Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Wild At Heart - Written by VBA Feathers
It has been a long journey to make it here to Bogong Horseback Adventures. It all started many years ago...
I was born wild
many moons ago
on the Bargo plains
where the wild pines grow
row after row
the trees stand tall
where the wild horses
still answer my call
I will take you on a journey
beyond the stable door
across these lands
to where i roamed before
To be continued….
Week One - Clay Baird
We are finally on the way. Over the last months there have been some sleepless nights, some nerves and most of all lots of excited moments and anticipation to get into the Challenge of training a “Wild” Australian Brumby in 150 days.
On my journey across Victoria to Brumby Junction, the winter sun was shining and the wide plains of the central goldfields extended beyond the horizon. I thought of the journey of the Brumbies had taken to arrive at the Victorian Brumby Association. Many of these horses have travelled further than me.
I spent a few days at Brumby Junction, chatting to some of the other trainers and committee members. It became very clear that these people have an unrivaled passion for the Australian brumby and are the front line in saving these majestic animals. It is all done from fundraising and support from key individuals. Who devote their lives to this cause.
It makes me feel like my contribution the the cause (150 days with one horse) is insufficient to save these animals. That we all need to do more to preserve the living heritage in the Australian High Country.
I enjoyed the camaraderie if the other trainers as we all talked about which brumby we would like.
I must admit, i did feel a little disappointed when i first laid eyes on my brumby VBA Feathers.
I had had my heart set on a horse that was a little larger. In the yards next to the lovely coloured horses from Kosciuszko National Park and the broad chested ex-stallions. Feathers was a dark bay mare, that on first impressions looked somewhat ‘a small and weedy beast’’.
Being a mare i assume it has not been long since she weaned her last foal. I assume that is the reason she was a little lighter than the others. It cannot be due to lack of care from the brumby association, as i have never seen a mob of healthier brumbies.
VBA Feathers loaded like a champ, you can see the video of it on my facebook page.
Thanks to the skilled hands of Coleen O’brien, who has loaded countless wild horses in her time, you would be hard pressed to find a better wild horse woman than Coleen.
VBA Feathers traveled better than most domestic horses, at one of our fuel stops a gentleman pulled in behind us to fuel up, and he shared a lovely little account of Feathers trying to eat hay on the freeway, only to have it blown out of her mouth and land on his windscreen. He shared that he had had to drive with his windscreen wipers on to keep the hay off.
I must say that after Feathers arrived at Bogong Horseback Adventures and settled into the yards, i started to notice her unique qualities. She has a very beautiful face and a very kind eye, she is very sweet in her heart. I have also noted that in comparison to some of the other brumbies in this years challenge, she is more on the flighty side of the equation. Some other trainers were able to touch their horses within a day.
Feathers and i finally made contact as the moon rose at the end of our 5th day.
If you can call one whisker brushing past the back of my hand as she let out a loud snort, legs shaking and head and neck extended as long as they will go to reach out and give me a sniff.
But i will take it as contact and we will try again tomorrow.
I had a little epiphany this afternoon.
After 3-4 days of very quiet work and just moving around VBA Feathers and offering a lot of quiet contemplation, we had achieved facing up… on occasions, but mostly VBA feathers gave me her bum and stood there quietly not letting me get too close before she moved off to another part of her yard.
I decided that i would treat her like i would any domestic horse. Within the hour and without breaking a sweat, we achieved first touch.
I am very much looking forward to watching not only her education, but her physical journey too. With the amazing support of Barastoc Horse who have generously supplied all of the horse feed and nutrition advice from their team. I am excited to see her body transformation in such a short time. Barastoc Horse have provided all the nutrition needs for VBA feather, i dare say she will be eating better than me over the next 150 days. And i cannot thank Barastoc enough.
In a few weeks i will collect a brand new two horse straight load float from Cris Floats
They are lightweight and strong, with everything from two horse straight loads to 5 horse angle load bumper pull and goosenecks they have the right float for you.
Natural Equipment, who have an amazing collection of horsemen’s gear and equipment. I buy all of my halters flags and horse gear through Natural Equipment and with over 60 horses, i buy a lot…. https://naturalequipment.com.au/catalog/
And of course my family business Bogong Horseback Adventures for supplying me with a place to live, a passion for horses and the facilities necessary to train a wild brumby.
If you are interested in checking out the brumbies in the wild, we have a number of rides in the 2018-19 pack tour season, that will venture into the heart of brumby country on the bogong high plains. So you had better get along before National Parks remove them all.
You can follow VBA Feathers journey and updates on Instagram
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