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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Sally and River - Week 1

​ ​It’s been a big week with the ABC finally getting under way.  I’m excited to announce that my balloted brumby is VBA River, a 10 month old black (with lots of bling) gelding from the Bogong High Plains region.  Pick up day went extremely smoothly thanks to the skill and expertise of Dave and Colleen O’Brien of the VBA and River loaded quickly and calmly, travelled like a pro and unloaded calmly when we arrived home.

I’ve spent most of this week letting River settle in and observing him as I’m doing the usual chores … feeding, poo pick-up etc.  He seems to be a sensitive little fellow but fairly confident in himself and not unduly stressed by me coming and going – although he is not at all interested in being touched.

I’ve done a few ‘formal’ training sessions, with the aim of getting River to face up and focus on me.  I feel it is particularly important that he learns to focus on me and respond to what I’m asking, rather than shutting me out or ignoring me then reacting explosively when it all becomes too much.

River is getting more comfortable with me standing quite close to him, and starting to get the hang of targeting the halter in my hand.  I have noticed that he is very nervous of any movement toward his shoulders and ribs so I can see a lot of desensitising in our future!  I end each session with feeding him a chunk of lucerne hay from my hand, and he’s getting quite confident reaching out and even touching my hand when taking the hay.

My strategy at this stage is to teach River to be caught, rather than just getting the halter on by any means necessary.  I’m hoping that by taking as much time as he needs for this important step, it will save time down the track if he can be confident being caught from the first haltering.  Of course if I don’t seem to be making any progress then I shall re-evaluate my plan and come at it from a different direction.

On a funny note, River is a ‘snorter’!!!  When he gets to the edge of his coping zone, River lets out a loud stallion snort – which makes it very easy for me to evaluate when I’m pushing the boundaries of what he’s comfortable with JFor more pics and updates, please follow my Facebook page at ABC 2016 : Sally Adsett-Brown

Go to Sally's week 2

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