Brumbies are the feral horses of Australia, numbering in their thousands. Those who love them see them as a symbol of the wilderness and freedom of Australia; others see them as a pest that causes damage to the environment as well as eats up resources that are needed for cattle and sheep (humph).
ENVIRONMENT: Mountains and open habitat including grassland, moor and heath
USES: Riding, ranch work, and sometimes they can be wild
HEIGHT: 15.0 to 16.1 hh ( 60 to 65 in)
COLORS: Black, brown, chestnut, dun, gray, and bay
The Brumbies that roam freely today are the descendants of horses that where either lost by, or escaped from, the early European settlers of Australia. The first horses imported into the country were Cape Horses from South Africa. Later, there were shipments of Chilean horses as well as ponies and draft horses from Britain. The occasional Thoroughbred or Arab also joined the “mob” or “band”, as a herd of Brumbies is known. From this mix of bloodlines, the harsh, unforgiving environment and landscape created, through natural selection, the tough, cunning, and wiry little horse that is the Brumby.
Today, Brumbies are found mainly in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Their successful survival has led to conflict with farmers and conservationists since the 1960s. They have been culled, although this has been banned in some states after a gruesome cull when hundreds were shot from helicopters, causing mass panic and injuries as well as death.
After the controversy raised by culling methods, some were offered sanctuary by sympathetic land owners. Others are captured and offered for “adoption”.
Debby Sly: Encyclopedia of Horses. Bath, UK 2008, p. 198