Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Weekly Training Updates

Join Damien and VBA Moonshine on their journey !


Week 1     Week 2     week 3     week 4     week 5     week 6     week 7

week 8     week 9     week 10     week 11     week 12     week 13     

week 14    WEEK 15    WEEK 16    week 17     week 18     week 19     

week 20    


It has been a much busier week for Moonshine than the last few have been. With Equitana less than six weeks away there is little time to waste. Next weekend I will be taking Moonshine to the Brumby Festival organised by the VBA. This will be good exposure for him in terms of seeing lots of different horses, floats, stalls, banners, flags etc. all in one place. There are a number of classes that I am entering him in however as this is his first event I will be judging on whether or not I actually compete on how he is handling the atmosphere. I feel like after having a little time to settle and look around he should be ok though. That being said I don’t want to go unprepared for if we do enter some of the classes. One event is the ‘Handy Brumby’ class. This has ten or so obstacles, such as tarps, a jump, dragging a sack, etc. and plenty of other things that we haven’t actually tired. So we’ve been working on these things this week and will continue to do so until the competition for if we do enter.

It has been helpful to have a short term goal to work towards, as the timeframe and scale of Equitana is so large that in a way it’s hard to prepare for. So having a smaller competition with some definite things that need worked on it has helped give me some direction. Other than that we have been working on general schooling. I don’t go into the arena and decide ‘right, this is what I’m working on’. Moonshine very much dictates what we will work on. Almost everything I do is the opposite of what he is doing. If he wants to go fast, I ride slow, if he wants to go slow, I ride fast. If he wants to go left, I go right. If he wants to go right, I go left. It must be understood that I am in no way being argumentative with him. What I am trying to teach him at this moment is how to stay with me, stay focused and to wait for instruction, not to anticipate what is coming next and at the same time anticipate that anything could come next. If for example I ask him to trot, once he trots I leave him alone, when he then decides that he should go left, I’ll pick up on the right rein and wait until he gets soft to it, then I’ll leave him alone again. This teaches him to respond to the aids softly and also just to trot straight until I tell him otherwise. This over time will get him in a state of readiness, to walk, trot, canter, go left, go right, stop, go back, at any time and when he is ready to do any of those things at any given time he will also be in state of collection, which is what we are always working towards.

He is really starting to muscle up now and his winter coat is shedding. I am intrigued to find out what he actually looks like in his summer coat because he appears to be going a lot darker! He’s still a massive sook and will take any opportunity to stand and be petted and cuddled by anyone and everyone. Especially if it gets him out of doing any work!