Hi, I’m Jason Webb and I run “Australian Horsemanship”, which specialises in starting young horses under saddle and retraining horses with behavioural and ridden problems. Around 200 horses of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds come through our yard in Kent each year, which keeps life wonderfully varied and rather busy for me and my team!
I also run clinics both at our farm and at other centres around the country. The Australian Horsemanship team aims to help riders to develop the partnership they have with their horses, whatever their aspirations or discipline. I also enjoy doing demonstrations at events such as Your Horse Live, South West Equine Fair and ToastLife Festival.
So how did an Aussie farm boy end up training horses in England? I have had a lifelong fascination with horses and as a young boy I learnt training techniques from generations of horsemen in my own family. With a 4000 acre sheep and cattle property in the Snowy Mountains to manage, my siblings and I were usually found trailing behind dad on home-bred thoroughbreds and stock horses, or trying to beat each other in informal “rounding up cattle” competitions! We had an all-round equestrian education including Pony Club, rodeos and eventually playing polocrosse at international level.
In my teens I became increasingly interested in learning about the psychology of the horse and how to develop my techniques with young and “problem” horses. I was lucky to spend time with some incredible horsemen before travelling in Africa and Europe. Whilst in England, I made pocket money out of riding a few horses for people and, when I decided the only girl for me happened to be the boss’s daughter, I decided to try to turn my passion into a career.
I am still amazed that so many people were willing to take a chance on me back then. My methods and the equipment I used were very different to the traditional English ways and I have to admit to a certain scruffiness I have had to work very hard to overcome! Although I describe the majority of my clients as competitive amateurs and leisure riders, I also do work for an increasing number of professionals, including international riders from different disciplines such as Damian Hallam and Hannah Biggs (dressage), Emily Baldwin and Bryony Whittington (eventing), and Mark Tomlinson (polo). This work ranges from starting their youngsters to working with some of their top horses.
I don’t like to put myself into any ‘category’ and, although I have used influences from Australian, English, western, natural and classical horsemen and women, most importantly I have learnt from my own experiences and understanding of horse psychology to develop training programs that I really believe in. I hope that regular readers of my blog will gain an understanding of the systems I use and pick up a few tips along the way to help with their own horses.
So what has the rest of 2013 got in store for me? Aside from the day-to-day training and clinics, I am back at Your Horse Live in November for another set of demonstrations that will hopefully feature one or two of my own horses. I am hoping to continue my fledgling dressage career with one of my client’s home-bred horses, Hazelhope Fly (getting through a test without going the wrong way would be a good start!) and actually get round to training my own youngsters.
Away from the horses, Penny (my wife) and I are kept on our toes by Jack (7) and Rosie (5) whose school, social and sporting lives seem to be taking over in a big way!
Until next time,