Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Week 14

Day 92

So I think Coolabah has forgiven me after the lice and mite treatment I gave him on day 90. I figure it must have irritated him a bit and he related it with me. Today I spent time getting him ready for his first real outing. Lots of brushing and pampering.

Thought of the day

Spring is in the air and all the horses are a little nutty at the moment… I feel a bit the same!

Day 93

Coolabah’s first outing! Kristen and I decided to hook up our beautiful float provided by Imperial Horse Floats and head off to the local Gymkhana at Braidwood showgrounds. Coolabah was a little excited when we first got there. He was calling out to all the horses and was a big ball of energy, just as I expected he would be. There was a lot for him to take in, as well as the bonus of some nice green grass to pick on. We had a walk around the outside of the show ring, introducing ourselves with Coolabah doing the verbal greeting to EVERY horse that walked by. We walked around all the parked cars and kids running around, horses trotting past and the always terrifying Shetland ponies. Coolabah was great, he settled down very quickly and was more interested in the grass than most of the hustle and bustle. When walking past the different events we stopped to watch, and Coolabah did the same- taking in all the new sights and smells. At the end we had a play around in the Stockman’s Challenge Arena. Strange objects, walking over tarps and bridges and through a pool noodle curtain. I hadn’t done any tarp work with Coolabah yet, so it was interesting to see his reaction. He walked up to it, sniffed it, and after a couple of refusals he walked over. He wasn’t too sure what to think of the wooden bridge to start, but after testing it by pawing for a few seconds he felt it was sturdy enough and went over. He stalled at the pool noodles and when he was nearly through I got called out as there was someone waiting to compete…oh well…we can tackle that one another day. I was very happy with Coolabah today, so we loaded back up onto the float and headed home. I opened the top float door for Coolabah on the way home, so he could look at all the scenery in town whilst eating his hay.

Thought of the day: The outing itself was enough for Coolabah to take in without the added pressure of me up on his back, so for today’s outing I was happy just ‘riding from the ground’.

Day 94

I had a short session with Coolabah today and he felt a bit irritated. There is nothing physical to see that would be irritating him, so I put it down to previously being annoyed by the treatment I gave him. I saddled him up which didn’t bother him, but as I went to put my foot in the stirrup he turned his head to me as if to say, “not today Mick”. I went over it in my head a few times and decided I would sit on him, give him a pat and get off. He was a little fidgety but then relaxed into the pat on the neck, then I hopped off and un saddled. I think I’ll give Coolabah the rest of the week to refresh.

Thought of the day: Horsemanship covers everything to do with horses. It’s not just getting a horse out and riding it. It is caring for that animal mentally and physically. If either of these things aren’t right, then something needs to be done (or not done). Horsemanship is everything from cleaning the stables, providing the correct feed, correct equipment, looking at them in the paddock, having their feet and teeth done on time, worming, washing, paddock maintenance and considering herd dynamics.

Horsemanship doesn’t start and finish at the end of a lead rope and it is imperative to understand where the horse is at mentally as well as physically. I cannot talk to horses (I wish I could!) but I can listen.

Day 95, 96, 97

Coolabah had these days off and the free choice of either the round bale or the grass down at the creek.

Day 98

I’ve watched Coolabah from the other side of the fence a lot over the last few days, and I could tell from his constant nickering today that he was ready to come back and learn some more. Kristen did a great job getting all the excess hair out of Coolabahs thick malting coat, and I took him in the yard and saddled him up to ride (after I went through all my ‘pre-flight’ checks of course). I had Coolabah back! …well sluggish Coolabah anyway. I took my time to warm him up and went through the transitions. I always throw something new in the mix so as not to bore him, and today we started working on side pass. He picked it up very quickly to the right but was a little stiff to the left. We worked a little on that and ended with a walk around.

Thought of the day: Ahhh he’s back!

Thanks for reading everyone, still lots planned in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Mick 

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