The Australian Brumby: Free as the Wind
(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
What the Mustang is to the United States, the Brumby is to Australia.
The Brumby is a free-roaming feral horse in The Land Down Under. The word “feral” refers to animals that live in the wild after having been domesticated by humans. The best-known Brumbies are found in the southeast Australian Alps, although herds of them are found in many areas of the country. Most of them roam freely in the Northern Territory in one of the largest herds in Queensland.
Although we would say a group of horses is a “herd,” a group of Brumbies is known as a “mob” or “band.” Brumbies are the descendants of escaped or lost horses, probably dating back to the late1700s. They crossbred with steeds of European settlers, horses from South Africa, Timor Ponies from Indonesia, British ponies and draught (draft) horses, and a large number of Thoroughbreds and Arabians. With all that cross-breeding, today the Brumby just looks like your “average horse,” usually solid colored and stocky.
The first report of an escaped horse in Australia was in 1804. But by the 1840s, it was common knowledge the horses were escaping from settled regions. Perhaps fences were not properly installed, if fences existed at all! Actually, it’s believed that most Australian horses became feral because they were released into the wild and left to fend for themselves. That might have happened when some ranchers abandoned their settlements due to extremely dry conditions and harsh lands, making farming too difficult.
It’s estimated that at least 400,000 horses roam Australia. Wow! That’s a lot of wild horses! Feral horses are considered a moderate pest because they sometimes wander on ranches where they damage vegetation and cause erosion. During drought conditions, they eat the already threatened and limited vegetation and chew the bark off trees. Therefore, trying to manage the large herds has become a complicated issue between ranchers and the government. Unfortunately, being free to run doesn’t offer the best situation for the Brumbies.
Today thousands of Brumbies live in designated national parks in Australia. Sadly over the years, because there were so many wild horses, the government shot thousands until the public outcry convinced agents to use other means to control the herds. Adoption centers have been established. Occasionally the Brumbies are rounded up and domesticated for use as camp drafters, stock horses on farms, trail horses, show horses, Pony Club mounts, and pleasure horses. High-risk youth (children who have gotten into some kind of trouble with the law) benefit by attending training camps where they work with Brumbies, training them to become safe trail horses.
An exciting time for Brumbies is a catch-and-handle event in stockman’s challenge competitions held throughout the year. Riders on horseback must catch a running Brumby within a time limit of a few minutes. Points are awarded for the cowboys’ care and skill in catching the Brumby and their ability to teach them to lead. The most famous event is probably the “Man from Snowy River Challenge” in Corryong, Victoria, because of the popularity of two movies, The Man from Snowy River and The Man from Snowy River II.
Australians are proud of “their” horse breed’s heritage of running wild. Horse enthusiasts work hard to keep the Brumbie bands free. If you had the opportunity to ask a Brumby what he’d like, I’m sure he’d say the same thing: “I love running free as the wind.”
When you think of Brumbies running free across the mountains and plains of Australia, do you wish you could be one of those horses and run wild and free? Well, there is a way that every boy and girl can be “free,” much more than even the Brumbies.
The Bible tells us that every person since the beginning of time has had the ability, and often the desire, to sin. Those sins make us feel ashamed. But when we accept Christ as our Savior, the bad feelings and guilt of doing those wrong things are wiped away, and we can feel free as the wind in our souls. Even after we become Christians, we can mess up, but that’s the time to ask Christ to forgive us. We then can feel free to start living for Him again and trying to please him every day. All it takes is our sincere prayer, admitting the things we’ve done wrong.
Do you want to be free as those Brumbies? Be determined to do right in every situation and pray for forgiveness. God is willing to forgive and set you free again.
PRAYER: Dear God, sometimes I don’t feel free at all when sin nags me and keeps me tied down. Please help me to forsake the sin, so I can feel free as the wind. In Jesus’ name, amen.
SADDLE UP! (What would God have you do now?)
Think of any sin that holds you back from feeling free. Then pray for God to help you rid it from your life. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Take your ride: (Do you know?) The Brumby was adopted as an emblem in 1996 by a rugby union team called the ACT Brumbies from Canberra, Australia.
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 NIRV).
Dallis Parker believes Snow, the Phantom Stallion really does exist. But does she ever get to see him?