This story was the winner in HorseWyse’s Spring 2016 Brumbies True Story Competition. Congratulations Paris and Tequila!
In mid-June of 2014, I was looking for a second pony after a long struggle. A family friend had a little pony who no-one really knew much about at the time. Tequila is a 4 year old 14.1hh Coffin Bay brumby. She is technically a dun, as she has a dorsal stripe, but appears to be more bay. She was newly broken and 2 years old, and had taken the long journey from South Australia to Victoria so I could try her out.
I had several lessons on Tequila before we finally decided to buy her (and she accidentally kicked me on that day too when I was doing up the rug). We took her home and the deed was done.
I don’t really remember the first 6 months of owning her – they went in a blur. And then everything managed to go wrong for the next year and a half. We’d have a good 3 months, and then a bad 2 months, and it felt like we were getting nowhere. She constantly had issues with her teeth (too sharp) and ill-fitting saddles (growing).
From these issues she began pig-rooting, and earlier this year I spent the last 5 minutes of my lesson sitting to her kicking out every time we tried to canter. Fortunately, as of August 2016, we have a perfectly fitted saddle and bridle, and (most of) her naughtiness is going away. As the chiropractor said, “She’s just acting like a teen.”
It hasn’t been all rain clouds though. She is the loveliest mare I’ve ever owned. She will always come up to you, whether you want to catch her, have food, or not. When you’re finished with a ride, she won’t gallop off down the paddock. She’ll stay and curiously follow you around whilst you’re putting things away. My Poppy and Dad have both said that when they’ve done things in the shed, she’s always right behind their shoulders, being nosey.
She is also very comfortable with you sitting on her when she’s lying down. Often, after she finishes rolling, she’ll just lie there, eating grass. Another funny characteristic of hers is chasing things. We used to have a large Parelli ball which she loved chasing, until she got too enthusiastic and managed to burst it. If there’s a cat or dog wandering around her paddock she sticks her ears back and will follow it around until it’s out of reach.
Unbelievably, I have never fallen off Tequila (touch wood!) even through her many tantrums, and the only injury she has caused me was such a silly accident. We were hosing her down after a really good lesson, when she stood on the lead while I was distracted with the hose. She flicked her head up as a natural reaction and got me in my nose – and broke it. It was quite painful, but I do find it funny still, as I had to wear a mould on my nose for a week at school.
I am very lucky for all the support I have been given by my parents, instructors, and others who’ve contributed to getting her to the point she is now. There have been so many times where I have wanted to give up and get an older, more experienced horse, but that would never give me the same satisfaction as the day we took her to her first Pony Club rally in July.
From a newly broken 2-year-old, to a more well behaved 4-year-old who still shares the same amount of experience, she still has a very long journey ahead of her. I cannot wait for the day we leave a gymkhana or show with a handful of ribbons, and all my hard work will have paid off.
If you asked me if when I was younger if I would ever own a brumby, I would have laughed, “They’re too wild.” But Tequila is the loveliest and most curious brumby I have ever met, and I know that reflects all of the other brumbies I have met. They’re such a lovely breed and I hope I get the chance to own more when I’m older.
by Paris Butterworth