It is only recently that I stumbled across my first mob of Brumbies during a road trip through northern New South Wales. Totally unexpected and just awesome. I actually held my breathe for a few seconds. Plenty of kangaroos, emus, echidnas and wombats but I’de never seen Brumbies, Australia’s free-roaming feral horses.
Brumbies are the descendants of escaped or lost horses, dating back in some cases to those belonging to the early European settlers, including the “Capers” from South Africa, Timor ponies from Indonesia, British pony and draught horse breeds, and a significant number of Arabians and Thoroughbreds.
And it’s not because I was horse mad as a child. Never liked them much in fact. I’m vertically challenged you see, and it always seemed a long way to fall.
Brumbies can be trained as stock horses and other saddle horses. They have been romanticised in much of our Australian Bush poetry. Brumby running is reminiscent of Banjo Paterson’s iconic poem, The Man From Snowy River, where expert riders rope the Brumbies and remove them to a new location.
In 1982 a movie of the same name was released starring all the usual suspects. There was a hellava lot of drama about Kirk Douglas playing the lead from memory. I found it more interesting that most of the men in the film were not actors but rather experienced horse riders and breakers.
Bruce Rowland’s soundtrack was quite stirring though I never need to hear it again. Both daughters played in the High School Symphonic Orchestra and played this piece in a competition requiring regular practise at home. One on clarinet and one on wretched drums………Now that was never in the Motherhood Guidebook!
There are currently discussions about culling the Brumbies due to their large numbers and the damage to our Alpine areas (where the movie was filmed).
I’m just so grateful that I had the experience.
A reminder that it’s not the destination, but rather the journey, or as Mae West succinctly put it, “ You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”