Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Week 3 and Wrangler and I are still ready to run off to the circus together, today we accomplished going through the Fourlegs Equestrian Products ‘Cowboy Curtain’ and not only is our forwards cue getting stronger and stronger, so is my love for this little brown brumby… nearly so in love I’ll stop mentioning the whole brown thing.
This week was all about gaining confidence in the saddle. We started by lengthening our stirrups on the baby saddle and by Wednesday we had our first ‘real’ saddle (Wrangler is so small he’s still in a pony saddle). Every time something new happened and we introduced a new factor for Wrangler, the questions stayed the same. Week 1 the first thing we did was move the shoulder, ribs, hinds and walk away and lead, so when we added the saddle what was the first question we asked Wrangler? Walk away and lead, a question he knew he could answer. This process repeated throughout the week going over all the same questions we had done the past 14 days so that Wrangler knew exactly what to expect and never felt like he had to brace himself for a surprise or something he had to use his fight or flight instinct against.
Today (Friday) we lost the saddle and after our circus training I went back to jumping up and lying over Wranglers back, I had found when I would pat the other side he would tense up and not want to move, it was crucial we didn’t encourage Wrangler to lock up and internalise because even though he was still, he would slowly become a ticking time bomb and eventually explode. Using pressure and release, each time Wrangler shifted/adjusted his weight or blinked and engaged in what I was doing I would slide down and give him release. Each time Wrangler would lick and chew he would become increasingly more comfortable and become less locked up.
This week has been an exciting week and resisting the temptation not to jump up and have a sit on my special boy hasn’t been easy, but by sticking to the system and making sure Wrangler is completely prepared for this ridden career will be most rewarding when he is among the quality of brumbies this year at EQUITANA.