The Windsor Park Brumbies

The Windsor Park Brumbies

Windsor Park Estate is a residential acreage estate, which was developed about seven years ago, close to the town of Esk in South East Queensland. A big drawcard for most of the prospective buyers was the wonderful sight of the local brumbies grazing on the open paddocks.

To our knowledge, there were four separate mobs at this time, consisting of four to up to as many as 15 horses in each. According to local knowledge, brumbies have been roaming freely through this area since the 1920s but, unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Due to human interference and ignorance, the brumbies have slowly disappeared before our eyes. It started about four years ago when a group of weekend trailbike riders belligerently shot dead several of these brumbies purely for the fun of it. Most of the survivors retreated into the neighbouring state forest where we eventually lost touch with them. Further development of the area meant the sale of 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) to two landholders, now fully fenced, cutting off our access to the forest.

Of the one mob remaining on the estate, gradually, over the years, they have become more humanized and some brumbies have adopted themselves out to several homes on the estate.

Firstly there’s Marney, a young mare heavily in foal who sought refuge on a resident’s property to give birth to a filly, affectionately known as Kizzy. Marney is now five years old, has a new home on the estate and has been trained to saddle. Kizzy remains with her original owner happily carrying out her daily chore of mowing the lawn.

Monty was a young yearling colt who found himself a new home with two stepbrother geldings. Now he is three years old and is starting to receive some training.

One day, whilst out riding on her Appaloosa gelding, a resident stumbled across a young bachelor left all on his own. It’s hard to believe, but this young fellow, now known as Bounty, literally followed her home and has also been successfully trained to saddle, as you can see from the picture.

Then there’s Smokey. This four-year-old young man is full of mischief and has also been trained to saddle. He is ridden by a nine-year-old boy and is well known throughout the estate for waking up residents at all hours when escaping to visit their mares that are in season.

Until recently, our remaining mob of seven brumbies happily roamed the estate grazing on the vacant properties when the local council passed a resolution to have them removed from the area following a complaint placed by one disgruntled resident. On hearing of this resolution, a few residents banded together to try and reverse this hasty decision with the help of Lyall Sempf from Brumby Watch. Before council could be approached, one resident caught the stallion – aka Blaze – and another rounded up all but one mare and foal. The council is happy for this lone mare and her baby to continue to enjoy their freedom, although it will only be a matter of time before they, too, are captured.

The stallion, Blaze, is shown with young Dally. Sadly, not long after this photo was taken, Dally was captured by the owner of Maresy, gave birth to a colt and had to be destroyed by a vet a few months later after suffering severe malnutrition.

There has always been some debate within our neighbourhood as to whether or not these horses should be caught or left to roam freely, which is ideally how we would prefer to see them. But at least in their new homes, they have a future.

– Ann Pierson – with Jacqui Chambers, Kim Hoare and Leesa Young,
Mt Hallen, Queensland, Australia.

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