The Hughes family of 4BP Horses, Belarabon Station, Cobar, is taking on a mammoth task with the hopes of changing the conversation around the control of wild horses. Beginning on January 15, Jarrod Hughes, along with his three children, will endeavor to train 70 wild horses in seven days.
While this may seem like a crazy idea to some, Mr Hughes said the training method that he used was like nothing else on earth.
“The training of a horse can be (done) in as little as an hour and 35 minutes, but most horses train in around about three to five hours average,” Mr Hughes said. “Our standard will be a ridden horse without a saddle that you can slide off its bum and walk behind it without the horse moving.
“A horse that's standing rock solid, dead still, approach it, walk around behind it, climb on its back, ride it left, right, reverse it up and slide off its bum.”
A prolonged period of dry times prompted a grazier on the Nullarbor Plains of South Australia to contact Mr Hughes in the hopes that he would be able to help them out with their wild horse problem.
With no rain, the property owners had been forced to cart water for their cattle, but the wild horses were coming in search of water and damaging the troughs. Mr Hughes said getting the situation under control became paramount, and presented the perfect opportunity to highlight there were more ways to fix horse issues than shooting them in the paddock.
After training all 70 horses in seven days, the Hughes family, along with other people that have previously attended their five-day training schools, will ride 10 of the horses 1500 kilometres to Perth as part of a charity ride.
The 70 in seven days event will be raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Service and Breast Cancer Network Australia. All of the horses will be available for sale once the training week has ended, with the 10 being ridden to Perth to be auctioned off. Mr Hughes said the auction would also include any gear that had been donated by various businesses.
“There is a saddle supplier in the wings that we're negotiating with that may offer up a number of saddles which we'll ride in and then they'll be auctioned for the charities at the end,” Mr Hughes said.
“We've got donated helmets that are specially painted. As we go through, if anyone wants to donate or give something towards the end of the tour, that 100 per cent goes straight through, we don't take anything.”
If the Hughes’ are successful in their attempt, they will also be setting a new world record for 70 horses broken in, in seven days. “We realised that was well and truly beyond any expectations anyone would have and that there was no world record for it so we said let's do that,” Mr Hughes said.
Mr Hughes said everything will be conducted in an official manner so that it becomes a standing record. “We've got timekeepers, a Justice of the Peace, and thermometres to record the temperatures and the wind,” he said.
While the Hughes family is more interested in changing the conversation around the control methods of wild horses, Mr Hughes said they decided to set a new world record to draw more attention to their cause.
“Got to add a little bit of spice to it. We'll be responsible for 4.1 horses each, but of course we've only got a limit of seven days to get them under saddle,” he said. “What I want on the last day is to have every trained horse in one pen with all the riders sliding of the horses bums in one video.”
Mr Hughes said the event had drawn the attention of a number of sponsors. “We've had an inquiry from Budweiser to have some kind of input. It seems to be appealing to the extreme people like Red Bull and Monster,” he said.
This is not the first time the Hughes family has done their bit for the wild horse population. Each year, they take 75 per cent of the horses from the Kosciuszko National Park wild horse management program and provide them with a second chance.