WINGHAM horse trainer, Paul Clarkson likes a challenge.
Next week he will travel to Canada to take his place in the pen and compete in the thrilling Trainers Challenge.
Paul will enjoy an all expenses paid trip after being invited to pit his skills against two other top trainers at the Mane Event Equine Education Trade Fair in Chilliwack British Columbia.
The Trainers Challenge will be Paul's first international event though he has travelled and competed extensively around Australia. Paul has become well known for his horsemanship workshops and clinics and breaks and trains horses for clients nationally.
Paul said he feels privileged to have been chosen to compete. "It's encouraging for me," he said. "People are starting to notice I am doing good things out there."
Last year Paul competed in The Way of the Horse at Equitana Australia and said he thinks that is where he was noticed. "It was a pretty close competition."
The Trainers Challenge will see Paul and the two other trainers riding unbroken (unstarted) horses.
They will progress through three days of competition with a skills test at the end.
With judging one on one, Paul said he likes this variation on the Way of the Horse competition. "When everyone is judged at the same time the judges might miss something really good in your pen."
Paul said trainers will be miked up 100 per cent of the time with up to 30 per cent of the score card being allocated to how well competitors communicate with the audience and judges.
Paul is very used to talking at clinics and thinks the communication aspect of the competition is a good thing.
"Everything I do with a horse has a reason," he said and describes the communication as "intellectualising" what he does.
Paul describes training a horse as re-directing energy in a positive way. To do his job well, said Paul he must have equal amounts of trust and respect. "You can't expect a horse to trust you if he doesn't respect you."
Paul will fly to San Francisco then onto Canada for the competition.
He said he will probably hire a Winnebago and plans to enjoy some sightseeing while in the US, flying back out of LA. "Hopefully this is the start of annual trips over there," he said.
Paul not only sees the trip as a great experience but as a good opportunity to network. "There are more people registered as horse owners in America than our entire population."
Paul will be posting updates of the competition on his website http:// allaustralianhorsemanship.com.au and the All Australian Horsemanship Facebook page.
The Mane Event Equine Education Trade Fair in Chilliwack BC will be held on October 25-27.