Australian Brumby Challenge ©
We are half way through the Australian Brumby Challenge which actually reassures me as Dynamo has learnt so much within the 10 weeks that she has been with me. This hopefully means that she can learn just as much in the next 10 weeks before EQUITANA.
What Dynamo has learnt in the past 10 weeks:
All four feet picked up and held up for any amount of time
Lead at walk and trot
Exposure to other animals and people
Walk over poles
Walk over stationary or moving tarp
Walk over bridge
Been out in the float
Basic lunge training
Big paddock haltering practice
Left and right neck flexion
Turn on the haunches
Turn on the forehand
This week I taught Dynamo left and right neck flexion, turn on the haunches and turn on the forehand. I had difficulty with the neck flexion as she kept wanting to move however she has now picked this up very well. I taught this by having one hand on her wither and the other hand holding her halter, if she moved I would not reward her but follow her until she was stationary. I gently pulled her halter the tiniest bit and then rewarding her, extending the bend each time. Then I built it up to her being able to neck flex very easily and very softly. Teaching neck flexion is very important because it will help Dynamo in the future when she is a ridden horse. When riding English, it is preferred that horses are facing the direction of travel, when this occurs the horse has the ability to “track up”. This is when the hind feet land on the same path as his corresponding front feet path. This allows the horse to turn without becoming unbalanced, leading in or falling out of the shoulder. Turning with stiffness in the horse’s neck and poll shows a lack of flexibility as well as a lack of “suppleness”. This is also taught for safety reasons, for example, if Dynamo was to bolt when she is being ridden, a one-rein stop maybe necessary to stop her. By learning this flexion as well as being able to disengage her hindquarters Dynamo will be able to accept a one-rein stop as her training continues.
I also taught Dynamo to turn on the forehand by very subtly having a bend of the neck away from the direction that I am wanting to have her feet move. I touch her side on her belly behind where the girth is (like you would with your foot when you ride) and I am able to get her to cross her back legs over. I have also taught Dynamo to do a turn on the haunches by having a subtle bend toward the direction I am wanting to have her feet move and my touching her just before the girth (like you would when you would arrive). Next week I am wanting to continue my lunging training.
I also held my fundraiser for the Dolly’s Dream Foundation. This raised awareness for bullying within the school community while raising a large amount of money. I am very thankful for the support of my year 11 peers who all baked and sold items on the day.
Dynamo and I look forward to telling you about our outing on the weekend so if you want to find out more you can follow our journey on instagram by following vba_dynamo or on facebook by liking the page ‘Teagan van Gaans’ and VBA Dynamo.