Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Well another week down, how crazy. This week started a little slow. I got back from QLD on Sunday night and Monday morning I was coming down with a head cold. So I battled the head cold for a couple of days and Levi had some more time off. Wednesday I got out there with Levi and just did a lot of rubbing him down, getting him to move his hindquarters both from energy and also the pressure of hand where my foot would go. He has gotten so great with that. I can pick up both front feet very confidently which is also another huge step for Levi.
Thursday came and I have had a goal of being able to touch Levi in the paddock so I can prepare to halter him out there instead of having to open the lane ways to herd him from the paddock to the yard. It took Levi about an hour of me just standing in the middle and him not wanting to be caught or touched. I want him to be just as confident the first time I see him as he is after I have reintroduced myself. Once he had realized that I wasn’t doing anything and all I wanted was to be able to pat him he came around really fast and was then following me out in the paddock and actually followed me at liberty to the yard so I could do some more work with him so I didn’t have to do so much exercise hahahaha. That’s what this challenge is about isn’t it. Getting myself as fit as Levi will be.
We did a lot more work of having both hands rubbing either side of him I even gave him a huge hug just to get as much of my body up against him as I could. I like to be super hands on with them before I ever ride them. I want them to be comfortable with me touching every where as much as I can because once I’m on his back ill be touching him in many, many places that he will think are uncomfortable. So his confidence has grown in that regards. After doing some cuddling sessions I wanted to test our liberty and thought I would take him for a walk down over the tires. He could have left at any moment but he stayed with me the whole time just happy to be with me and follow me.
Friday was a huge day for Mr Levi. I started out with some more leaning on him both hands over each side getting him comfortable seeing me out of each eye and he handled that like an absolute champion, not a care in the world. So I progressed to my crazy jumping around dancing technique. I’m preparing him to eventually let me jump on him from the ground and for a new horse, me jumping around like a crazy lady is the most terrifying thing in the world. I love it cause it gets me fit and desensitizes them plus I think if the neighbors watch they may just think I’m loonier then usual. He was defiantly worried to start with but once he realized that the right response was to hind quarter yield to show that he was uncomfortable and worried the quicker he became comfortable with it. I think if he could talk he would be wandering why he got me as his trainer haha. He got so good at this that I was jumping up and down next to him like I would if I was about to mount him.
I then brought out the saddle pad again, this time my western saddle pad because ill be using my western saddle on him to start with so wanted to get him comfortable with me throwing that up and onto him. He was pretty good with this not really minding much at all. So I decided to get out my very old light fender and thought that I would just put it on him and not do it up. But he didn’t really care at all about it. So I put the girth around his belly. He had a little look at it but nothing that a quiet non-reactive horse would do so I lightly did it up and asked for some more hindquarter yield. I did it up some more so that if he did get super scared for whatever reason it wouldn’t end up around his flanks and scar him for the rest of his life. He didn’t really care about that at all. So I took it off and gave him a break. I came back a little later and put the saddle pad on then the saddle did it up all without to much fuss at all. Did it up as tight as I would if I was going to be riding, asked for some more hind quarter yield and then some follow and walk around the yard. Levi was so calm about it all and quickly became so relaxed that I was super, super happy with his very first saddling session. We did his whole first saddling without once having a halter attached to him. In fact I didn’t even have it near the yard so at any time he could have really said this was all too much and went away. I’m so so proud of Levi this week and how far he has become. He still has tense times and reactive times but he is becoming so open to trying new things it’s really quite remarkable. I had been preparing myself to not get to ride him before EQUITANA but now I’m really starting to see a new horse and we may just make it ridden within the 150 days.
I do have a short video up on my facebook page at Briars Brumbies where you can see me explain a little more about my challenges this week and you can see just how calm Levi really is about being saddled up.
Thanks again to all the sponsors McDowells Herbal, Paddock Blade, Whoa Steady Neddy. High Country Horses, Muscles ‘n Motion as well as my own brumby team sponsors Dynavyte.
To see more videos and photos of the every day things Levi gets up to you can follow my Facebook Page at Briars Brumbies or my Instagram at Briars_Horses
Until Next Time,
Briar and VBA Levi xxx