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The very heart of our McDowells Australian Brumby Challenge is the Brumbies. Our Brumbies are
a part of our Aussie heritage and we are so proud to be able to partner with McDowells and
EQUITANA to show you what they can accomplish!
All the Brumbies who will be undertaking the Australian Brumby Challenge are from from the
Kosciuszko National Park and the Bago State Forest. They were caught as part of ongoing
Brumby Management programs, using a method called ‘Passive trapping’ or ‘Bait trapping’. This is
where the Brumbies are ‘baited’ into a certain area, using mineral licks, molasses or Lucerne hay.
Once they are comfortably eating the baits, the trap yards are constructed and the Brumbies are
given time to acclimatise to them, able to walk in and out without being constrained. At this point, a line is set within the yard, which will automatically trigger the gate when the Brumbies walk in. The result is that generally, whole or most of family groups are caught together and there are no
people around during the first few hours.
The Brumbies are then loaded into livestock transport vehicles and transported to a holding
facility. We pick them up within two or three days, bringing them home to our Brumby Junction
At the Victorian Brumby Associations Brumby Junction Sanctuary, all Brumbies are treated for lice
and worms on arrival. The mares overnight in the holding yards before being turned out into
paddocks the next morning. We need to get the mares out of the yards as soon as possible to
prevent them from losing their unborn foals and doing so whilst they are tired from the trip home
helps by keeping them quiet for their first day of ‘regular fencing’! In our paddocks, they are met by our permanent residents – these are pairs of Brumbies who were aged when caught and we made the decision to keep here for the rest of their lives. They teach our new arrivals about domestic fencing, domestic water sources and life on a regular farm.
Stallions stay in the yards and smaller holding paddocks until they have been gelded. This is done
by acclimating them to our race and crush. Once they are used to the restraint, our vet sedates
and anaesthetises them for their gelding surgery. After the Stallions have been gelded, we turn
them out in bachelor groups as soon as possible – generally within a week or so. They also then
get the chance to get used to living on a farm. As they settle, they will also learn to live in mixed
sex groups like any domestic gelding.
This whole process takes time! Our mares are generally with us for around two years by the time
they are ready for training as after they have and rear their foals, we feel it is important for them to
have some ‘me’ time out in our grassy paddocks, getting strong again. The stallions are generally
with us for around year.
The Brumbies will be between 4 and 10 years of age at the time of the McDowells Australian
Brumby Challenge. All the boys have been gelded and they have been wormed, deloused and are
accustomed to domestic fencing. Other than that, they are still completely wild! You may think that some of these Brumbies are ‘older’, and possibly even ‘untrainable’ but keep in mind that our 2016 McDowells Australian Brumby Challenge Champion overall, VBA Maximus, trained by Rachel
Clarkson was caught from the wild in Kosciuszko as a 9 year old herd stallion with his mares and
foals only a year earlier!
The photos on this page show some of our Wild Brumbies who are currently living with us on our
Sanctuary. We have a ‘pool’ of almost thirty Brumbies who we will choose from for our McDowells
Australian Brumby Challenge in 2020. They are a stunning and varied group and we can’t wait for
you to see them go from Wild to Wonderful with their trainers in 2020!