Most of the training for our sale horses is personally handled by Clayton Oldfield. His father Shane and his grandfather Kevin have passed onto him their extensive knowledge of horsemanship. This inherited wisdom includes knowledge of the breaking in and training of horses as well as an extensive understanding of horse behaviour and horse language.
Such was his head start in the world of outback horses, Clayton was able to start his first horse without help at the age of 10. At regular intervals throughout his teens, he started horses with the method he was taught by his father and grandfather. At the age of eighteen he moved to South-western Australia and lived and studied with the Watson family at their Horses and Horsemen Academy in Margaret River. During the next 3 years he attended clinics, courses and demonstrations both as a student and an active participant.
The methods Clayton uses today are a combination of the old station techniques and more modern “natural” horsemanship procedures.
He begins by building up the horse’s confidence, using common household tools like plastic bags and tarps – to desensitise it to the many noisy distractions of the human world and to learn to relax in the face of stressful situations.
Clayton then develops that achievement into teaching the horse to “yield to a feel”, whether by touch, rein or seat. This taps into the horse’s instincts to find a leader and follow it closely and trustingly.
By the end of his training the horses are safer, easier to handle and ride and in a position to want to work confidently with its human partner.