VBA Website link

Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Michael and Honey - Week 8

Another slow week here for Honey’s training. We did make some progress, but Honey is still a little ‘sticky’ on a couple of things…

Day 50: We had a short session of ground work today which involved moving her from walk to trot and trot to canter, and then back down the transitions. Honey does all of this confidently, but I like to get a horse transitioning smoothly, and in quick response to my voice commands so that it’s easier for a them to understand what I’m asking for when I’m on their back. My voice commands are; ‘walk on’ for walk, ‘click click’ for trot and a kiss sound for canter. Once the horse knows these commands, I can then easily combine the voice commands with my leg aids for clarity. Walk to trot was easy for Honey, so I worked more on trot to canter- because she was a little bit stuck on this. I’m not just looking for trot to canter transition, it also needs to be smooth and not-rushed. She is getting better at this, and it will all improve with time. If you have been following Honey’s training, then you will know I’m in no rush to get her to certain stages. After around 25 mins, and some smoother and more sustained canters, I quit her there.

Thoughts for the day: “We have been given 150 days to train these horses. That’s a lot of time…. but remember, this isn’t just about riding the horse. This competition is also about introducing the horse to domestic life and conditioning the horse to be mentally and physically fit to ride. A wild Brumby has very little muscle on its back to carry a saddle let alone a human when it comes off the mountains. Condition on a horse is a very important thing… you can’t rush conditioning…it’s physically impossible”.

Day 51: Keeping to the routine with Honey, so she had time out in the paddock today.

Day 52: Honey had a short session as I had to transport some horses today. We just went over everything we did on Monday. I put a bit more pressure on her to move through the trot to canter, focusing a little more on getting her to pick up the correct lead. I didn’t really need to concentrate too much on the lead because 3 out of 5 times, she would pick up the correct lead by herself.

Thought of the day: “Can’t wait to put the ground work into ridden work!”

Day 53: Honey got to lay around in the paddock again.

Day 54: Today I get to turn the ground work into ridden work. Honey was a little sticky at the start with going from walk to trot, and needed some forward encouragement. This came in the form of lots of energy from me and my voice, and a little tap on her rump with my hand while using my voice commands if I got no reaction. We started off with a few strides of trot, which turned into half circles, which then turned into full circles. Once I had her trotting each way, I stopped her there. She is still bracing her head and neck against the pressure now and again. Even though she is very soft on the ground, under saddle she is not quite at the same stage (yet). I’ll keep working on this until I get her to a point where she is not pushing into the pressure at all.

Thought of the day: “I know the softness is there, I’ve just got to find it while on her back.”

Day 55: I had some spare time today so in the afternoon I took Honey off the property and into town to get her used to a more crowded atmosphere. We walked past barking dogs, people mowing their lawn and balloons tied to fences. We walked to the main street of town and had a bit of a look before going back to the farm. She took all this in her stride, no spooks, just different levels of awareness. That was it for today, as I was just mixing up a rest day withsome different things to think about.

Thought of the day: “These wild horses are very brave animals; the scariest thing so farhas been a human.”

Day 56: Today I wanted to first work on Honey’s softness in moving off the pressure from the halter. She was relaxed and flexing nicely,so I saddled her up and went through some turning to loosen her up. She was still having the odd brace, but that improved throughout our session. I just worked on keeping her at a steady pace in walk and trot, and also worked on her stop. Her stop is becoming more responsive to the use of my seat, as is her direction. She moves her hind nicely to my leg aid but her front is coming along a little slower. I feel I have got a good connection to her feet, but there’s a long way to go before she is where I want her to be. I’d say about 93 days away. After a lot of repetition, we called it a day and I let her back out in the paddock for an afternoon of eating grass.

Thought of the day: “Time to hit the trails next week!”

This stage of her training is very repetitive and a little boring, but Honey is coping well and Improving every day.

 Thanks again for reading, see you next week!


Go to Michael's week 7 ... week 9

Go to Michael and Honey's Page