• Jennifer Renouf


I often get asked what has led me to this point in my life and why Brumbies…..

Like most young girls I was a mad horse lover and I loved reading all the Silver Brumby books, I couldn’t get enough of Brumbies, silver ponies ghosting through our Alpine wilderness. However, fate was to keep me from horses until I was an adult with young children. As my trusty steed was aging (a faithful old standard bred), I was searching for a new riding companion. It was then that by chance I saw an advertisement for an open day at the Victorian Brumby Association and a childhood dream was alive again! When I made the decision to 'just go have a look', how was I to know it would be one that would change the course of my life, alter my belief systems and totally stretch me beyond my limits.

It was a typical cold and windy Ballarat day when I visited the Victorian Brumby Association. I stood on the side of the round yard watching a mob of unsure, timid brumbies peering through bushy manes and woolly rumps - I wanted to save them all.

One brumby mare stuck out to me more than the others, this was to be Aurora, with her creamy muzzle, woolly legs and big soft eyes.

It would be a long 3 months before Aurora would be ready to come home. Aurora was in a mob that was to be one of the last the Victorian Brumby Association would take in from ‘brumby runners’ in the Alpine National Park. Unfortunately many of these horses are too emotionally and often physically traumatised to be suitable for rehoming into domestic life. The majority of the Victorian Brumby Associations’ horses now come thru the National Parks passive trapping programs.

Ror’s – as she would affectionately become known, provided me with challenges that would continue to stretch my horsemanship skills for quite awhile, in fact she still does! But building a relationship with a wild horse has an honesty and purity that is rare in domestic bred horses. She stretched me and tested my leadership. Brumbies don’t suffer fools and they tell it how it is, they are brilliant teachers for feel and timing and if you’re not a fair player they will let you know. They expect you to stand up and be a great leader and in return you will receive an open heart and lifelong connection.

There were many times when I was full of self-doubt, thinking ‘what on earth am I doing’! However it has been a very rewarding journey, she is very intelligent, we have a wonderful connection and we have a lot of fun.

When I first brought her home, one of my thoughts was ‘what do I do now?’ While everyone around me at our agistment complex was thinking ‘what have you done, what is this scruffy, skinny looking feral horse doing here!’ Being sensitive to everything, I knew I had to be very careful with how I handled her starting process, so I followed my heart and took each day at a time. I was not prepared to compromise on my principles or values for this special girl. I have also been fortunate to have a fantastic group of friends and mentors with a thorough horsemanship program to make this possible.

Six years on, we have more finesse in our riding, and even have some fun with bareback and bridle less. Like any brumby, my little girl will have a go at anything and a range of disciplines. She is a great ambassador for our Heritage Horses everywhere.

Not only has my little horse come such a long way, but so have I, in terms of confidence, skill and knowledge. These horses are fantastic life coaches! I have learnt some very valuable horsemanship and life lessons in our time together. To stop doing and let go of being so task orientated, just take a breath and accept it takes the time it takes, after all, rushing does not help, I need to be in the moment with my horse. They live in this moment and when I’m with them I need to not be thinking about the next task, the next horse or what else I have planned for the day. My education has also involved a lot of waiting for try’s and really appreciating the effort my horse puts in for me, not falling into the trap of asking again because ‘was that a fluke? Lets try it again just incase…..’ only to have everything fall apart because I wasn’t appreciating what my horse gave me first time round (sound familiar..?)! Therefor with all this in mind our sessions are often shorter than I planned and we spend quite a bit of time together just chilling, which I’m sure all my horses are grateful for.

Now as I continue with Aurora, 3 other brumby mates who have a place in my heart and many young ones on their way to their forever home, I am fulfilling my dreams of giving rescued Brumbies safe and confident homes in which to live, along with helping others to achieve great partnerships with their Brumbies too.

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