Australian Brumby Challenge ©
The Last few weeks have been a major success, with the progress coming in thick and fast.
Setting our horse up for the future is number one priority.
The work done in the first weeks building a solid foundation has paid off.
This week we started with a little more confidence being haltered and caught in the round yard, and finished the week with a saddle.
But let’s go back to the start of the week.
The weather here at Spring Spur and Bogong Horseback Adventures has improved, with the wattle in full bloom and the mountains still covered in thick winter snow, It is one of my favorite times of year.
The horses are losing their winter coats and the grass is beginning to recover from the winter freeze.
Jill has come a long way this week. We have gained a really good foundation of movement, front and hind feet. Forwards and backwards, with confidence.
I began to introduce a few basic obstacles, the plastic tarp was no problem, she didn’t even look at it.
The Sea saw was a little more interesting. We have placed a block under one end so it doesn't move at this stage. Jill took her first step up onto the bridge and before long was walking over it with all four feet.
We have attacked the monster dreadlock, which to look back at was immense. The whole length of her tail and twice as thick as my arm.
I am proud to say that Jills tail now will put any other performance horse to shame. After 6 bottles of Organic Care conditioner ( provided by Spring Spur Stay Hosted Accommodation).
And a few days of care it is no more! I had to cut about 30 + cm off the bottom of it to get the release it needed. However, before that she was standing on it every time she tried to back up. To watch her trot off into the big paddock (another milestone this week) with her Tail in the air like an Arab, was pretty cool. I don’t think she meant to have it so high, rather that 5 kg of Bago gravel and sticks that she had collected over the years was now washed clean.
A good friend of mine send me a little message and “lit a fire under my ass” she told me that my appearance wasn't doing the brumby challenge Bogong Horseback or my sponsors any favors. I took a leaf out of Jills book and bore the clippers to my own face.
I wont say i shaved, rather i was sheared.
Jill has been out in the paddock with one of my Bogong Brumbies Poppy. Poppy will be making an appearance at equitana this year thanks to Barastoc, who are one of my wonderful Sponsors.
I also received a great package of gear in the mail from Natural Equipment, another of my Sponsors.
Lee provided me with all the tools i need to start horses, including horsemans flags, Double Diamond Halters, and mecate reins.
I cannot recommend or thank Natural Equipment enough.
At the end of the week i was in the yard with Jill, she had been doing so well over the last weeks, that i thought, ahh ok i’ll just through the saddle on.
I didn’t just through it on and do it up, we worked together making sure she felt confident.
Which she did. I let her carry the saddle for a little while with the stirrups and girth hanging down. I believe that we don’t want to protect the horse from these scary things moving, rather expose them to it and let them express weather or not they can handle it? If not i will do what i need to do to gain that acceptance of it, and move on.
Jill heald it together really well, and didn’t show any signs of being worried. So we took the saddle off and let her go.
The following day after we caught her out of the big paddock, we took a break, as it did take a little while.
We worked on a few more confidence building moves. Before saddling her up.
After getting the saddle and pad to fit. Which is hard as she is just so short in the back.
Jill took to the saddle like a champ. I like to take the girth and lift it up so the horse can feel the pressure on their belly, and let it relax again. Again i love to get a rhythm when i do this.
After they can handle this movement i will often place the cinch through the girth, and lift up on the belly and ask the horse to move forward. If anything was to go wrong at this crucial stage, i could get the saddle off before it became a “big deal” for the horse, re set and go again.
Fortunately that wasn’t necessary. With the girth done up firm, but not tight, it is time to get our horses feet moving again. Jill took a few big deep breaths and let out a sigh. Like she had been saddled a hundred times. Although she did have a little moment when we turned her loose in the yard.
With the halter off she was free to move about the big yard and just carry the saddle with the
stirrups and leather thonging banging about.
I went to go get a coffee and check on the arrival time of a Visitor….
You can see the rest of that session on Facebook and a few photos on Instagram.
My friend arrived to do photo shoot about brumbies for the Herald Sun Jason Edwards, is a fantastic photographer, and one who i have had the pleasure of working with a number of times over the years. We had a great arvo shooting shots for his story and a few personal shots too…
This weeks photo, is courtesy of Jason, although you cannot post it to social media yet so be warned. It needs to be published first. But here is a sneak peak.
I am enjoying the process. And i look forward to getting my bum in the saddle, although i think i need to go on a little diet !
Un-till next week.