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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Mother and daughter step up to the challenge with Brumbies

ABOVE: Asha Loughnan, 12, with the filly she was allocated in the Brumby Challenge.

MOTHER and daughter Carly Loughnan and Asha, 12, took part in the Australian Brumby challenge at Wesburn Park in Gippsland on the weekend.

Showing a deep love and commitment to her task, Asha finished second in a strong field of 19 Brumbies just 120 days out of the wild.

Carly said they decided to enter the event “because Asha really loves working with young horses”.

She said the horses were “pretty wild” when they first got them. “They would run to the other side of the pen, but they came to hand fairly quickly,” she said.

ABOVE: Carly Loughnan and Pirate.

Asha has been riding since she was four, and for one so young she is a keen, confident youngster who is passionate about working with young horses and will spend hours in their company.

She was paired with a filly, two-year-old ABA Dawn, that her mother described as “a good match as they are both enthusiastic, willing and sometimes a bit stubborn”.

The pair placed second in the challenge behind Patrick Purcell and ABA Queen.

Carly’s allotted horse, Pirate, was more of a challenge as he’d been a stallion prior to capture and was at first standoffish and stubborn.

“He learned quickly and gained confidence,” she said.

Run by the Victorian Brumby Association since 2013, the Australian Brumby Challenge demonstrates that Australian Brumbies are capable of being outstanding riding horses.

Trainers are allocated a Brumby through a ballot system. These Brumbies have been caught from the wild by passive trapping, from either Bogong High Plains in Victoria or Kosciuszko National Park or Bago State Forest in NSW.

All Brumbies are brought back to a Brumby Junction sanctuary where they have lived in wild herds since their capture. The stallions have all been gelded, mares allowed time to foal down and raise their foals and all Brumbies have been microchipped, wormed and vaccinated.

Professional and non-professional horse trainers are invited to apply for a competition spot and, if selected, are given a virtually un-handled Brumby to train over 152 days. Progress is posted on the challenge website and Facebook pages leading up to the finals.

There are two streams of competition, yearling in-hand and ridden (for horses four years old and over). The finals include four classes: make over (physical condition), handling and round pen, pattern, obstacles and the free style.

ABOVE: Winner Patrick Purcell and VBA Queen.

The Australian Brumby Alliance was formed in 2008 and its aim is to advocate for sustainable management, to rehome wild horses and for wild horse research.

The first Brumby Festival was held in 2017 as a way to showcase the heritage horses and bring like-minded people together.

It’s the only Brumby-only show in Australia and aims to promote humane management of horses in the wild, rehoming and educating the public on the perils they face in the wild.

It is a very horse-centred, laid-back event that allows anyone to come and have a go without the need for expensive tack and show gear.

The group wants to promote ethical horse training and sustainability.

ABOVE: Brumbies over four years old compete under saddle.

Download results below

Brumby Challenge Results 20220
Download PDF • 108KB

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