Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Where to start!? We have already experienced so much change and learning together. I suppose telling Lark’s story is a good place to begin.
She was captured in 2017 out if the Bago/ Hume area. Her capture was unfortunately a bit more traumatic then necessary with an inexperienced trapping having caught her shortly after VBA Warratah both mares were kept in the yards beyond the safe limit resulting an abortions.
This stress was clearly evident in both mares during the loading day. They were the only 2 brumbies unable to find peace and stand still in their environment. Having spent loading day observing Lark to get a good understanding of her I decided to do nothing more then sit in her yard and read a book for the evening. I really just wanted to give her a chance to check me out without any hustle and bustle. She really didn’t want to move from the corner she put herself in so I started shaping a look at me response. I didn’t want to make it too strong or I would’ve stuffed up her understanding of the loading process. So all I did was look up from my book to her until she would look at me and then I would look away. She took to this like a drowning man to dingy.
This little interaction is what made me decide on the approach I have taken. I have shaped our lessons as much as possible towards giving Lark control and letting her know exactly what I want from her. Being such a bright and clever mare, I feel she currently has a strong dislike for uncertainty so I wanted to clear that up as quick as possible.
I had 2 bonus helping factors. The first is my divine herd of mares who live in the paddock surrounding Lark’s yard. They have been polite and calm about the whole situation and have had a huge bolstering affect on Lark’s confidence. She also gets a carefully selected buddy who lives with her, we change buddies every 2nd day to help with separation anxiety.
The second is that she has been willing to eat lucerne hay from my hand far earlier then expected with has allowed me to do some really positive clicker/ marker training with her.
I’m super happy with how this approach has worked in just 4 working days we’ve gone from quivering in a corner to choosing to walk up and hang out with me in a big yard. I don’t plan to introduce the halter or ropes until Lark is 100% happy with me giving her cuddles and scratches all over as I feel making her feel trapped would really scare her and damage our trust.
I’m really excited about this journey and can’t wait to share it with you all. Please follow us here and on my Black Pearl Horses group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/120659191349415/