Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Well, what a week! Mr. Sensitive (Levi) is beginning to trust and is slowly overcoming his fear of the world. I felt like I was spinning wheels this week, finding it really hard to get traction (literally). Levi’s flight instinct is alive and well and while he halters and leads ok, I just can’t hold onto him while he tears off down the paddock from time to time! I’ve gone back to my teacher Mustang Maddy, to better understand how to better understand the issue and while re-watching her many videos, I got to thinking about the importance of the hind quarter yield. Maddy had a particularly sensitive mare who she had ridden at complete liberty in a week, this was only possible because of the hind quarter yield. Instead of engaging his natural flight instinct, I need to teach Levi a new response to the things that trigger that natural instinct, I need him to step under himself and look for me. Likewise I need to recognise and reward this behaviour as soon as I see it. As soon as Levi understands there is an alternative reaction to fear, I’ll have my biggest breakthrough and I’ll be truly confident of his readiness to be ridden. If Levi isn’t at the ridden stage before EQUITANA then I have to be ok with that. This is Levi’s one true shot at domestic life and if I mess this up then I haven’t done what I set out to do and that is to truly make this a partnership.
In saying all that, Levi truly has grown in confidence this week. I can put the saddle cloth on him, touch down both front legs and I am starting to touch down his back legs. I can get him to lift both front legs and hold his near side up in the air for a period of time. I can also walk him out and around the farm, going through the dam and also walking over the tyres. He does still have his little freak out and run off times but he isn’t always doing it and he is really starting to understand that the hind quarter yield can be the answer to all worries.
Levi is proving to be a challenge but I’m invested in helping him become my partner rather than my horse. I’m excited to see him grow and progress.
I would really love to thank all the sponsors of the McDowells Australian Brumby Challenge. People like McDowells Herbal who are helping us support our amazing brumbies along on this journey by nurturing their insides; this can really make our job as trainers a little easier. I’m in love with my Whoa Steady Neddy Hay net and so is Levi. Thanks to additional sponsors Paddock Blade and High Country Horses for supporting this challenge. Its not an easy challenge to organise. It requires years and years of prep for all these horses before progressing to the stage where we could take our horses home with us. Thanks too, to Dynavyte for making a product Levi really loves and that works so well in conjunction with the McDowells products.
Until Next Time,
Briar and VBA Levi xxx