Billabong Ranch Echuca breeds and breaks in a lot of our trail & carriage horses. They are weaned at 6 months, taught to lead & tie & then turned out again. Each time the youngsters come in to be wormed etc. they are again handled. At 18mths, they come in to commence their breaking in. We use a lot of natural horsemanship with them right through their training. They have a lot of time spent mouthing & driving them from the ground, in all manner of situations.
All of our carriage horses are broken to saddle first. They are then introduced slowly to harness. Once the youngsters are broken in & going well independently, they are taken out with the trail rides as an extra. When they are ready they are used as lead horses. The progression into the riding school is slow & can take a number of years, each horse is different. Of course not all of them make it at all. We do not keep our horses indefinitely. We believe, like people, if a horse does not enjoy it’s work, our clients will not receive the best product. Therefore when the horses show signs of getting sick of the work, we spell them. If they do not come back fresh, they are often put up for sale, or offered to people that have requested to buy that horse previously. Many of our trail horses have gone on to Pony Club & competition homes. A lot have gone to homes with owners that needed a confidence builder.