Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Shyla had her biggest week to date and handled it like the little superstar that she is! On Monday and Tuesday she was ridden by Nina, one of our 10-year-old students who has been enjoying helping me with Shyla for the past several months. They have spent a lot of time together and it was probably Nina 7th or 8th ride on her, and her final opportunity to decide if she wanted to have Shyla as her next pony. After catching, saddling and getting her ready for the lesson herself, then jumping to 95cm in her lesson, swimming her in the river and talking it over we have decided that it is an exciting opportunity for both pony and rider and I am excited that Shyla will be coming back to New Zealand after Equitana!
On Wednesday Shyla travelled 5 hours to Equidays, and had the day off. On Tuesday we practiced our ridden performance in the indoor arena which she coped very well with, on Friday she had a day off although Nina grazed her each day and took her for walks around the grounds. On Saturday she had a ridden practice at 8am, at 2.45pm she was led in front of 2000 people during our wild horse showcase and had lots of strangers patting her through the fence, then at 9pm she represented Australia in the Battle of the Wild Breeds in front of 2000 people during the Saturday night show, Horseplay & Hijinks! As part of this competition we had three riders on three wild horse breeds (me with Shyla the Brumby, Amanda with her American Mustang, and Vicki with Argo her Kaimanawa). We entered the arena carrying the Australian flag in formation with the other horses and it was a huge atmosphere with music and 2000 people clapping and stamping their feet – the whole stadium was shaking, but Shyla was remarkable – I don’t think many of the wild horses we have trained over the years would have been as relaxed. Then we had a series of 6 challenges. Shyla won the Best Sidepass, Best Canter to Halt, jumped to 90cm clear in Best Jump before we retired and almost won the Best Lay Down before Vicki upstaged us and had Argo play dead.
Shyla then had Sunday off, before the 5 hours drive home. A big rest now as she probably knows enough already to be showcased at Equitana, and diff has had enough exposure to be okay with the event environment – so proud of this little Brumby and really wish she was bigger so I could keep her myself!