There’s an inner peace that’s clear to see when Adam Sutton works his magic with horses.
Sutton’s journey has been well documented, including an ABC’s Australian Story. He’s been on horses for a lifetime but is the first to admit, his riding style of today couldn’t be further from his wild and woolly youth. There’s not a time that he doesn’t remember a natural affinity with animals, and especially horses.
At 44, there’s a tale to be told. From trail riding to success on the rodeo circuit, campdrafting to movie sets, and so much more. And, while the decades roll by, Sutton says when he fires out of bed every morning it is only his body that tells him he is no longer 21 – despite what his mind may think. “I have a great osteo who I see every five weeks to keep me walking straight.” He’s not your run on the mill cowboy but he’s always got something quirky or funny to say… and he does admit – with a bit of a smile – that some days it is easier to talk to horses than people. Sutton lives in New South Wales, where he trains horses and riders. He travels around Australia on a bi monthly basis conducting clinics and giving lessons around the state.
“At Allroundhorsemanship, we cater for all discipline styles of performance horses from racing to all aspects of English and Western styles, equitation, and safe social riding trail horses and have a broad set of equipment, terrain and challenges to use with each horse,” he says. “The beauty of his methods is that he can bring all the young stock right through from foal to the performance track or arena. – usually they have been through many hands, and that’s not always good for them. I take pride in getting them to the race track/or competition arena or pleasure horse as cool, calm and confident.” Sutton has developed a reputation of success in turning around problematic behavioural issues within both horse and rider with his popular clinics which are held throughout Australia or by invitation.“ I love teaching and being able to pass on knowledge and understanding for people to achieve ongoing success with their horse.”
2010 Adam won the prestigious EQUITANA Way Of The Horse Championship, making him one of the most respected horseman in the country.
In 2018 he was invited back to EQUITANA Australia to compete in the IRT All Star Championship where he won the popular people’s choice award.
“Based on the experience I’ve had with some of the finest horseman here and overseas, I’ve developed a systematic approach to horse training that works well for me. It is a system that allows each horse to develop suppleness and obedience in his own time. My approach involves eight separate steps and exercises that build upon each other. There’s no point expecting exercise three to work at 100 per cent if the horse is still only comfortably being 70 or 80 per cent effective with exercise two.” Sutton starts all his exercises on the ground so both horse and rider understand which zone controls what movements.
He’s worked with many different people over the years, including on the sets of Ned Kelly, Brokeback Mountain and Wild Boys. “It was some of the most exciting and hardest work I have ever done, and that’s saying something for someone who has worked on fishing trawlers and down the mines.” He had six weeks to break in the largely unhandled horses before the likes of Heath Ledge and Orlando Bloom got on them. “Doing movies taught me so much about what could be achieved in a short period of time and how to be a small cog in a big wheel. I was completely clueless about movie stars, so I think it was novel for that set to be with someone who didn’t care who they were, only what they could or couldn’t do with a horse.“ Teaching actors like Ledger and Bloom to ride like Aussie stockmen was not only “amazing fun” but it gave him two life-long gifts: some terrific mates and the urge to keep on helping riders to build their confidence.