Rob returns home to im­part his horse­man­ship skills

Mansfield Courier - - News -

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.

PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Mahoney

REIN­ING IN: Top horse han­dler and in­struc­tor Rob Leach works his horse in the sand arena at the Mans­field cam­p­draft work­shops re­cently.

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