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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Michael and Honey - Week 15

Day 99: Day off for Honey as I like to do a ‘day on, day off’.

Day 100: After a long day of work, I got Honey out the paddock at around 5pm to do a session in the arena. Honey was a little confused to start with because 5pm is normally feed time, and here I am putting a saddle on. I wanted to do some canter work, so after a 10-minute warm up of walking and stretching out (using the tyre block), we continued to do some trotting in both directions, focusing on getting her nice and relaxed. Then we moved into canter. She is regularly picking up the correct lead, and her gait seems less rushed through the transition. Honey just needed a bit of time to find her own rhythm. Because the canter is a natural movement for a horse, it is the added weight of the rider she has to get used to, and she had/has to develop her muscles and balance to carry me. The session was going good, and I gave Kristen the opportunity to have another ride on Honey. She took me up on the offer and grabbed her helmet. After a walk and a trot, I asked Kristen to move into a canter. Honey is very sensitive to the person’s seat and body language when being ridden. There was a little confusion to start with, and Honey went into a very fast trot, butafter some advice about really picking energy up in the saddle Honey moved into the canter. After a few circles each way Honey was looking a bit puffed, so we stopped with a dismount from her happy place- the tyre block!

Thought of the day: “Day 100, what a milestone. I have 50 days left with this great little horse…”

Day 101: Day off for Honey. She is only young and too much work now could cause damage to her still growing bones later on in life.

Day 102: Another unscheduled day off as I had to take a trip to Sydney.

Day 103: A very quiet work out today, no riding just a little work on the ground preparing her for some more float loading. The last float loading session she was little nervous about taking the first step down the ramp when going backwards. So I found an incline on the ground about the same gradient as a ramp and did some backing up on there. I know this doesn’t compare to an actual float, but it lets me know if it’s the backing down an incline or the actual float which is bothering her. She was fine with this, so looks like we need to do some more work with the float tomorrow. Afterwards I did some more work with her feet (picking them up, tapping them and using the rasp). Honey is still uncomfortable with her back right leg initially being picked up, so a little more time and work is needed there.

Thought of the day: “I will be getting Honeys feet professionally trimmed very soon”

Day 104: With such an easy day yesterday I wanted to try out the float again. I borrowed the 2 horse angle load float from Nicola across the road, and set it up in the arena. My aim for today was to have Honey load and unload by herself. The better she can load means the less injury to the horse, human, and a human’s relationship with their spouse (we’ve all been there!). I would hate to know how many arguments there have been between humans about how to best get a horse on a float... but I like to do it by letting the horse get comfortable. I do this by just making everything on the float easy and calm. Because of the work with the tyre block, Honey was more than happy to step on to the ramp easier, and with a little encouragement she walked onto the float on her own. I went in after her, and gave her a reassuring pat before asking her to come out again. After 5 or 6 times of doing this I took the lead rope off, and asked her to go in completely by herself by pointing and ‘clicking’ to move her feet. Success! Self-loading horse! Normally, I would leave it there and come back to it another day, but I wanted to carry on for just a little bit and see if she would stand tied upwhile I shut the gate. And I rushed it... Because of the angle set up of the float, Honey felt confined- I needed to spend more time making her comfortable before shutting the gate. The result of this was, Honey freaked out and had a huge pull back which ended up with her at the other end of the arena. The only error with the float loading today was HUMAN error. I went and collected her from the other side of the arena and brought her back to the float and asked her to walk on again. She was a little hesitant but went on and off fine, and after another 4 or 5 goes the float was once again a happy place to be. I stopped there and put her into the stable for a feed and a big apology from me- for rushing her.

Thought of the day: “Don’t rush”

Day 105:  After yesterday’s freak out with the float, and because it was a really nice day today, I took Honey out for a short half an hour trail ride. There has been a wedding here at Mona over the weekend, and there was lots of cars and people around which was great for our training! Nothing strenuous today, just an easy walk out on the farm.

Thought of the day: “Starting to get pretty excited for EQUITANA”

Thanks again for following Honeys journey and I’ll see you next week.



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