This story was one of the runners-up in HorseWyse’s Spring 2016 Brumbies True Story Competition.
Never in a million years did I ever expect to own my very own Kosi (Kosciusko) brumby! Like many young girls, I had grown up reading The Silver Brumby books and watching The Man from Snowy River movies. I desperately wanted a pony of my own. I even had names picked out and pictures plastered all over my bedroom walls. The only problem was we lived in the suburbs of Sydney which wasn’t conducive to horse ownership.
As I got older, a few of my friends and I would go riding at various trail riding places, but these days were few and far between. I always hoped that when I grew up I could own enough land to have my own horse.
My brumby journey only began in September last year. One of the girls I work with (Kath Massey) had been telling me about the brumbies. Kath is the President of the Hunter Valley Brumby Association. She invited me to come out and visit the sanctuary. So one weekend, my husband, a couple of the grandkids, and I went out for a look. I was surpised at how small they were and seemed pretty quiet for wild horses.
That was the first time I met Jasper. He was so tiny and shy, and would hang back from the others at the fence. His quiet nature along with his pretty chestnut colour, flaxen mane, tail, and blaze attracted me right away. Such a timid little thing, he had only been captured from Long Plain in the Kosciusko National Park the month before.
After our visit, I decided I would like to learn more about how they tamed the brumbies for rehoming. Kath was kind enough to let me watch and then participate in some handling sessions. Here I was, a 46 year old complete novice, training a wild brumby. After around three sessions, I had the opportunity to work with Jasper. At this stage he had only had one other short training session in the small yard where they worked on touch and putting on the halter. He was such a quiet boy and because he was so small I didn’t feel intimidated. The session went really well as did the next few.
Before long, I decided he was coming home with me. Over the next couple of months I worked on touch, leading, picking up his feet, rope work, and basic float training. After recovering from his gelding, vet check, and a farrier trim, he was ready to come home.
Kath kindly delivered Jasper to our farm and it was like he had always been there. It was a bit manic that day as we had cattle trucks coming and going as well as quad bikes and dogs running about. He took it all in his stride and was happy grazing around the house.
After a week to settle in, he joined his paddock buddy, Lincoln, my husband’s 27 year old stock horse. Jasper must drive him half crazy, always wanting to play, poor old boy. Food is his obsession and he comes running every time he sees me in the hope of a snack. Brumbies are such inquisitive animals and follow you around like a dog; Jasper is no exception. He even followed me into the shed between all the vehicles. I had to tell him to “back up”, which he kindly did. He is also learning to be around other animals, vehicles, and machinery as well as small children. We are hoping we can have him broken in next year. I know brumbies make great kids ponies, and I’m sure Jasper and the grandkids will have many adventures together.
Jasper has grown into a very handsome three year old and has filled out a lot since I first saw him. He is now 13hh, three inches higher than last time he was measured, only two months ago!
My confidence has grown too. It’s hard to believe all of this has happened in such a short time. Jasper and I are continuing our journey together. At the moment we are working in readiness for our first lead class at our local show. This will be something new for us both and we have a long way to go, but I know this smart, funny little guy can do it.
Our bond is growing stronger every day and, most of the time, I’m not sure who is teaching who.
By Joanne Wilson