Australian Brumby Challenge ©
VBA Bago week 20
The final week!
First let me say how far this little horse has come. When I first saw him on pick up day at VBA’s sanctuary he was such a skittish little horse who tried to keep as far away from people as possible, this continued many weeks into the challenge and he was a difficult little horse to win over. Our journey together has had it’s share of ups and downs, because it took me so long to earn Bago’s trust I was very careful not to damage it and risk going backwards but this slowed down my progress. I had to trust that our foundation was strong enough to move forward with challenging tasks and may I say this little horse has flourished! Each time I presented Bago with a task I thought would challenge him he has worked it out in a matter of minutes. While I will not have the chance to show everything that Bago can do and just how awesome he is at Equitana, keep in mind that he and all the other horses competing in the brumby challenge have come and incredibly long way and are being put in a situation that any horse would likely find stressful.
This week my plan was to put a focus on our freestyle, but I made the mistake of trying to tackle it as a whole. Think about it this way, if you where made to go into a classroom and were given a big maths problem to solve that you had never seen before and someone was on your case asking you to work it out with in a required time frame you would likely feel pretty stressed. But, if that person who was on your case became a good teacher, and broke the problem down for you step by step, traveling at your pace you would be more likely to feel you could work it out. This is what I had to do with Bago. I needed to be a good teacher and recognize holes in our training, go back and fix them then revisit the task. I have made more modifications to make sure his freestyle highlights his strengths rather than dwell on his weakness, this does not mean that I forget about his weaknesses altogether, he just doesn’t need to be doing something he finds difficult, in a situation that is mentally and emotionally challenging for both me and him.
I would also like to share that I have decided to keep Bago at the completion of the challenge, my plan upon beginning this journey was always to sell Bago. I had a whole list of reasons that I should do this that I continued to repeat to myself, but as time went on and I developed a bond with him I realized that I wanted to be a part of his future and that I wasn’t ready to part with him. After Equitana Bago will get some well-earned time out in the paddock and then will continue his training and be started to saddle. This is just the start of our journey and I can’t wait to see where we will go and what we will achieve. For all the horses Equitana is just a step in their life, it is not a finishing point and at times I have lost sight of that, but as the brumby challenge finals draw near I am looking more and more to what Bago’s future will hold and it is looking very bright.
Hope to see you at Equitana!