Trapping the Horses
The method of passive trapping first proposed by Arleen Packer to the steering committee was further developed by the other mainstay of Oxley Heritage Horses Max Brennan and Gary Swanson who worked for a year refining the trapping methods with the NPWS. Since this time the NPWS has taken over the role of catching the horses and Max and Arleen have taken over the managing and re homing horses from the Apsley and McLeay gorges which are both parts of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.
Max and yearling Brumbies at 'Bora
To trap the horses, firstly Max and Gary would drive through the park throwing out hay every hundred yards or so. The next day they would return along the trial so see where horses had been eating the feed. Where hoof prints were clear more hay was left. Soon the feeding places were well established. Portable yards were left at the spot, feeding continued until the yards were constructed over several days. Eventually the horses would be regularly feeding within the yards. Then the trap was set. A rat trap attached to a fishing line running through the hay. The feed placed at the back of the yards so all the horses were inside before the trap went off. Hay eaten, fishing line pulled, gate shut, so simple. Usually Max and Gary didn’t see the horses until they were trapped. A few days to humanize the Brumbies, soon they would move from yard to yard with no problems. A four wheel drive truck carried them to a waiting transport and then they were taken to the rehoming properties.
Newly trapped horses in the Guy Fawkes River National Park
Max has given over his property ‘Bora' at Enmore near Uralla and Armidale to rehome the Brumbies from the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. The Brumbies are kept in yards until they are settled enough to move into paddocks. Even in the paddocks they are still regularly fed to keep them quiet. All the horses are halter started and some are saddle broken. They are then rehomed with suitable people and move into the life of a domestic horse.
You are welcome to visit 'Bora' Phone 02 67782172 for appointment.
The Involvement of TAFE Armidale Horse
Arleen in her role as a TAFE teacher began to involve the TAFE horse management students and teachers Jan and Bill Upjohn in handling and halter starting the Brumbies. Many students especially Aboriginal students have learn valuable skills over the past ten years working with untouched and unspoilt Brumbies fresh from the gorges.