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' Wild   To   Wonderful '

Australian Brumby Challenge


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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Week 2 


Great weather this week, I am so grateful. Great Brumby (VBA Alpine Daisy); it is great fun and the Victorian Brumby Association did a great job giving us a blank canvas to work with. Is it exciting? Yes. Is it easy? No. Daisy is still very concerned about new sounds and new activities. She’s a country girl in a big city now.

This week’s goals for Daisy were to learn the basic cues. A cue is a signal from the trainer to indicate the action required by the horse. For example; I raise my arm holding the lead rope and the buckle tilts forward. That is the lead forward cue. Daisy is learning to ‘follow the feel of the rope’.

Horses are sensitive by nature and can easily over-react if the pressure is too great. So with Daisy I am careful to apply pressure in small doses and reward every success with immediate release of pressure. It is this principle, pressure/release, that educates horses to the cues.

Clarence from Tangcla photography did a sensational job capturing the atmosphere of our training. Daisy still looks woolly and wild, and I love the photo with my red shirt and my Nungar Knots gear. Having a professional photographer made me feel like a rock star, even though Daisy was the centre of attention.

I am confident in my systematic approach, based on three essential principles. I developed The System with Lara Beth Poynton and will continue to refer to these three principles throughout my updates. (pressure/release is principle number 2)

Colleen O’Brien, founding president of the VBA, suggested feeding Breed N Grow to the Brumbies. By coincidence Breed N Grow and plain grass hay is the staple diet of our twenty Arabian broodmares. My general rule is to keep feeding plans simple.My goals for week 3 are to soften the cues. In The System, every cue taught on the ground translates directly to the cue under saddle. Therefore, another week invested in refining Daisy’s education will pay big dividends further down the track.

Nigel and Daisy - Week 1


​​The wind howled, the rain poured and the wild Brumby leaped out of my float into her new yard. Daisy (VBA Alpine Daisy) churned up so much mud running back and forth, my boots sunk knee deep and I just stood in the rain shaking my head. The hardest part of any journey is taking the first step. She was finally here.

With five months of training time ahead, I will set weekly goals and ask for 1% progress each session. My first goal was to make some kind of contact, physical or emotional. The first few days lived up to the title ‘Brumby challenge’ and I loved watching a true wild horse in action.

Lara Beth Poynton from Equine Development, also doing the challenge with her Brumby Sansa, sat on the fence and suggested I ‘move the horse’s feet’. This is the first principle of our book, The System.

Mid week Daisy started to relax and we moved into the stables just in time for the freezing hail storm and snow, a unique sight on our farm. We had a great session in the stable, moving her feet and then inching in closer until I could pat her and immediately moving away to release the pressure. Daisy is quite sensitive, but good things come in small packages.

She was ravenously hungry by the end of the week. Rob Stanborough from Hastings Produce arranged a nutritionist from KER to come out and plan the Brumbies conditioning. I love and appreciate the support from everyone. Success is never a solo activity; it is always the product of a great team.My goal for next week will be to educate the basic cues, in the following order: Send forward cue, lead forward cue, disengage the hindquarter and stop cue, move the shoulders cue. To teach the cues I will use the second principle, ‘pressure/release’.


Go to Nigel's   Week 2


Go to Nigel and Daisy's Page

Week 2 


Great weather this week, I am so grateful. Great Brumby (VBA Alpine Daisy); it is great fun and the Victorian Brumby Association did a great job giving us a blank canvas to work with. Is it exciting? Yes. Is it easy? No. Daisy is still very concerned about new sounds and new activities. She’s a country girl in a big city now.

This week’s goals for Daisy were to learn the basic cues. A cue is a signal from the trainer to indicate the action required by the horse. For example; I raise my arm holding the lead rope and the buckle tilts forward. That is the lead forward cue. Daisy is learning to ‘follow the feel of the rope’.

Horses are sensitive by nature and can easily over-react if the pressure is too great. So with Daisy I am careful to apply pressure in small doses and reward every success with immediate release of pressure. It is this principle, pressure/release, that educates horses to the cues.

Clarence from Tangcla photography did a sensational job capturing the atmosphere of our training. Daisy still looks woolly and wild, and I love the photo with my red shirt and my Nungar Knots gear. Having a professional photographer made me feel like a rock star, even though Daisy was the centre of attention.

I am confident in my systematic approach, based on three essential principles. I developed The System with Lara Beth Poynton and will continue to refer to these three principles throughout my updates. (pressure/release is principle number 2)

Colleen O’Brien, founding president of the VBA, suggested feeding Breed N Grow to the Brumbies. By coincidence Breed N Grow and plain grass hay is the staple diet of our twenty Arabian broodmares. My general rule is to keep feeding plans simple.My goals for week 3 are to soften the cues. In The System, every cue taught on the ground translates directly to the cue under saddle. Therefore, another week invested in refining Daisy’s education will pay big dividends further down the track.