Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Weekly Training Updates

Join Michael and VBA Coolabah on their journey !

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week 20

Week 7

Day 43

Great session with Coolabah today! Each time I work with him, I try and get things a little more refined than they were the previous sessions. I worked on the different parts of his body again and had him moving freely on his feet and light on the lead rope. I started asking for more steps in the side pass (instead of the 1 - 2 steps I have been asking for). To his right he was great but to the left he was a little sticky. I worked on this for a while to get a good side pass and left it at that. The session ended up with Coolabah trying on his first ever rug! I have covered all basics of being rugged over previous sessions, like passing my hand through his back legs (for the leg straps), girthing and passing my hand under belly (belly straps), and have already put a saddle blanket on his back/neck/rump. I have never given him any reason not to trust me, so putting the rug on was no problem at all and he accepted it in true Coolabah fashion.

Thought of the day: Thanks again to Hygain for the rug!

Day 44

I brought Coolabah in to the yard and quickly touched on what we had done yesterday. He was soft in the halter, gave fluid movement and looked to me for direction at all times. As I went over to saddle him, from the corner of my eye I saw a car pull up, it was Lawry, Elsie and Kylie. Now if you followed the last brumby challenge with VBA Honey, you should remember these guys. They visited Honey on quite a few occasions and had to come and check that I was doing a good job with Coolabah. We had a small meet and greet and Lawry, being the more confident of the 2, came in to do a little bit of work with Coolabah. Lawry gave his seal of approval on the work I had been doing so I decided to saddle Coolabah up and (if all was good) have my first ride. Once saddled, I checked all my controls and got on and off a couple of times. He was very happy to have me up there and I knew it was time for his first ride. I started by just asking for a bit of movement from the hips, yielding side to side, lots of pats and scratches. Once he did all this well, and with a nice head carriage, I then asked for forward movement. A couple of clicks and myself in a walking position in the saddle, and we were off. I asked for walk and he gave me walk, I asked for left and right and he gave it to me, I asked for stop and he stopped.  He did it all with a calm demeanour and a great head carriage. Once we had fluid and movement, like most first rides, I quit it there, unsaddled him and let him out for a roam around.

Thought of the day: I always want the first ride to be easy and non-eventful.  I can keep adding more pressure every ride to further his education. First, he needs to learn to carry me and be balanced. Once we can walk and stop, then we can trot, once we can trot then we can canter. It’s simply because I want him to stay balanced and confident, doing all the gaits on the first ride is always messy and uncoordinated. I’m very happy with Coolabahs first ride.

Day 45, 46, 47, 48

Due to the drought we are always sourcing hay and other horse feed. These days where taken up by getting a truck ready and driving down to Victoria for the 1300km round trip to get some beautiful pasture hay. Coolabah has still been in training in a way, we have been pairing him up with different horses to continue his adaption into domestic life. He is becoming less and less assertive and dominant towards the other horses and has gone from ears back and lunging at another horse when first meeting them, to standing quietly and eating hay with them.

Day 49

As usual todays spare time was mainly spent writing this week’s update. Coolabah did get to go for a little walk to meet the other brumbies we have here in the big open paddock at Mick Masons Horses, yet he was more interested in the cows over the road…

Thanks again for reading this update, if anyone has any spare rain they would like to send this way, please do.