' Wild To Wonderful '
Australian Brumby Challenge
Australian Brumby Challenge ©
I have been training Arabians and Anglo-Arabians for Endurance for the past 15 years. It wasn’t always successful. In the early days it often became, ‘Hang on and go fast!’ Over the years I realised that my attitude was the exact opposite to what I should have been doing. Safety became my number one concern, and I focused on starting the horses slower and slower until I realised that slow training equals faster progress. In fact, the absolute best results you can ever get with a horse are by aiming for 1% progress each lesson. Slow is effective.
Our training system is great because it works with all types of horses, it is safe for the horse and rider, and it sets a foundation of calm responsiveness to succeed in every discipline. We now have horses educated with us that are winning international races and horses that are also happily serving at RDA.
Training VBA Alpine Daisy has been a wonderful experience. I always wanted to see what a true ‘wild horse’ would be like. My wish certainly came true; Daisy was absolutely wild beyond what I expected, but not aggressive or mean in any way. She was scared and confused, and very sensitive to everything happening around her. As I worked her, her hyper-sensitivity forced me to really refine my level of pressure and the timing of the release of pressure.
My goal is to show Daisy to her potential. It would be poor training judgement on my behalf to attempt to present a complete horse after five months work. We can only demand from the horse an understanding of the basics and acceptance of the exercises in this limited time frame.
Historically, horse masters have always described the importance of two to six years of slow progressive work to build a horse capable of sustaining a riding career! I quote the former director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Alois Podhajsky;
‘...Even if someone should succeed in training a horse to high school level by the age of eight, this individual occurrence cannot shake the foundations of the classical art of riding if this horse is completely unsound and unusable by the age of ten.’
Thus we developed The System with the same focus in mind, since an unsound horse in my favourite discipline (Endurance) results in immediate disqualification. For the past 20 years, all horses started here have contributed to the evolution of what we now believe is the most effective and yet very safe way to educate horses that go on to a long and fruitful career.
VBA Alpine Daisy had been a wonderful test of The System and has passed her certificate with gold stars. She has now a full repertoire of abilities, from trail riding to basic patterns, yielding off the legs, transitioning with the seat, and has a few tricks up her sleeve to boot.
The Spring grass had zero effect on her behaviour but a lot of effect on her belly. I decided to keep her on a performance based diet of grass hay and KER L.G.I cubes. I genuinely love these cubes as a trainer because of the condition they put on the horses, from wild Brumbies to competition Endurance Arabians. The cubes are quite large compared to traditional pellets, and that is a huge advantage for horses that talk with their mouths full and spill their food all over the ground then step on it.
Unsurprisingly, the low glucose index purpose of the cube is designed to provide steady energy, and all of my horses have never been better. The added benefit is that VBA Alpine Daisy and VBA Sansa have as much energy as they need for our exercise sessions, but never too much and never too little. Since I personally eat exclusively low G.I. foods and understand the benefits of eating this way, this choice of KER’s L.G.I cubes for horses makes so much sense to me.
Having inspiring people to work with and learn from is a blessing for me and for Daisy as well. When one person helps another, everybody wins. Lara Beth and I are planning another Brumby Demonstration prior to EQUITANA. The amount of people who love Brumbies and want to support the cause is inspiring. We love the support and some of our audience and sponsors own Brumbies themselves! A few people who came to watch our recent demonstration asked if Daisy or Sansa were up for sale? These two amazing horses will both be up for sale at the EQUITANA Australian Brumby Challenge auction on Sunday 20th November 2016.
Training these two beautiful Brumbies has been a wonderful experience that we will never forget. We intend to continue to promote the sense of achievement and connection we have established with both Daisy and Sansa. It will be good for our two Brumbies to be put to the test at EQUITANA, and it is also so much fun to share our journey with everyone on all the online platforms. VBA Alpine Daisy and VBA Sansa have almost become internet sensations. We are fascinated by how much publicity and interest is generated by our Brumbies. Overall, this experience has been a tremendous success. Lara and I feel that it is our privilege and purpose to share our hard earned knowledge so that others can enjoy and benefit from the systematic simplicity of The System.