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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Michael and Honey - Week 13

Day 85: After our trip to the snow I was looking forward to a ride on something a bit safer than 2 pieces of fibreglass stuck to my fee! I took Honey into the arena for a short session to work on side pass and backing up. I find these are 2 things where Honey has found it difficult to relate what she knows on the ground, to what I am asking for from on her back. So I worked on this until she was more confident in what I was asking. After around a 20mins session I took her into the stables for a good groom, as she was looking pretty tatty from her weekend out with the mob. After she had a groom we spent a little time working picking up her back right foot (which she had been a bit funny with). Then I gave her a feed in the stables. She was straight in to her hard feed as usual! But a little hesitant with her hay (not normal for Honey)... I walked past the stable a few times with the wheel barrow and saw her shaking her head and playing around with her mouth, so I stopped a watched her for a bit. A big shake and a flick of the tongue… and a tooth popped out. It was one of her caps, this was my que to give Greg and Nicola from Braidwood Veterinary Surgery a call and arrange for Honey to get her teeth done.

Thought of the day: “It will be interesting to know exactly how old Honey is and if she has any underlying problems I don’t know about”

Day 86: I took Honey into the arena for what I thought was going to be a good trotting session, but Honey was a bit unresponsive and we were having a few arguments. So instead of keeping the argument going, I ended it on a good note and decided to go for a trail (for the first time by ourselves). I walked her out the gate and over the bridge and she stopped, planted her feet and lost all forward momentum. She was a bit unsure of walking out by herself to start and wanted to turn back to go back over the bridge. After a little reassurance and encouragement, we were off. We walked all over the property and along the Kings Highway road side. She was very alert but was enjoying it. We continued through the property and zig zagged around trees and bushes- to keep her thinking. I also worked on the speed of her paces and her stop. There’s nothing worse than a horse that doesn’t want to stop or speeds up on the way home from a trail! We rode all the way back to the stables and unmounted at the doors. I was impressed with how she coped with everything and put her in the stable for the night, with some neighbouring stable buddies.

Thought of the day: “This little mare grows in confidence every day. She is getting bigger and stronger and I think it’s about time we did some work on her canter.”

Day 87: As Honey was one of the finer Brumby’s in the competition, I wanted her to build up her muscles to better carry my weight before I started cantering her. I’ve been holding back in every session to canter Honey but the way she has come on physically I think it’s about time. It has also given me time to get in tune with Honey and let me see things like which leg she favours, and getting her to transition smoothly into canter from my voice command, so later I could join it up with a leg aid. I warmed Honey up with walking and trotting, then added canter while in the trot. I have a voice command for walk (“walk on”) trot (“trot up”) and canter (“canter” and a kiss noise). The click click noise is universal to move the feet. So back to the canter, I was hoping to get the leads right from the start. I knew she favoured her left leg so we started the canter on an anti-clockwise circle. To start with she only cantered a few strides and fell back into trot, so I repeated it until I got a good full circle and then I stopped her there. I then worked on the other rein, which wasn’t as fluid but we still got the correct lead both times. My aim for the next session will be to get consistency in the canter.

Thought of the day: “If I am sitting on a horse and I need to repeatedly kick a horse for it to do what I am asking, then I shouldn’t be sitting on the horse”

Day 88: This was a day off for Honey. This little Brumby has a good life!

Day 89: Today was Honeys date with the dentist! The day ahead involved a few different challenges for Honey. First being all 3 stages of float/truck loading, loading/travelling/unloading. The only part of this I get concerned about, like I would with any horse, is if they don’t handle travelling well- because you never know until you do it. She was in the view of the camera the whole time and was very calm. When we got to Braidwood Veterinary Surgery she stood in the yard for 5 mins, then I put her into the crush to prepare her for her dental check-up. After checking her heart rate (which was very relaxed) Greg gave her a sedative and pain killer- which he does with all horses that get their teeth done. There are some people who are for and some against sedating horses to get their teeth done. Honey allows me to stick my hands in her mouth, I do this in case there is ever an emergency where I have to put my hand in her mouth. To get her teeth done I was happy to have her sedated so the whole experience would be more comfortable- which I am all up for. After the head gear went on we got a good look in her mouth and it seems Honey spat her last cap out at me in the stables on Monday. She had 2 loose incisors and some very sharp hooks on her teeth, which were causing ulcers on the inside of her cheeks. Greg uses the latest dentistry equipment which makes it quick, accurate and they do a fantastic job. Greg’s knowledge of horses is second to none and he treats every horse with great care. After the back teeth were done, he removed the head gear and had a fiddle with the 2 front incisors caps. He made the decision to remove them as they would be more irritating left in, than it would be taking them out. After they were out he got a more accurate age by how advanced the incisors under the caps were. Honey is definitely 3 ½ years old. After she came around from the sedation I walked Honey around for a bit then loaded her on the truck. With only a small hesitation she went back on and travelled back home like a pro. Greg and I agreed to give Honey a couple of days off, so I put her back in the big paddock with the mob.

Thoughts of the day: “Yet again this little Brumby amazes me more and more every week”

Day 90,91: These were both days off due to the big visit to the dentist.

Thanks again for reading and following Honeys journey, see you next week! 


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