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Brumbies of the Barrington Tops
The Barrington Brumbies are said to be some of the best in the country. They are short and
stocky mountain horses that are generally black and bay in coloring.
**Brumbies have roamed the same wild areas for 170 years, escapees like the cattle from
both the AA Co and the Mackays. They were highly valued and Jesse Gregson, the former
Superintendent of the AA Co, remarked in 1907 they were
"more highly esteemed by stockmen than any other horses they can obtain elsewhere.
Small as they are, they can be depended upon for a hard day's work in that rough country."
** J.Gregson, The Australian Agricultural Company 1824-1875, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1907, 105.
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Located near Bulahdelah towards the coast are the Nerong Brumbies. They have been in the
area for more than fifty years and are generally shorter and stockier pony types with strong
bone and their colors being generally bays, chestnuts and duns.
Back in the day locals used to catch them and train them for the local children as they
make excellent kids ponies. More recently very small numbers have been passively
trapped by a contractor, hired by NPWS, to control their numbers.
Hunter Valley Brumby Association
The Singleton Brumbies
The Singleton Army Base was once private farming land and spans 15,000 hectares. The
Brumbies found on the base are said to have been running wild in that area since the
30's and locals say that they are thought to have welsh bloodlines tracing back to the
famous welsh stallion 'Greylight'. Apart from these local legends, very little known about how
they got there or where they came from. We do know that at least one family trained a couple
of Singleton Brumbies back in the 60’s and took them all the way to the Royal Easter Show
in Sydney. The Brumbies found on the base today all appear to be born pinto, but as most
"grey out" as they age, adults usually grey in color often with icy blue eyes and are perfectly
conformed "small horses". They range from 12 to 13hh and are very finely built with
beautiful movement and excellent self carriage.
Public access to the Brumbies is not available due to them being on Defence land but the Brumbies that have been sighted by the Department of Defence are in good health and are not in any danger from Army activities. While they are not currently in any danger, there are some concerns about their existence on the base and potential welfare issues that could arise. With this in mind the Department of Defence implemented a trail passive trapping program in 2014 as part of a Management Plan that aims to remove all of the approximately 200 Brumbies in the coming years. The Hunter Valley Brumby Association is the only stakeholder to receive the Singleton Brumbies at this stage.
Unfortunately the conditions on base have selected for flighty horses that know to run from
the sounds of humans. This fear response makes them unsuitable as children's ponies, and
their small size means they are not able to be ridden by adults, but their stunning looks and
movement gives them potential as carriage horses or in-hand show ponies. Training the
Singleton Brumbies has been a slow and challenging process but once you start to break
through that fear barrier they are sweet, curious and extremely intelligent little horses.