By Nicola Trier, owner of HVBA Astro (and now HVBA Ebony)
In September 2013 I was fortunate enough to adopt Astro (or Assie as he is mainly called) from HVBA. Even though we have only known each other for a short period of time, his trust and confidence towards me has grown rapidly.
When I visited Astro the first few times at HVBA, he was most definitely a wild animal I fell in love with. For me to touch him, without him panicking, was a massive achievement as well as being able to tie him to a tree and give him a gentle brush. I honestly believed that Assie would be a difficult challenge, yet rewarding and exciting for me. However, to my surprise he has not been much of a challenge at all. He seemed to accept and trust me very early on (approximately 6-7 days) and would take everything in his stride. Once the acceptance and trust was established, I was able to work with him for a little while everyday. I would tie him up, brush him and go for walks. Simple things, but the outcome was extraordinary! After just a couple of weeks we could go splashing and swimming in the dam together; I was able to tie him up and give him a firm brush without him moving; wear bright coloured dresses, a hat and sunglasses around him; he would happily follow me on walks without a lead rope and come running up to me in the paddock whenever I would call him. I could not believe (and still cannot believe) how much the simple, continuous training has paid off and continues to pay off.
Assie and I are at the stage in our training, where I try my hardest to desensitise him towards any “scary” objects and noises. I am now able to throw a coat on him; make a lot of noise with a plastic bag tied to a whip and tap him everywhere with it; walk him up the stairs on to our veranda (it’s rather difficult to get him off it now! Oops...); go for walks next to the main road with trucks, cars and motorbikes flying past and I am even able to jump on top of him and sit there for 5-10 minutes with him sniffing my toes and just standing there looking at the surroundings.
I used to have a purebred, medium-level dressage, New Forrest pony and a purebred, imported, sports Friesian back home in Denmark. I loved them both dearly and found it extremely difficult to say goodbye to them when I moved over here. However, after getting to know about Australia’s amazing wild horses and training my own incredible little super man, I would honestly never adopt/buy anything else than brumbies. This may sound like a cliché, but is, however, the truth. Astro is everything and more you could ever wish for in a horse and will be my best friend for life.
By Susan Levin, owner of HVBA Freya
I recently adopted a Brumby through the Hunter Valley Brumby Association and it has been a great experience. From my very first contact, Kath has been continually willing to take the time to speak with me, or email me, and answer any questions with honesty, patience, kindness and enthusiasm. It was lovely to see that they did not take the first person that called but took the time to consider who was going to be a proper match for the Brumby to be adopted. It was a little nerve wracking to know you were being closely assessed to make sure you passed muster as a future home for one of their precious Brumbies but also very comforting knowing that if they did not feel the match was right it would not proceed.
Kath gave me a very thorough background on Freya, the Brumby filly I adopted, with information on her personality, likes, dislikes, quirks, how she came to be with them, etc and she sent me some lovely photos. When I made the trip to Stroud, Kath went out of her way to spend time showing me Freya and what the Association does. She demonstrated where Freya was at with her training, let me spend time brushing and interacting with her and left me plenty of space to just spend some alone time to get to know Freya. Kath has taken a lot of time to set up a lovely facility for the Brumbies. It was agreed that Freya would be allowed to come home with me and I was delighted.
I made the trip back there to collect her three weeks later. During this time Kath very kindly gave her some float loading lessons and arranged for her feet, teeth and worming to be done before her departure. I also was able to keep in regular contact with Kath as to how she was going and Kath’s patience and kindness in keeping me updated was wonderful. The Association provided me with a very informative and helpful information sheet regarding preparing for the arrival of my Brumby. Their paperwork is very professionally presented and on arrival to collect Freya I had a whole pack ready for me with the adoption contract, registration documentation, microchip information and a whole stack of photos that Kath copied onto my memory stick for me. That has been especially lovely to have that photographic record of her journey to keep.
The support from the Association does not stop once you drive out the gate, they are there with you right along the way. I know they are only a phone call or email away should I need any information or advice and they always respond promptly. They also encourage you to keep them updated on how the partnership is progressing and if they haven’t heard from you in the early stages will touch base to make sure all is well. Welcoming Freya into my life through the Hunter Valley Brumby Association has been a terrific and very enjoyable process. Not only have I been lucky enough to now have Freya with me I also have an experienced and sincere support team in the wings keeping us company on this journey.
If you are thinking about adopting a Brumby, I highly recommend you contact the HVBA.
By Helen Ure, owner of HVBA Arany
We adopted Arany from HVBA in May 2012. At the time we had no intention of ever riding her, she would be a friend for my stock horse Meg and enjoy a quiet life in her new forever home.
However, earlier this year we decided to get her saddle trained and Kath recommended Adam Sutton would be the best person to take her to. So with much trepidation, Arany went to Adam to continue her journey. Adam was amazing! During our visits he spent hours with us going over the training with Arany and then came the time to ride her. It was quite an emotional feeling to be actually sitting on her back!!
We brought Arany home nearly four weeks later all grown up and she continues to amaze me with her quiet, sensible attitude. She is never in a hurry and loves to stroll along behind Meg who often has to wait for her to catch up!!
Thanks to Kath and her wonderful team of volunteers, Arany was given a second chance and we thank you so much for the fantastic start you gave her which has made her the cutest little brumby around!!
Hunter Valley Brumby Association