Horse trainer loves his work
HORSES are more than just a passion for Patrick Hopgood.
The four-legged animals are his hobby and livelihood all rolled into one.
Born and raised at Dalveen Mr Hopgood grew up with a love of horses.
"I was lucky enough to live on a cattle property and came from a family who owned plenty of horses," he said.
"After training friends and family's horses in my youth, at the age of 19, I made the decision to become a full time professional horse trainer."
Having competed in everything from pony club, to dressage to campdrafting Mr Hopgood found a new interest in the American Western sport of Reining or Reined Cow Horse.
"To learn more about this sport and more about the techniques used I made a big leap and moved over to America," he said.
"I was keen to learn and wanted to absorb as much knowledge from those around me as possible.
"There I landed one of the best jobs a horse trainer could hope for - I worked for Monty Roberts otherwise known as The Horse Whisperer.
"I trained his Western show horses and also worked with a trainer called Phillip Ralls whose father was in the top five Reined Cow Horse trainers in the world."
Looking back on his move state side Mr Hopgood said it had paid off.
"My knowledge of how to work cattle and my horse training techniques just sky rocketed," he said.
"After years of training cow horses I started to gravitate toward the reining side.
"Horse riders from other disciplines would send their horses to us to break them in as they knew how thorough our training process has to be and what a great foundation that is for any horse.
"The whole reining pattern demonstrates total control of the horse's body and it is also a great rush when you're galloping flat out and say the word 'whoa' and your horse slides 30 feet to stop, with no pulling of the reins."
After seven years in America Mr Hopgood and his British wife will relocate their horse training business to England in the New Year.
In the meantime Mr Hopgood is home visiting family and happy to pass on his horse training knowledge.
He will hold horse training days and take horses for training until the end of January.
Contact Patrick Hopgood on 4685 2282, hopgoodper- firstname.lastname@example.org or visit hopgoodperformance- horses.com.