McIvor Times - - SPORTS - By DAVID RAK

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.

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