ARDEN’S A STAR IN BRUMBY BUSINESS
HEATHCOTE’S Arden Lee was crowned Australian youth brumby trainer reserve champion at this year’s Australian Brumby Challenge.
Arden, 11, joined Ivan Hajna, her mother Narelle’s partner, as two members of a 28-person group from across Australia chosen to take in a brumby and train it, or ‘break it in’, over 150 days.
At the end of the 150 days all participants took their brumbies to a presentation at the Melbourne Showgrounds where they were judged over four days.
Arden was given nine-month-old brumby Titanium, while Ivan received seven-year-old Percy.
It’s was a tough gig trying to get the brumbies to settle in at their Heathcote property, but they made small inroads and the horses slowly became comfortable.
“The training was slow. They are a different breed of horse that doesn’t like stress so everything has to be done at a pace with which the horse is comfortable,” she said.
“Arden had to gain the trust of her horse by working with him and not challenging him too much. They learn differently to other breeds so it was all about repetition.
“Ivan’s horse took his time to come around to anyone touching him except Ivan because he is older. Arden’s horse was much more accepting of other people because he was younger.”
The four-day judgement in Mel- bourne consisted of a round pen competition, a pattern test, obstacles and a freestyle where horses were presented to a song the rider chose.
“Arden did the song Titanium for her freestyle but sadly that was the worst part of her event because the horse didn’t like the loud music,” Narelle said.
“She showed great horsemanship handling him when he was difficult but she was disappointed she didn’t get to do her full routine that she put a lot of work into.
“Arden was very pleased overall and we are very proud of her achievement.”
The horses were auctioned at the end of the four-day event and Ivan’s horse achieved the third highest sale price.
“Arden was very sad to leave her horse behind because he became part of the family. But it was a great learning curve for her and she was happy to set him up for a good life with someone else,” Narelle said.
“Ivan was pleased with the third highest sale and happy to know his horse was going to have a pony club life.
“It was a great experience for everyone and good to bring a positive light to Australian brumbies and show they can be used for most horse disciplines.
“There were a range of training methods on display and they all had different strengths and weaknesses and that was really interesting. It was an exhausting but fun experience.”
Arden Lee accepts the youth brumby trainer reserve champion title at the Australian Brumby Challenge with her horse Titanium.