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Australian Brumby Challenge

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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Daniel and Nightingale - Week 1

​Introducing VBA Nightingale AKA Dora! A black 14’3 mare caught in Long plain, Kosciusko National Park, NSW. She was heavily pregnant when caught and foaled VBA Seattle at the association.

I can't believe it has been a week already. Dora travelled like a dream from the VBA to our farm in Woodend. When we unloaded her she ran into her yard, whinnied out to our horses, then put her head straight down to pick the grass! This girl loves her ‘tucker’ and on that first, late afternoon I had quietly disengaged her hind quarters, had her facing to me and eating hay out of my hand.

The following morning I was able to pat Dora on the neck and face and halter her. That afternoon I was teaching her to lead around her yard.   I think its very important that a horse is not worked in their ‘living environment’ so seeing I had her haltered and leading, her work was now to be done in our round yard. So day 2 we worked on lunging, disengaging and de sensitising. 

The next day our work in the round yard progressed leaps and bounds and I had a roller on, then a saddle. I was able to put weight in both sides of the stirrups. Like a lot of horses, her near side was a lot more comfortable for her to process information than her off side, so work needs to be done to make her more confident out of that eye.

The following day was much the same as the day before, except I was able to throw a leg completely over and sit on her.

On Friday we gave her a day off to let all of the training over the last few days settle in, but as snow was forecast I worked on getting her comfortable with having a rug on! As much as our girl has been used to much colder conditions than Woodend, she is now ‘in work’ and in a small yard with minimal shelter so we find it important that she is kept warm and cosy! Now, Dora is loving having her rug on of an afternoon! 

Saturday I saddled her, worked on getting on and off from both sides, then had Bec and her Arabian horse Talieb come in for moral support as we progressed to ‘moving her feet’ while I was on top of her. She really appreciated having a buddy in there ‘showing her the ropes’ and within 10 minutes we were walking and trotting without the lead horse!

Today (Sunday) I did another short and sharp session in the round yard, walking and trotting her around in both directions. 

I couldn't be happier with our Brumby girl. She has exceeded all of my expectations each and every day. I have made sure I given her the right information, at the right stage of her development so that every new thing introduced she could process without fear.

VBA Nightingale is not only beautiful, with a very kind eye, but she is intelligent, willing and gives me 110% every time we work together. Bring on the next 143 days!

I would like to thank my wife Bec who is an amazing horsewoman and has been there every step of the way so far!
Follow our progress on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat via @Stoneman Equine

Go to Daniel's Week 2

Go to Daniel and Nightingale's Page