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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Michael and Honey - Week 16

Day 106, 107: These were both days off for Honey due to some crazy weather. Very cold, wet and windy! Feels like I’m back in North East England…

Day 108: When saddling Honey today I noticed the saddle I bought especially for her was not fitting so good, now that she has grown and put on some extra muscle. So after doing a bit of a swap around, I wentback to using my old saddle. I started off in the arena with my normal stretching and warming up routine. I think it’s important to have a good warm up before any training session with a horse, even if it’s just walking and trotting back from the paddock that your collecting the horse from, a horse needs to stretch. With my old saddle on I could feel Honey moving more freely so I knew she was more comfortable. With being a young horse I haven’t yet worked on any collecting work, but I have done a lot with her head position. With her moving nice and freely through her body, I wanted to do some stretched out, long and low work today. Since I taught Honey to stand on the tyre block, she tends to drift towards the block when trotting a circle. So the first few trots were a little sideways as she drifted toward block, where she gets to stand and do nothing… I don’t want to get in a fight with her so if she doesn’t want to go the way I ask then I simply go the way she thinks is right, turn her in a tighter circle and add pressure with a constant tap with my outside leg. This is just making the wrong thing a little uncomfortable and the right thing easy and pleasant. Most of the time working with Honey is lots of fun and she has a willing attitude, but some of the time it is like working with a teenager who doesn’t want to get out of there bed in the morning! It only takes a couple of corrections to her direction and she is happy to trot around in the direction I am asking without having any arguments. When the trot is consistent and at a steady pace, I then ask her to lower her head. I have a small video of us trotting some circles with her head nice and low (most of the time) on my Facebook page. This will help with her collection work later on in training. After Kristen had a quick ride to feel how light Honey was being I went out for a trail ride on my own. Obviously as soon as I got over the bridge the weather turns back to cold and windy, good time for a trail ride! We rode up to the Kings Highway and along the road while cars where coming past. She copes with cars very well and they don’t seem to bother her, but wallaby’s jumping out from behind the trees were a bit different. As I was riding further up the trail a wallaby jumped out behind us and Honey got a little fright. She took two or three steps forward and stopped. I couldn’t of ask for a better response at this stage. This is a huge improvement from the ‘hay net spook’ she had at month or so ago, when she spun around so fast my foot came out the stirrup and swung over her back, and I ended up in mounting position... Anyway, we went further up the trail and crossed the creek as if it wasn’t even there, and then returned through the woods back to the stables.

Thought of the day: “Great day”

Day 109: Day off for Honey, she had a fairly big workout yesterday.

Day 110: I left Honey in the paddock today until around 4pm because I had some special visitors come back to see how Honey was getting on. If you have been following Honey’s story, then you should remember Lawry and Elsie. They are two kids who get on very well with this little Brumby. Lawry, the more confident of the two was straight in the arena and helping me with Honeys training. First up I asked Lawry to get honey to follow him in the arena with no lead rope, Being the confident little horseman he is, Honey didn’t find this hard to do (with a little help from me). After walking around, I got Lawry to ask Honey to stand on the tyre block, which she did with no problems. The smile on Lawry’s face was great. Elsie reverts back to being quite shy when she first comes back to see the horses, but it doesn’t take long to get her confidence back with a bit of encouragement. I have to start off with baby steps with Elsie, so I put her at the very end of the 10ft lead rope attached to Honey’s halter, working her way up with some encouragement. Not being very confident in the arena- we moved to the round yard. After a quick re-cap on Honeys liberty work, and making sure her ‘green grass’ excitement was not going to scare either of the kids. I got Elsie to come in the round yard and ask Honey to move around her, with me being the direction and Elsie being the forward motion and stop (using her voice). She caught on very quickly and her confidence grew. So I asked Elsie to lead Honey around the round - which may not sound like a big thing but going from hiding behind her mum in the arena to leading Honey around the round yard by herself, was a HUGE thing for both Honey and Elsie! I always ask the kids to give Honey a pat when she has done the right thing, and by the end of the session it turned to a big hug. Honey got a feed and I put her back in the paddock. Well done Lawry and Elsie for helping me with Honeys education.

Thought of the day: “Like last time the kids visited Honey, between the 3 of them, they leave me speechless and feeling very happy”

Day 111: Lots of green grass and hay for Honey, you guessed it, another day off!

Day 112: Today as I was getting Honey ready to saddle up, I took a step back and looked at how far this little Brumby has come in the 112 days I have had the pleasure of training her. She is an incredible animal and this is by far one of the best things I have ever done. So I decided not to saddle her and just take her for a walk into town with Kristen and the dogs. Why didn’t I saddle her? I’m not too sure, it just felt like today wasn’t her day for being ridden through town on a busy Sunday. So off we went along the road past some sale flags and flapping banners and it didn’t bother her at all.  Motorbikes on the other hand make her a little nervous, so lots of reassurance was needed. Honey went from being very alert to totally relaxed during the walk. As we got into town I could feel Honey getting more anxious, so lots more reassuring that nothing was going to hurt her. We went across the road at the pedestrian crossing and had a good walk around the back of town, before returning across the main street and back home. Honey did a great job, and next time I’ll be riding through town with another horse and rider.

Thought of the day: “I have 38 days to get this fantastic horse ready for her forever home, and because of some future fine tuning I have planned, Honey may get a few days off to get ready”

Thanks again for reading! If you want to meet Honey and can’t get to EQUITANA then feel free to contact me, and we can arrange a meet here at Mona Farm. 


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