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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Michael and Honey - Week 12

Day 78: Today was the last day of the renovations of Mona Farm so today Honey got to stay in the paddock with Sav (thoroughbred) and DC (warmblood schoolmaster) to eat grass, run and jump.

Thought of the day, “This little Brumby can certainly move when she wants to!”

Day 79: Finally, I had some time off to give Honey a bit of attention! I got Honey out in the morning for a short session in the arena. We worked on side pass which was a bit difficult for her to grasp at first, so I took a step back and worked on moving her front and hind away from me, then went back to the side pass. I had to break it down into very small steps, but she got there eventually. Once she had the basics of side pass figured out I decided to do a little more work with float loading, this time with an angle load float. She was a lot more comfortable with the angle load rather than the straight load. I like to get any horse I work with to feel comfortable being in the float and to see it as a nice place to be. She went great, so I stopped there and put her back in the paddock for a break-  as we had another session to do later in the day with a group of 6 guests. In the afternoon 6 guests that were staying at Mona farm for a company team building experience, had organised to see a demonstration of me and Honey working as team. I got Honey back out at 3pm and headed to the round yard for an introduction session about the Brumby Challenge, Honey and myself. Then I went ahead and saddled Honey up and got on, and talked about the training methods I use. I explained that you cannot keep asking and expecting things from someone and not reward the effort. I didn’t mean the boss should go around patting people on the head but a “well done” or “thankyou” goes a long way. I explained that as soon as you don’t reward an effort then that is where bitterness or confusion comes from. Basically I was just explaining how I work as a part of a team with Honey and not as a dictator, which is relatable to human teams as well. The guests would also come up to Honey and pat her while I was on her which hasn’t been done before. She has been very excepting of multiple humans, and this was a good test. After the talk Honey and I went into the arena and did some trotting and pole work. She was looking a bit tired so I finished warming her down and put her back in the paddock for her night time feed.

Thoughts of the day, “I got some very good feedback from the guests and they liked Honey as much as I do…. well nearly as much as I do.”

Day 80: With Honey feeling a bit puffed yesterday I wanted to start concentrating on some more fitness work. So lots of trotting in today’s session. I didn’t really ask much more than just trot. Circles, figure 8’s, over poles. There isn’t much to say about today other than TROT. I did 2 sessions of trotting and I also had the straight load float parked near the stables, so a bit more straight load practice.

Thoughts of the day, “I think it’s nearly time to give Kristen a ride on Honey!”

Day 81: I left Honey out in the big 25-30 acre paddock with Tia, Valentine, Spur and the steers until the afternoon to give her some space. So far Honey is very easy to collect from a big paddock, but every horse has its off day and would rather stay in the paddock. Honey hasn’t had her off day yet, and fingers crossed I can keep the work outside the paddock just as fun as being inside the paddock. I brought her in in the afternoon with no plan or set things I wanted to do. I tied her up in the laneway of the stables and gave her a brush and cleaned her feet. While she was standing there another horse was getting a trim, and wood was being chopped outside the stables. Honey is still a little jumpy now and again, but usually just interested and inquisitive. Most of the busy hustle and bustle in the stables doesn’t faze her. This little Brumby is still very young and has a lot of growing up to do but handles new situations very well. I saddled her up and went for a ride in the arena. We trotted around and had a bit of fun over the poles, not jumping just walking over them and getting her to stop and start and back up. For the next 30 minutes I worked on getting Honey really tuned in to my body position and leg aid, by the end of the 30 mins (most of the time) she was moving left and right just to my body position and reins resting on her neck. This is one thing I have been working towards from the start of our training. We are still nowhere near where I would like to be but further ahead than I thought I would be in some areas of Honeys training. Kristen came to see me at the arena and I tempted her with a ride on Honey. Of course she ran to the stable to get her helmet. Kristen mounted from the mounting block and took Honey for ride. You couldn’t crack the smile from my face as this is exactly how I wanted Honey to be with a new rider. Honey was happy to walk, trot and go over poles with Kristen so after a short 15-minute ride we ended it there. Honey got a feed and went back in the paddock.

Thoughts of the day, “My aim when I first went into the Australian Brumby Challenge was to provide a soft, quiet, confident and happy horse ready for someone to continue in whatever discipline they like. I am forever learning and my passion lies with giving horses a good start to life, without the need to unnecessarily scare them or push them to breaking point. In my eyes trust is the key to unlocking all the things that a horse can already do. After all, the horse isn’t going to do what I’m asking if the horse doesn’t trust what I’m doing. I was talking to a good friend the other day and we were both agreed that the horse already knows how to walk, trot, canter, back up, yield its hind and front, jump, stand still etc. We have just got to find the right/ best way to ask them.”

Day 82 83 84: Honey had these days off because Kristen and I went for a road trip to Honey’s homeland to try out skiing for the first time ever! I know, a bit risky with EQUITANA just over 2 months away. We came back sore, but unbroken!

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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