Great horsemen share a similar trait—they have phenomenal feel and timing when working with horses. “The only way to improve your feel and timing is through experience,” Clinton explains. “Of course, you add to your knowledge by watching videos and reading training books and articles, but nothing beats hands-on experience. The more horses you can work with, the better you’ll become.”
When Josh made the decision to pursue a professional career as a horse trainer and instructor, he knew two things: he firmly believes in the Method and there’s no better opportunity to get the experience he wanted than by learning from Clinton at the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch.
A Passion Ignited
Although he grew up in a bustling city on the east coast of Australia, Josh didn’t let that stop him from being around horses as a boy. Instead, he relied on friends who were lucky enough to have horses to help him get his horsemanship fix. While Josh actively pursued sports throughout his school years, his passion for horses never waned. At the age of 17, he began competing in gymkhanas and working equitation classes. “It was more for fun than anything else, and I was just happy to be involved with horses,” he says.
The more serious he got about competing, the more he saw the importance of having an all-around well-trained horse. “The Method appealed to me because plain and simple it works. It’s laid out so logically that it is quite literally idiot-proof,” Josh says.
He studied the Method and got solid results with his personal horses, and then began taking in horses for training. The results spoke for themselves, and he started to seriously consider a career as a trainer. The Clinician Academy offered the training and experience he was looking for, so in 2016, Josh participated in the Academy’s Method Ambassador program.
After receiving certification as a Method Ambassador, he went home to Australia, where he spent three months teaching lessons and working with horses. “One of the best aspects about the Method is that it works for everybody. If you follow it, you will get results,” Josh says. “When you can help someone get those results and they’re appreciative of your efforts, it’s a great feeling.”
Never Stop Learning
Shortly after Josh returned to Australia, Clinton contacted him and invited him back to the ranch to continue his education. “I immediately thought to myself, ‘What better way to gain more knowledge and experience with horses?’ Of course, I said yes,” Josh says. “I want to be the best I can be, and I knew how much my horsemanship skills improved already from doing the Method Ambassador program.”
When Josh relayed his decision to head back to America to work at the ranch to his family, they gave him their full support. “My family is great. They’ve completely backed me and have been 100 percent supportive of my decision to become a clinician,” he says.
At the ranch, Josh’s immediate focus was on training Academy Horses. “The horses that come to the ranch can be put into three groups. A third of them are colts that have had no handling and haven’t been ridden. Another third are green-broke horses that have had a small amount of riding and may have been to a trainer to get started under saddle. The last third are problem horses that have been to multiple trainers with no success and are at the ranch as a last resort,” Josh explains. “Every single horse will teach you something different and make you a better horseman. Being at the ranch and working with all of the horses that you have the opportunity to, there’s no way to escape improving your feel and timing.”
While Josh enjoyed working with all of the horses he had the opportunity to, taking on the ones that came to the ranch with longstanding problems taught him the most. “You have to figure out how to get inside those horses’ minds and show them the right answer. When an owner has tried everything they know to help their horse and they come to you as a last resort, there’s some pressure there. When they come to pick their horse up and see how much progress he’s made and they’re thrilled with the results, it’s very rewarding,” Josh says.
Picking up new skills and tidbits of information to apply to his horsemanship down the road were daily occurrences. “If I had to pick the best lesson I’ve learned from Clinton to date, it would be to spend the time that you need in the beginning with a horse’s training,” Josh says. “Make sure the basics are solid. Otherwise, you’ll have to come back later on throughout the horse’s training and spend even more time with the horse to fix all the holes you have.”