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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Steve and Fergus - Week 7

The picture with this update is from two weeks ago. If you look at the picture in the week 1 update, you can see while he has put on some weight, more importantly he’s started to build muscle along his back, his neck is straighter and more filled in to his wither, as well as his rump rounding and increasing with muscle creation.

In another two weeks Fergus will be able to maintain his gait on both reins, at the walk and trot while under saddle both when on circles and straight lines. When he can maintain his trot in a straight line for fifty metres and can travel up and down a slight incline without losing balance or increasing speed, he’ll be ready to start carrying the burden of the rider as well as the saddle.

Fergus is still learning how to use his hind feet to create all movement including halt. Until he understands this without me having to help him, he will not be able to respond to ‘slow down’ signals with the reins, without tucking his nose or raising his head. I feel we are nearly there but only time will tell.

It is important to remember that Fergus weighs around 400kg at a guess. With my weight and the saddle, he’ll have to carry around 110kg which equates to roughly 27% of his own body weight. That’s a lot and it’s over the weakest part of his body from a burden carrying perspective. A horse weighing 600kg carrying the same rider would only be carrying 18% of his body weight!

It’s possible to have been riding Fergus within a few hours of his arrival, but this would only be detrimental to his development mentally, physically and emotionally. Premature riding without correct physical training can easily cause short term or even permanent injury.

Once I get Fergus’s structure right, the ridden part will move along very quickly……fingers crossed!

Go to Steve's week 6 ... week 8

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