A freelance writer, reviewer and broadcaster passionate about South Australia's fabulous wine and food.
Published September 14th 2017
A horseman's life and legacy
Those not directly connected to the equestrian world may not know the name Tom Roberts, but anyone who owns, rides, or has ever been involved with, horses will have been touched in some way by his teachings on horse control.
His 4 books (Horse Control -The Young Horse, Horse Control - The Rider, Horse Control - The Bit and Horse Control - Reminiscences) have long been considered a strong influence on riders of all ages, from Pony Club members to champion show jumpers and Tom was probably one of the first to incorporate the now fashionable tenets of natural horsemanship.
His kind, but firm, instruction to both horse and rider is followed today, some 28 years after his death, by a great number of Australia's equestrians - whether they realise it or not!
One of today's most respected academic experts on horse training, Dr Andrew McLean, has now teamed with equestrian and journalist Nikki Stuart, to author 'Go forward, dear', a combined personal history and analysis of Tom Roberts' methods. Indeed, the very title of this book is indicative of the efficacy of his thinking, as his authoritative commands were tempered with affection for both horse and rider.
Nikki's long equestrian career has given her first-hand familiarity with Tom the man, as well as Tom the teacher, and she utilises her journalistic skills to paint a fascinating portrait of them both in the first part of this book.
Andrew McLean has many runs on the board as a coach, rider, animal behaviourist, zoologist and author and he freely acknowledges the influence of Tom Roberts on his international career. His contribution to this small volume takes the form of an educated examination of the methods, science and psychology of Tom's teaching and training.
Together Andrew and Nikki's contributions make for a thought-provoking and inspiring insight into the wisdom of this great South Australian horseman and teacher. This is a work that should be read by all who have any interest in things equestrian.
Go forward, dear' is published by HorseSA, the advocacy and promotion group to the horse industry and the horse community, and is available online through the websites www.horsesa.asn.au. and www.tomroberts.net.au