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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Steve and Fergus - Week 10

This week has had Fergus dealing with new people handling him. He’s had me doing everything for most of the time so he has come to understand how I do things and has built confidence with me because I am very consistent.

For him to cope in the wider world he must feel safe around people in general. I’ve found that he’s initially quite worried and wants to leave but as soon as they do something he knows; he is then happy to have them around him. There is a fine line between getting him confident with different things and not over doing it and losing his focus. It would be quite easy to have him see me and want to leave.

I have been able to get him to walk and trot with the burden of the rider this week. It is crucial that I teach him to continue to move off under the added strain of the saddle and rider still using his hind feet to create all movement, rather than tensing his poll and using his shoulders to pull himself forward. This is where all negative ridden behaviours stem from. It is far easier to never allow him to move from his front than it is to try and correct the movement once learned.

Fergus was able to straighten from a right hand bend on a slight incline and maintain his gait at both walk and trot while keeping his head and neck neutral by using his right hind to drive his body forward and up the incline. This is an indicator that he will be able to successfully carry a rider without hollowing his back, putting his head in the air or tucking his nose to maintain his forward movement. This is his right canter lead.

This arrow is the direction Fergus is going and x marks the spot where his right hind foot has to truly engaged to get him up the incline. The straight line is a fence. That will help him to engage. You must have control of the horses head for this exercise to work. You don’t hold his head level, but if he tries to raise or lower or tilt his head he runs into the halter. There is no pressure in your hand when the hind feet are doing their job.

For a video of Fergus’s first walk and trot with a rider please visit:


This video is a couple days earlier:



Go to Steve's week 9 ... week 11

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