Brian Hampson is the guiding force behind our Desert Brumby Safari, which takes globetrotters into the heart of the Australian desert to meet the horses that call it home. (Did you know central Australia has the largest population of wild horses in the world?!) Brian has a lifetime of knowledge about the desert brumbies and loves nothing more than helping others connect with these incredible creatures. He kindly took the time to answer some questions about his life as a guide, horse trainer and equine scientist.
How long have you been running your brumby experiences? And what was the background, history, reason for starting?
I have been doing these for over 10 years and started while researching the desert brumbies during my PhD. I started by taking foreign veterinarians and students who wanted to know more about feral/wild horses. During my PhD studies I needed to tranquilise brumbies with a dart gun, quickly quieten and gentle them and lead them out of the desert and take them back to UQ for radiographs, CT scans, etc. I learnt a lot about handling unseen and untouched horses from this experience. As I travelled to veterinary conferences throughout Europe, USA and Africa people asked if they could tag along and learn. So I started a formal process of offering the brumby experience and educating at the same time.
How many brumbies do you have at a time, generally speaking?
When we trap brumbies for clinics and safaris, we will usually trap 100 or so over a few days and then I select those I think will make the most trainable. Many of them are too tough and too wild and dangerous to both themselves and the handler, so we let those go back out. I like to take 10 or so back to the station for a group of six clients to give the clients a choice of sex, colour and age when possible.
Describe the desert brumbies in four words:
Tough, adaptable, perceptive, natural.
What is the philosophy or ethos behind your equestrian experiences?
As well as being a horseman I am an equine scientist, with a masters degree in equine physiotherapy and a PhD in veterinary science. I love to gain knowledge and skills and pass them on to others. I love horses and the relationship we can build with them. I am continuously learning and improving my riding and training. I will be with horses as long as I live and will keep learning and teaching until my last days. Developing a strong trusting relationship with a brumby is easy under the right instruction.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the desert and the desert horses. They amaze me, how they survive in such a challenging environment. I love the experience that people get by taking a wild one and becoming its mate.
What is the most challenging part?
The most challenging part of desert brumby safaris is coping with the vastness of the landscape, the distances to cover and the remoteness. These challenges also provide the best experiences.
Why should globetrotters sign up for this ride?
Central Australia is an amazing place to visit. It has the largest population of feral horses in the word. This is the most challenging place in the world for horses to inhabit. There is nowhere else in the world where you can catch a wild desert horse, turn it into your mate and take it home if you wish.
A tip that every globetrotter must know before signing up for this ride:
Be prepared to learn more than you ever expected about horses, the desert, Aboriginal culture and yourself.
Finish this sentence: Don’t leave home without…
An open mind.
What has been the most memorable or significant moment of your guiding career?
Watching my clients tear up when their brumby reaches out and gives their hand its first sniff, first touch and first nuzzle. It still always impacts me, even after experiencing it hundreds of times over the years.
Ready to join Brian on the Desert Brumby Safari? Click here to learn more!
And if you’d like to get a glimpse of Brian’s horsemanship, check out this 6-minute video: Educating Brumbies with Brian Hampson.