• Jennifer Renouf

Jack and The Australian Brumby Challenge

I have really enjoyed sharing Jack’s journey on his Facebook page so I’m going to continue adding my thoughts here so everyone can get to know my other gorgeous Brumbies and discover how amazing and sometimes a little fascinating they are to have around!


It’s been a couple of weeks now since Equitana so I though now would be a good time for some reflection, I’m pretty sure both my blood pressure and adrenaline levels have settled back to normal now…. What a phenomenal weekend it was! It would be so easy to hooked on that environment, hanging out with our horses, meeting loads of cool and interesting people and just having fun!Can’t say it wasn’t a roller coaster ride of emotion however, I have never been so nervous waiting for my turn, to total elation when you know it was a good run and the frustration and disappointment of knowing you could have done things a little differently with a better result. We had it all, and that was just me!I couldn’t however be prouder of Jack and how well he managed over the 4 days.. It just proved to me how important and valuable it is to take the time to set up your horses emotional fitness, and not be too over focussed on being task orientated. It seems to me that if the basics are there, with an emotionally fit horse you can help him work through the task but its not so easy once your horse is feeling over faced! Ive been asked: What did I learn from this experience?… a lot!  Have faith in my own skill & believe that I can get the job done.                                        

Even though I felt as though I would die from performance anxiety just as I was about to do my classes I would survive, things didn’t always go to plan but everything always turned out ok – well mostly.Sometimes the best option was just to keep forging ahead and not get bogged down in tasks, horse training is such a good task for developing your lateral thinking!I like to think Jack helped shave off some more of my pointy bits, helping me become rounder in the eyes of my horse. Ive become softer, but a stronger leader… a bit cryptic perhaps? I’ve definitely come away at the end of this year feeling more empathy, tolerance and compassion for the horses I work with.I loved the way the Challenge classes were put together, they very much showcased the stages of horse training and even mirrored our Quantum Savvy Program.  The first class was the Round Pen and Conditioning class, where we led our horses into the round yard, let them go, left then came back, haltered, rubbed them all over and picked up their feet, Lead them out and then onto a horse float. The second day was the Obstacle Challenge, showing our leadership, communication and rapport we had built with our brumbies. Day 3 we did the Pattern Class, which built on the training we had developed from the previous two exercises. Finally wrapping up on the 4th day with our Freestyle showcasing just what we had achieved with our Brumbies in our time together. The Auction closed the 4 days with nearly all the Brumbies going to wonderful new homes. Unfortunately Jack did not sell, and with that I do think generally not enough emphasis is placed on good halter training for young horses. There is so much more to it than just desensitising your horse to the halter and learning coming off pressure. I do wonder how many horse behavioural problems have stemmed from incomplete halter training. I learnt a whole lot about halter training my horses and I look forward to pursuing even more knowledge on the subject.  The Auction component is in no way pleasant, its hard to not be emotional but I guess maybe I need to ‘harden up’ up a bit. And of course the bidders were all heavily vetted by the Victorian Brumby Association. Would I do the Challenge again? Mmm, maybe. A few more years of training horses under my belt will be beneficial and I’ll have a go at the Ridden section. I mean, who would have guessed that having a play around with some horsemanship a few years ago could lead to achieving something so extraordinary!Jack headed  back to the Sanctuary this week for some chill out time while I decide what’s next. Im thinking Jack would be an awesome edition to my QS Brumby Demo Team so stay tuned for future updates.

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