Banjo

14.2 hand (expected mature height) chestnut Brumby gelding, born 20th August 2016

“There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around

That the colt from old Regret had got away,

And joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound…”

 

The opening lines of Andrew ‘Banjo’ Patterson’s poem, “The Man From Snowy River” are some of the most well-known, and well loved, pieces of Australian literature. It is a poem that captures the interaction of human and horse and in particular the horse of the High Country like no other piece of writing – a connection that for many people today has been lost…

In early 2018, as demand for our program at Spark of Hope had increased, it became obvious that another horse to help shoulder the workload was necessary. For a number of weeks, Anna considered some of the horses that she knew were available, yet, none of them felt right. In early June, as she read a FB post about the Brumby horse in Australia, it suddenly hit her what the next horse for SoH should be – a brumby…

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Brumby horses – the wild horse of Australia are a controversial topic. They are found in extreme environments from the deserts of central Australia to the snow covered High Plains of the Great Dividing Range. Their ability to adapt to such harsh environments is testament to the hundreds of years of selective breeding – they are a tough, intelligent breed of horse. However, the damage caused by these hard hooved, introduced animals to fragile ecosystems that were created for soft footed marsupials, cannot be ignored. Debate rages as to whether these animals should be culled totally, or their numbers reduced…

Banjo’s story began in the Long Plain region of Kosciuszko National Park. In early July 2016 a number of mares and young horses were captured. Of these horses, some were chosen to be transported to the Victorian Brumby Association’s (VBA) sanctuary outside Ballarat, while the rest were to be sent to knackeries for slaughter. One little chestnut mare, heavily in foal and initially chosen to go onto the knackery truck, kept drafting herself into the VBA yards. As the number of 16640804_1856401574605246_2233907772392046084_nhorses selected to go to VBA was made, it was decided to also keep the little mare. Named “Connie” (because she kept conning her way onto the VBA truck), she came to Victoria and gave birth to a bright chestnut colt in mid-August…

Almost two years later, Anna met Connie’s son and was taken by how calm and inquisitive the little guy was. After some thought she made the decision to buy him and on a cold, wet August day, he arrived at Spark of Hope. Banjo’s story is not one of abuse or neglect. During his short life he has known only the best of care – that humans are gentle and can be trusted. It is our belief that his impact will be more than helping humans – that he will, in a small way not only showcase the Australian brumby but provide a point of connection between life today in the 21st century and life as Banjo Patterson once wrote about…

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