A Rescue Story
Recently we welcomed Poppy to our home. She is a Brumby who was caught and removed from the Kosciuszko National Park under their Rehome a Wild Horse program. We think she is about 2 or 3 years old and she has the most gentle and inquisitive nature.
Our Instgram Reel of her arrival to the farm went a bit viral with 1000’s of views and likes, so we thought we would love to let you know how she is going on her journey with us, so welcome to this blog!
The Rehome a Wild Horse Program is a government program that captures and removes the horses from the National Park and finds homes which meet strict criteria to ensure that the horses have a bright future. There are both supporters and critics of the removal of the Brumbies from the National Park, but regardless of opinion it was important for us to be able to offer a new start for Poppy and save her from an unhappy fate.
Poppy spent a few days in our round yard separated from but able to nuzzle and meet our other horses, including Flicka who is also a Kosciuszko Brumby. After a few days of getting used to her surroundings she was released into the mob and kept in our smaller front paddock with daily human interaction. She has now well and truly found her new horse family with Flicka, Woody, Bullseye and Bruno and they are happily out in our paddocks and regularly bought in so that she continues to grow used to people.
So what does the future hold for her? Poppy is only young, horses live 25 or more years and she will continue to grow for the next 3 years. We will continue over the next few months to have regular contact with her and moving into physical touch and handling, she is still a bit nervous, so it is important to allow her to grow comfortable with us at her own pace. Establishing trust with us is a huge step in her progression. Eventually once she becomes comfortable with us and is happy to be touched and groomed, we will introduce her to a range of objects from buckets, to ropes, to balls and plastic bags. These items are often scary for a horse as they aren’t a natural thing to come across, so by slowly introducing, first by just putting them on the ground for her to walk up to and inspect and then as that no longer bothers her by us picking them up and walking up to her with them, and eventually with things like plastic bags, giving them a wave or rustle, or even letting the wind blow them around it will help her get used to things that she is likely to come across around the farm.
With further touch and interaction we will introduce a halter, which is like a collar that goes on her head and is used to take them for walks or hold them for a vet or farrier to care for them. It’s important that a horse is trained and becomes used to having its feet lifted. Just like people need to trim their toe nails, horses need their hooves trimmed on a regular basis as they won’t be worn down naturally in our paddocks like they were on the rocky ground that she previously called home. Also just like humans she will need to have her teeth checked occasionally (Yes horses have dentists!!) so being able to handle and look in her mouth will be important in maintaining her health.
So will she be ‘broken’? Breaking a horse often brings up images of cowboys jumping on an unhandled horse and holding on until the horse tires and accepts the rider, but that’s not what breaking is. Breaking to saddle, is about training a horse to take a rider, and like all things this will be done at a pace that allows Poppy to be comfortable with the process and does not scare her. She will be assessed the whole time and if it is not for her we will be happy to have her as a companion only. Just like humans love their horses, horses too love their humans and our riding horses love heading out for a trail ride, or jumping obstacles, or in Flicka’s case it’s all about going fast! So watch this space to see Poppy’s journey and find out, just as we will, where it takes her.