There’s one thing clear from attending Justin’s horsemanship clinic: the ladies love him.

Brooke, Justin’s wife, thinks it’s hilarious.

“I’m biased but he is a charmer without even trying”

That he is. Justin has this magnetic aura that draws people in. He’s got a heart bigger than Phar Lap with a smile to rival Steve Tyler. Add in his bright red hair hidden discreetly under his trademark cowboys hat and his charm is legendary. Everyone who attends his clinics, men too, are instantly drawn to his incredible likeability. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t instantly connect with Justin.

And it seems his charm works just as effectively with horses as it does with people.

“I’ve always felt an affinity with horses, I can’t actually recall a point in my life when I started to become more interested in horses, and it just feels like it’s always been that way.”

It’s this special affinity for horses that has seen Justin mould his business around the relationship between horse and rider.

“I explain it at every clinic that I could either, sit at home and train horses for 8-10 people each week, or I can travel around Australia and help 10-20 people every weekend and equip them with some of the knowledge and experience I have gained to help them train their horse at home.  My impact and reach in helping people communicate with horses is far better when I can travel around conducting horsemanship clinics.”

While Justin isn’t the typical ‘creative’ you see on Outskirt, he does have a drive to disrupt the industry and provide a product that serves both himself and his customers.

“A lot of horse pursuits I see are driven by the human ego and success. I want to influence the horse industry in a way that focuses more on the process of training and working with horses to achieve a greater connection, over the ego or result-driven mindset that appears to dominate some parts of the industry.”

The current horse industry is loaded with expos selling every imaginable horse gadget you can acquire, which is something Justin clearly wants to avoid. He’s not adverse to horse equipment but acknowledges that people can take it too far and that the industry can exploit it. True to form, he’s doing what he can to ensure his business model doesn’t fall into the ‘old way of doing things’.

“I’ve been honing my liberty training skills where you work a horse ‘at liberty’ with nothing on them. It’s an incredible process and can wait to practise more with my mare.”

When we see Justin at his clinic in Lancefield, Victoria, he’s still working full time as a building construction manager. I’m curious to know how he manages a demanding full time job while running weekend clinics around Australia.

“We’ve actually recently thrown caution to the wind to focus 100% on Elite Horsemanship and only manage a small amount of the other business.  We are relocating to a beautiful 50 acre warmblood stud here in South East Queensland with some amazing facilities.  They have stable blocks, yards and an indoor riding arena.  We are basing our operations here for a while to focus on building content and videos for an upcoming online training program and it’s a perfect place to conduct group lessons and private training.” 

Justin makes note that he couldn’t possibly do it without the support of his wife, Brooke.

“She has helped me grow to be more intrigued and ask more questions about the way things used to be done with horses, specifically the way I used to do things with horses.  I have read books I would have previously never picked up, looked through articles which my previously stubborn narrow mind would have glanced over.  So in short she is the reason I am now on this journey with Elite Horsemanship”

It goes without saying that like all creatives and small business owners, there are constant challenges to overcome. The biggest challenge for Justin right now is getting the word out there and clearly explaining his radical approach in his marketing. It’s no easy feat, particularly in a world of ‘tradition’ and its heavy focus on product.

“Clinics can be a tough gig if you don’t yet have a huge following, so we are working on that part though building more online content so people can see what we are all about.  For now, we will keep booking clinics all over Australia and abroad to keep spreading our wings.  I judge the success of our clinics and education by the feedback and so far every clinic we have run we have been booked to return for a follow up clinic, from this I know we are on the right track we just have to persist and keep spreading the good word about Elite Horsemanship.”

Feature: Justin Colquhoun

Website: https://elitehorsemanship.com.au/

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Author: Kate Toholka, House of Sage

Photography: Monika Berry, House of Sage