Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Weekly Training Updates


Join Michael and VBA Coolabah on their journey !


Week 1     week 2     week 3    week 4    week 5     week 6     week 7

week 8     week 9     week 10     week 11     week 12     week 13    

week 14    week 15     week 16     week 17     week 18     week 19     

week 20


Week 4

Day 22 and 23

There’s not really a whole lot to say about these two days because we did the same things that we did on day 21 (i.e. Flexing, shoulders, hinds, feet, haltering, leading, checking teeth, jumping around him, brushing, poles, asking him to move off from stop to walk, walk to trot and back down to walk and stop)- Just to be sure he had understood everything. I did 2 sessions with him on day 22 lasting around 25 mins each time. Day 23 was about a 40min session. By the end I felt everything was just how I’d like it to be and that we’re ready to move on to the next part of training.

Thought of the day: Now that everything we have done is solid, I can be 99% sure Coolabah will look to me for an answer or reassurance when he is confused/anxious/unsure about something new.

Day 24

I was off the property all day today, ‘moooving’ cows.

Day 25

I had the day off today so Coolabah had my attention for most of the day. I started off by getting him a little softer off the feel of the lead rope/halter. I worked first on his softness and response in his head and neck, then through his shoulders, followed by the hind. He has done all of this in his previous training but today was more about the finer tuning. He picked it up very quickly because we spent the time at the beginning to get control of all the different parts of his body (head and neck, shoulders, ribs and hinds). If he knows to move these parts when I ask, then it makes future training for the more advanced moves easy for him. After around 30 mins he was looking a little bit over the repetitiveness, so I decided to take Coolabah out on the stock reserve for a walk. Coolabah is an expert at navigating his way through the bush. I don’t see creek crossings and logs as a challenge or something I can train him to do, but the fact that I am leading him through these obstacles is where the training comes into it. We started the walk going through a creek crossing, up a steep hill and onto the stock reserve. Once in the stock reserve we cut our own track, went over logs, under low branches and met some pretty big kangaroos darting across the track. He handled everything great. We called in to the old sand mine and checked out a few of the small water holes there before heading back home for feed ups. On the way back, he did see some cows which he called out to, then he’d take a few steps, see a new cow, and call out to that one too. This was repeated about 7 or 8 times before he decided the cows where not going to talk back… so we made the final creek crossing before heading home.

Thought of the day: If I had kept working Coolabah in the yard it would only have ended up being an unenjoyable experience for him… and today was no different to how we would train any horse here.

Day 26

Another day off for Coolabah.

Day 27

Today I decided to introduce the saddle pad and girth. Coolabah’s first reaction to the saddle pad that I had in my hand was to put his mouth on it, chew it a little then throw it over his shoulder…So I moved on quickly to rubbing it on his shoulder, then onto his back, and gave him a quick scratch and took it off again. I repeated the process a few times on each side. I then walked him off with the saddle blanket on his back, just making sure he sees it is as a no-fuss normal process, like haltering or picking up his feet. I then introduced the roller. The only new thing here was that I held the girth in position and put a little pressure on with my hand (but not securing it yet). Again, I like to do everything in small steps and put them all together when ready. Normally, I would then put the bareback pad or saddle on in the same session, but I was happy with how he went and decided to save it for another day.

Thought of the day: If all goes to plan I would like to put the saddle on this weekend!

Day 28

I think you might have guessed it… Coolabah had today off. For the few days he’s had off this week, I still ‘hang out’ with him when I get back to the property. I open his paddock gate and let him have a wonder around while I clean stables etc. He has free (supervised) roam of the property at this point, but he still chooses to hang out close to me, checking out what I put in the wheel barrow and following me while I fill up water troughs. I am very happy how Coolabah is progressing and I can’t wait to spend more time with him.

Thanks again for reading!

Mick