Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Tamara Janus and VBA Nugget: Week One
Saturday was very exciting as all the trainers waited to find out which Brumby had been allocated to them. We were first to load up and my initial thoughts on Nugget was that he was very solid in build, not too flighty and loaded rather sensibly.
We began our journey back to Queensland and made it almost to Dubbo before camping overnight in Guerie at the showgrounds. I was a little apprehensive about letting a wild brumby off but the head of the rodeo committee assured me they had secure yards. When we arrived in the dark we were met with clean roomy yards and fresh water for Nugget. We woke to frost on everything… including Nugget!! Once again he loaded relatively fuss free & this was his first introduction to a training flag, he showed his curious side when he approached it for a sniff when I was trying to send him on the stock crate.
Nugget made the remainder of the long journey on Sunday and we arrived in Upper Caboolture (QLD) just on dark. Nugget was unloaded into the cattle yards with 3 quiet heifers to keep him company and show him where feed/water was.
So after 2 days in transit we began day 1 on Monday… I spent time just in the yard with him offering my hand which he readily sniffed and bumped. He was obviously tired after the long journey and spent a lot of time sleeping too. He allowed me to sit a few meters from him while he slept on the soft hay which was pretty special for a wild horse. Today I spent probably only a few minutes with him over 2 sessions so that he could relax and adjust.
Day 2 Nugget seemed well rested and ready to engage. I began by touching using the stick/string to get him used to being rubbed all over. He surprised me with his ability to allow new training tools to touch him all over without any negative reactions like striking, biting or kicking. He had every opportunity to leave to the other side of the yard but chose to stay an engage in the process. So later in the day I returned and began haltering preparation. Using a Lariat I rubbed him all over with first to desensitize him then gently looped over his head. Once he knew to yield to this pressure of the neck rope I moved on to putting the rope halter on. From here he had already accepted so much so I just wanted to hang out with him. I chose to brush and plait his mane as undemanding time where he became more accustomed to my presence close to him.
Day 3 We had a visitor! My friend Callie met Nugget today and he readily accepted feed out of her hand. Getting any unhandled horse used to more than one person is important so they don’t become dependant on me as a trainer. Then halter back on and leading training, we even ventured out into the big arena. After leading we worked on hindquarter disengaging and touching legs in preparation for the farrier coming when he is ready.
Day 4 Today we ventured out of the arena and checked out some of the obstacles! Nugget is very quickly growing on me. He has a sensible temperament and even though he has a few “do I really have to” moments, he quickly settles and gives really a really good try. We worked on desensitizing using the stick & string and the flag.
Day 5 More picking up hooves today and I am very happy to say he picks up all 4 and even got to pick them all out. We will be arranging the farrier in the next week to come give him a barefoot trim. We finished our session with getting him desensitized to me jumping up and down next to him in preparation for mounting etc in the future.
Day 6 Well what a day today was…. Haltered like any of my educated horses and led straight out into the big arena. Today my aim was just to get him accepting me above him and maybe some weight over his wither. In true Nugget form he kept saying “yes…what next?” So we were able to progress all the way to first bareback ride. We mounted and dismounted several times and moved his feet around just disengaging the hind quarters.
If this is how much wild Brumbies are capable of in this short time… I can’t wait to see what we can achieve before EQUITANA 😊
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