With an overpopulation of Australian Brumbies, one man has a potential way to find them new homes: An innovative training approach.
The Snowy Mountain community of Australia faces a very large issue: What to do with the overpopulation of Australian Brumbies. These wild horses run free and are untouched by humans, but over the past few years their population has increased so dramatically that they risk overrunning the land.
Traditionally, Brumbies have been rounded up and trapped, and local groups are allowed to come in and take the horses. Unfortunately, most people pass on the adult horses, taking only the younger horses which are a bit easier to train. The adult horses are often slaughtered.
But Joe Hughes has a method that can change that. Hughes and his daughter, Lauren, are trainers at 4BP Horses. Hughes has been training horses since he was a teenager, and has a revolutionary training method which is practical for use on wild horses. Simply put, Hughes uses no tools, aside from his body, when he starts training. That means no ropes or whips, and no halters.
Instead, Hughes teaches the horse to trust him by using his body language in a style reminiscient of horse whispering. Within about half an hour, an unhandled horse will be ready to follow Hughes around an enclosure without ever having been touched by a rope or halter.
Additionally, instead of just taking Australian Brumby foals, Hughes works with the older horses that other trainers tend to avoid. He’s taken in about 50 Brumbies in the past few months, and many are trained to the point where he’d recommend their use for competition.
This training can help to give the Brumbies valuable careers as riding horses, increasing their chances of finding homes.
Hughes has also taught his children how to train horses using this method. After a motorbike accident left Hughes with injuries and a nine-month recovery time, he focused on teaching his children so they could continue on with the training while he was laid up.
The fact that Hughes can teach this method means that he could incrementally increase the number of people who are able and willing to train adult Brumbies. If Hughes can set up multiple people to train, they could potentially help to reduce the Brumby population, finding these horses good homes where they can serve as riding horses.
While this might not be able to control the Brumby population alone, it would certainly be a big step in the right direction to solving this problem.
Want to own one of the Brumbies trained by 4BP Horses? Be sure to check out their Facebook page; they’ll be auctioning horses off in the future.
All images: 4BP Horses via Facebook
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