horses of course. They have both spent many long hours in the saddle at times employed as contract drovers, contract musterers and horse breakers. They also use horses for all their mustering requirements on their own property Chansit.
The last time out droving was as a family with their two small children. This lasted for twenty two months in which time they walked the cattle (owned by Hannaford Pastoral Company at Braidwood) over appox 5500 kms. The cattle were unloaded at Boorowa and walked to Young, Cowra, Harden, Gundagai, Tumut, through the Kosciusko National Park, Youak, Adaminaby, Cooma, Bombala, Delegate, Cathcart, Ando, Berridale, Adaminaby, Youak and walked back through the Kosciusko National Park to Young and eventually trucked back home to Braidwood from Boorowa.
Both Matt & Chrissie have a life long passion for horses and take a special interest in the Australian Stock Horse. They have used horses for both work and pleasure and have never found a horse more versatile. Their main hobby is Campdrafting and they have over the years been building up both mares and sires for their own stud, "Chansit Aust Stock Horse Stud".
They are now home from droving and are ready to compete in Campdrafting, Stock Horse Challenges and other performance events. They are currently taking outside horses for breaking-in and educating.