There are wild horses in south Australia (as well as in other areas of the continent) known as brumbies. These hardy horses are adaptable to many environments such as mountains, grasslands, and the outback. Brumbies have a remarkable backstory. In fact, the history surrounding the brumby is just as engaging as the brumbies themselves.
Their history dates back to the late eighteenth century. In 1791, a soldier named James Brumby who settled in Australia was said to have owned a collection of horses. In 1804, when he made the move to Tasmania he left a gathering of horses behind that soon became wild. From then on, they were known by the locals as Brumby’s. These horses began breeding and their numbers started to grow. In short, some people believe that the brumbies originated from the horses that were left behind.
Brumbies are unique individuals. They make up a gathering of many types of horses in South Australia and elsewhere there. For example, there are some brumbies that are part thoroughbred and others that are clearly descendants of Arabians or draft horses. Not surprisingly, many of the ponies are hard to classify. They continue to multiply as foals can be seen trotting alongside their mothers. Furthermore, other breeds are added to the brumby population when tame horses escape from their owners and breed with the brumbies.
Today, brumbies can be seen traveling in ‘mobs’ (groups) in the area of the Australian alps located in the south east. They also move through some of Australia’s national parks and there’s a large population of brumbies in the northern territory. People think of brumbies in various ways. For example, some people see them as part of Australia’s early history and consider them a treasure. Others see brumbies as pests because of the damage horses can do to the environment and the danger they sometimes cause by traveling near roads. They can wear away portions of grassland with their hooves and overgraze in areas where grass is needed for livestock. Due to the large amount of brumbies, herds are culled in an effort to keep the population under control.
Finally, regardless of what people think of brumbies, they are a living part of Australia’s history.