They say; find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. This could not be more accurate for Clear Mountain Fairview’s stud manager Michael Frappell. Michael, or more commonly known as Mick, is grateful that he found that fire in his belly at a very young age and has spent his whole life caring for these amazing animals they call thoroughbreds.
Mick was just a wee little lad in the mid-1980’s, when Rubik cubes, roller skates and Air Jordan’s were all the rage and at the same time, he discovered his love of horses.
Raised on horseback
“Dad and Mum (Bob and Maree Frappell) purchased a race horse and I remember from a young age we would head to the races as our family outing and watch our horse go round,” Mick says.
By the late 80’s, Bob and Maree’s parents dream of trying their hand at breeding became a reality after they purchased a 40 acre property at Clear Mountain, neighbouring Samford, on the outskirts of Brisbane, Queensland.
Two broodmares were soon purchased from a local sale as a start to their livestock numbers and soon after, the Frappell’s stood their first roster of stallions; Alfarqad, Buck’s Pride and Rolling Minstrel.
The family’s love of horses and the industry soon expanded and more broodmares were acquired as well as leasing a further 40 acres of the adjoining property.
Mick lived and breathed horses. Before and after school were spent feeding and caring for the horses on the boutique stud farm and the weekends were no different. In his spare time, he would sneak in a ride on his trusty pony, Sox, flying around the bushland of Clear Mountain. Mick’s love of riding inevitably led to local pony club and educating ‘Off The Track’ thoroughbreds.
Mick’s path to thoroughbred breeding
At 15, Mick attended Grovely TAFE and completed studies in Rural and Agriculture courses to further fine-tune his skills and knowledge. During this period, Mick was fortunate to have spent time with Master Farrier Steve Crosby, where he experienced and acquired life long farrier and blacksmithing skills.
There was no doubt in Mick’s mind (and heart) that thoroughbred breeding was his calling, so he went on to study Equine Science at the University of Queensland (UQ).
By this stage, the family decided to move from hobbyists to professionals which saw the purchase of their next property at Freestone, a stone’s throw from Warwick, Queensland.
With only a few stables, the Freestone property lacked infrastructure for the fast developing stud and building quickly commenced with new fencing and the expansion of paddocks, yards and stables.
The stallion roster was further developed and the clientele base quickly followed, as Mick used his experience and expertise to help clients achieve their livestock goals.
Working in the USA
Mick spent 2001 and 2003 shuttling stallions to the United States America (USA) for Vinery Kentucky and working the Northern Hemisphere breeding seasons where he held a management position.
This experience was invaluable and further laid the foundations for his horsemanship and management skills for the family’s ever-expanding business in Australia.
The Frappell family soon realised their Freestone property was unable to cater for the next stage of growth and subsequently Fairview Thoroughbreds, situated in Greenmount, just 20 minutes west of Toowoomba, Queensland was purchased.
Although a hard decision at the time, in hindsight, the Frappell’s now say, ‘it was inevitable’ for the growth and success of their business.
In 2005 after countless trips of livestock had transpired from Freestone to Greenmount, Clear Mountain Fairview was born.
No sooner were the bags unpacked, the neighbouring property, a touch under 200 acres came on the market and the Frappell’s again invested.
With incredible irrigation, this particular part of the property is home for the hay growing which supplies Clear Mountain Fairview.
Mick and Lisa Frappell at Clear Mountain Fairview thoroughbred stud
In 2006, Mick met Lisa Campbell while she was working at Queensland Racing Ltd as their Communications Officer and the pair married in 2008.
Lisa’s background in the racing industry and her business degree in marketing and public relations completed the family nucleus Clear Mountain Fairview.
Mick was also an active committeeman on the Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association (TBQA) Board for three years and during this time he was a representative in the HMBLGA Group, where he liaised with Government officials and veterinarians on bio-security procedures.
In 2013, Mick made the decision to further diversify his skill set in the thoroughbred industry and successfully obtained his licence to train racehorses in Queensland.
Mick utilised his existing knowledge and horsemanship skills as well as self-teaching the aptitude of training and has since achieved winners at metropolitan level.
There is no school or program to learn how to train racehorses and every horse is different, but a challenge Mick happily accepts.
“I find training extremely rewarding. It’s a thrill to train horses that were bred, born, raised and educated at Clear Mountain Fairview and now race in the stud silks,” Frappell commented.
Mick’s biggest achievement is managing the family owned and operated business that not only sustains supporting his immediate family, but is also able to employ several local full-time employees.
“I am extremely proud of Clear Mountain Fairview and how the thoroughbred stud farm has continued to develop year-after-year. I believe that it is definitely my biggest achievement to date,” Mick says.
Mick’s biggest but littlest fans, son Riley and daughter Brooklyn, are often found doing ‘work experience’ alongside their dad in the stables or buzzing around the stud farm.
Wife Lisa joked; “if I had a mane and tail, I would be at the top of Mick’s list”, but sincerely added; “if I received a dollar for each time a client tells me their appreciation for Mick’s work ethic, enthusiasm, dedication, commitment or his extensive knowledge, I would be one rich lady.”