Jason grew up on his family’s 4000 acre sheep and cattle property at the foot of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia. In his early teens, Jason was taught to break-in horses using the same methods handed down through generations of horsemen in his family – similar to the methods that are widely described as ‘natural horsemanship’ today. Now Jason Webb and his team specialise in handling and starting young horses and rehabilitating ‘problem’ horses. He teaches a modern approach to traditional Australian methods based on a practical application of horse psychology that aims to create a balance for both horse and rider. As well as all this Jason has won the Polocross National Championships on six occasions, coached the UK Mens and Ladies teams to international victories and since gaining British Citizenship, has been part of the UK Mens team.
What would you do if you didn’t work with horses? I would like to think I would be running my own business but I would probably be back in Australia helping run the family farm, which I really enjoyed.
Why did you decide to set up Australian Horsemanship in the UK? I was chasing an English girl, who is now my wife! When I first came over for a few months, I broke in a few horses here and there so when I came to live here permanently in 2002, I felt I could make a business out of specialising in starting young horses and remedial work with ‘problem’ horses.
What do you love about Polocrosse compared to other equestrian disciplines? What’s not to love about combining horsemanship with a fast ball sport! Polocrosse also has a real community feel – either within your club or as an international community. It has allowed me to compete for my country, travel all over the world and has shaped my future as I met Penny, my wife, through polocrosse. www.polocrosse2011.com
How many horses do you ride a day? I used to handle between 10 and 15 clients’ horses a day, but that is very hard to keep up. I now employ a fantastic assistant trainer to work alongside me, so I do about eight. In the polocrosse season I try and find the time to school my own horses too, but luckily I have brilliant staff who do the fitness work for me!
Who has the best yard you’ve visited? I recently did a loading job for Dr. Bechtolsheimer and I got to watch Laura schooling ‘Alf’, which was pretty special. I also got shown round Arrowfield Stud in Australia and the facilities for breeding top class Thoroughbreds were incredible, so if money were no object, I think I’d copy that set-up.
Who was the last horse to leave an impression on you? I am starting a horse at the moment for Gabriella Atkinson, who owns Bedgebury Park. Junior is a stunning colt and I think he has got a big future in the dressage world.
When was the last time you went on holiday? I spent a month in Australia over Christmas with Penny and our two children visiting my family – bliss.
What was one of your funniest horse moments? When I was first starting out, I did a demonstration for one of the local Pony Clubs and decided to show them a bit of polocrosse at the end. I was riding an Australian mare that was a little fresh and as I went for a fast, flashy pick up she dumped me on the floor! Needless to say, the kids thought it was great.
Whose horse would you like to own and why? In his heyday, Saddlers Wells as I would be a very rich man by now! I would like to own the best Australian Stock Horse stallion getting about at the moment called Hazelwood Conman.
What would you change about your life? Apart from being able to get to Australia quicker, not a lot. I took on an assistant trainer last year, which has made a great change to my working life.
Who do you think is the one to watch this year? Like everyone, I am intrigued to see how Totilas gets on with his new rider and I don’t envy the pressure on him. At the Polocrosse World Cup this summer, I think the ones to watch are the Australian men and the English ladies, but the Zimbabwean team could cause an upset and the young South African side will be strong.
How do you relax? I spent time with my kids and try to beat Jack, who is five, at Angry Birds! He usually wins.
Who inspires you? I don’t really have one sole inspiration, but I like reading about people who have achieved great things against all odds and people who have pushed themselves to extraordinary lengths. I like trying to understand how their brains tick.
What is your greatest achievement to date? Getting the business to where it is now, when everyone thought I was mad to try. I came here as a complete unknown who did things pretty differently and had to make my own reputation, so it has been quite tough at times. There is still a long way to go, but I get a bit stubborn about things so hopefully I’ll get to where I want to be! On a polocrosse level, captaining the UK World Cup side is a good achievement.
What is your top tip for H&C website visitors? Keep an open mind as you never know where inspiration and knowledge might come from.
Who would you like us to spend Ten Minutes in the Tack Room with? Email [email protected]