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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Michael and Honey - Week 18

Day 113: After a week off Honey was fresh, happy and willing to come out of the paddock to carry on with our training. I had always planned to make the last 4 weeks of Honeys training the time to get things refined. So we worked in the arena today with the objective of getting her freestyle event tweaked. I can’t go into too much detail as it is supposed to be a surprise on the day and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone... Anyway, after half an hour of trying to persuade Honey to stand on her head and juggle three beach balls with her back legs, I decided to end the session with picking her feet up several times. I had some visitors here at Mona Farm in the form of around 200 garden fanatics from the heritage garden society! I had the great idea of meeting and greeting the guests then hiding out in the stable with Honey while they had a look around the gardens. The hiding out didn’t work as there was a steady stream of people coming through the stables for the next hour. I did however get to talk to a lot of people about the Brumby Challenge, and let people know how great these horses are! They were taken back with how Honey coped with all the pats on the head from all the passers-by. She had her head resting over the stable door with a steady crowd of 10 – 15 people thereat a time, while I explained how and why I came to be in the competition. After the buses had gone, I rode Honey in the arena for around 30 mins,focusing on getting her to hold her canter for a few circles before stopping… this wasn’t going quite to plan, and I soon realised Honey needed to be a bit more fit before she could hold it comfortably.

Thought of the day: “time for some hill work with Honey to help with her fitness and muscle development. I can’t push too much, she is a young horse and still growing”

Day 114: Rest day for Honey!

Day 115: I did a short ridden session today as I wasn’t feeling 100%. I took Honey into the arena and did a lot of trotting circles and changing direction. Working only on her fitness can get a bit boring in the arena, for both Honey and myself, so we stood up on the tyre block (big surprise) for a rest, and had a look around for the biggest hill close by. The hill we saw was on Greg and Nicolas property across the road. I finished riding and put Honey back in the paddock so I could go and ask if I could borrow Greg and Nicolas hill tomorrow!

Thought of the day: “The hill is all ours tomorrow!”

Day 116: I got Honey out around 4pm and took her up the road, through a gate at the bottom of Greg and Nic’s property, we walked over a bridge and started our long ascent up the hill. From the bottom of the hill to the first gate Honey was very strong and adamant to go in whichever direction she wanted. After a few circles up the hill we were on a straight line. When we got past the first gate Honey was a little more relaxed. We trotted up the fence line over the back of the property and came back up to the peak of the hill. Honey was very strong in the big open space and was reluctant to fully listen to what I was asking. I was surprised with how Honey was behaving, andI needed to get her brain into the same frame of mind as mine. I need Honey to relax and understand that it doesn’t matter if we are on the property, off the property, in town or in the middle of the arena at Equitana…she still needs to listen to me. So we picked out 5 big rocks and continued to circle them in a trot until she relaxed and softened to how she would usually be in the arena. She got on the same page as me after 10 – 15 mins. we stayed on top of the hill and walked around the cows and calves a bit before we headed back down the hill. Further down the hill, I felt her getting a strong again as we got close to the other horses, and I quickly reminded her about the ‘circles = listen to me’ conversation we had at the top of the hill. After a chat with Nicola who was feeding her horses, we headed back down the road and back to Mona Farm.

Thought of the day: “For Honeys first big ride out I think she handled it very well”

Day 117: No riding for Honey today, but a new experience for both of us this weekend. I am going to my first clinic. I’m not sure if I can call it my first as I have worked with some amazing horsemen in the past. The whole point of this is to see how Honey copes with lots of other horses and people riding. I spent the morning packing up the truck and off we went down the mountain to Moruya Show Grounds, to spend a weekend at a Steve Brady Clinic- organised by Linda Brady and Sue Elliott (amazing people!).

Thought of the day: “I’m not sure what to think yet, see what happens after the clinic”

Day 118: After a night of rain, I woke up to more rain! Without being able to control the weather and being from England, I wasn’t too bothered about the rain and just hoping the clinic was still going ahead. After about 1 hour delay to the day we were off. It started with a ground work session while Steve had a look to see who was best suited to each group for the ridding sessions. Honeys groundwork went very well and she didn’t put a foot wrong, we split into two groups and headed off for lunch. We started off the ridden session the same way that we started off the hill work on Thursday. Honey was bracey and had her own thoughts on the direction we should be going. So after some small disagreements, we got into the swing of things and joined the exercises with the rest of the group. Honey braced when I wanted to go left and there were moments of this throughout the session. There were a lot of great trotting exercises and patterns and I will be doing some of them when I get back home. As the more advanced moves were being done, I decided to take Honey aside and just make her stand at the side and watch. I can’t blame her for being fiddly and agitated on her first outing, so I looked forward to another go on the second day. Honey was a hot topic with quite a few of the other people taking part in the clinic. I think it’s safe to say everyone loved her!

Thought of the day: “well done Honey! …but let’s show them a better Honey tomorrow”

Day 119: I dropped Honey back into the first group on day 2 of the clinic as it wasn’t asking as much of the horses. This helped honey relax more and showed everyone how Honey worked, without the issues we had yesterday. She did everything asked of her and I must say I was very proud of this little Brumby. We have taken some great pointers away from Steve Brady. This man is a great horseman and I would recommend paying him a visit if there is a clinic close by. Honey travelled very well both ways of the journey and I am forever grateful to this little brumby for giving some of the most memorable moments in my life.

Thought of the day: “Thanks Honey”

I apologise in advance for the lack of pictures this week as I was on Honey most the time and I didn’t have time to take any.

Thanks again for reading and not long now until EQUITANA!


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