A sanctuary in Broadford focused on rescuing wild brumbies targeted by cullers now has more than 30 animals who call the place their home.
Created entirely by volunteer work, the sanctuary is operated by three dedicated women – Bree Naish, Gabriela Black and Josephine Hearnden – who want to protect the animals they say are under attack.
“We started in June this year when we took in our first three brumbies. We were not planning on creating a sanctuary, but it appears that the authorities are determined to cull all our wild horses, so we felt compelled to action,” Ms Naish said.
“We are just three ladies on mission to rescue as many brumbies as we can because we love them, and we are absolutely gutted that the decision has been made to destroy these beautiful horses.
“We are focusing on rescuing wild caught brumbies. The cull is underway, and most brumbies will not be saved.
“We go and collect brumbies ourselves from trap yards up in NSW. We will also be going up to the high country to collect trapped brumbies from up there soon.”
Ms Naish said there was hard work involved in the operation of the sanctuary.
“We have to separate mares from colts and put them in the right paddock, which can be a challenge. There are lots of feed buckets to be prepared and put out in the paddocks,” she said.
“We are trying to spend time with individual brumbies to tame them so we can start working with them. Then there is the behind-the-scenes work of promoting brumbies for rehoming which takes up a lot of time.”
“Some are in good health when they come in, but others have mites and worms that need treatment. The colts need to be gelded and if there are any illnesses, we need to get them treatment which is not easy if the brumby is not yet tame.
“That is why we focus first on taming and get them to eat out of a bucket so that we can worm them and add supplements to their feed to help bring the condition up if they need that.”
Ms Naish said they were currently receiving no funding besides their own money and support from community members who sponsor brumbies or make donations.
“We hope to setup as a charity soon, but we are not organised enough yet. The costs are variable, and we expect costs to rise as we take in more brumbies. We have setup a GoFundMe account and if anyone would like to donate, we would really appreciate it,” she said.
The volunteer said it was frightening how many brumbies were being killed.
“Right now the government is making a concerted effort to remove brumbies from the wild,” she said.
“These brumbies are bound for slaughter if people like us do not take them in. The numbers that will be destroyed is frightening. Its important to save as many as we can because these brumbies are loved by so many people and they are part of Australian history and our pioneer beginning.
“I asked a long-time brumby rescue this question about them being endangered and her reply was this: ‘If we don’t begin positive management that sees all elements and life of our country saved for future generations who hold a connection to our European heritage, then yes they are endangered.’ Her name is Lynette Sutton.
“I would like to add that the Australian brumby is a very smart, strong and hardy horse and they make wonderful riding horses so there is use for them in the domestic world and it would be sad to see them gone.”
Ms Naish said the group was interested in expanding its team of volunteers.
“We would love to have some volunteers who are good with horses, have some knowhow and who can help tame and train. We would even love to have some volunteers just to help with feeding and cleaning up the paddocks a few days a week,” she said.
For more information or to get involved with the sanctuary, contact Bree Naish on firstname.lastname@example.org