Rob returns home to impart his horsemanship skills
MANSFIELD born and bred, Rob Leach is considered one of the best horse handlers in Australia.
Returning home recently for only the second time in 15 years, Rob was not backward in imparting his skills to more than 30 local riders and competitors in the sand arenas of Jason Egan in Grosby’s Lane.
From juniors through to more skilled horsemen and women, Rob conducted three days of skills training at the property.
Although hot, dusty and extremely windy conditions prevailed on the Thursday, Rob continued with his training, teaching the skills needed to become a top campdrafter.
“It’s nice to be home,” he said during his second day of workshops – despite the weather conditions.
He came back to Mansfield in 2018 to conduct the first of his training workshops, but that year there were four days of rain – this year it was dust, heat and winds.
His patience comes through while on horseback as he coaches other riders to follow a steer when campdrafting, pushing the horse to change course at a moment’s notice, to halt when needed and getting the best from the horse.
Rob is a master horse trainer with firm views on how things should be done.
His versatility in achievements as a horseman are testament to his belief that a solid foundation is the key to success in any discipline.
But it hasn’t been through lack of pure determination and hard work that he has come this far since his humble beginnings in the horse industry.
Raised on a small property near Mansfield, Rob competed in Pony Club, mountain racing and campdrafting.
His passion for horses, but limited “horse-power”, evoked Rob’s determination to have better horses, igniting a keen interest in training.
Rob left school at age 15 with the idea of becoming a horse trainer, but no idea how to go about it.
Fortune intervened and he moved in with Jimmy Mathews to start his working life.
He worked for Jimmy and son, Raymond, breaking in thoroughbreds for the track and helping with cattle work.
Rob and Jimmy forged an instant bond and the iconic cattleman was to shape Rob’s life.
When he was 18, Jimmy directed Rob to the Northern Territory where he ended up running stock camps at Newry and Argyle Stations while doing their breakers in the wet season.
Full-time breaking was next for Rob, and at 21, he had already broken in more than 300 horses for large pastoral companies in the NT, including CPC, Tejas and Heytesbury.
WATCH THIS: One of the workshop groups attending the Rob Leach clinics recently at the Egans’ Grosby’s Lane property.
In 2004, Rob and his wife Lee took a trip to the United States where they stayed for the next seven years.
Rob became involved in the cow horse industry starting and training horses, specialising in Team Roping, Cutting and Working Cow Horses.
Quickly becoming one of the most recognised 2yo trainers on the west coast, Rob and Lee decided to go out on their own and leased a training facility in Central California where Rob spent the next three years training Reined Cow Horses, averaging 25 client-horses and regularly finalling at the NRCHA aged events.
In 2011, Rob, Lee and new son Grant, returned to Australia for family reasons.
With time for a change, Rob and Lee moved to Attunga near Tamworth where he now owns and operates his own business.
They are building excellent facilities and already have a large undercover arena, stables and day yards to ensure the welfare of clients’ horses.
The long term future for Rob is to be competitive and be a better horseman.
Over the last few years, he has been able to again fulfil his competitive ambitions through successes in campdrafting and stockman’s challenges.
He believes he brings a different dimension to the usual campdraft training programs for young 2, 3 or 4yo horses due to his reined cow horse background which demands more polish and professionalism.
REINING IN: Top horse handler and instructor Rob Leach works his horse in the sand arena at the Mansfield campdraft workshops recently.