What normally takes up to three months, Joe Hughes can do in three hours, can teach in one day, and can also treat mental health issues and PTSD at the same time.
Mr Hughes 4BP method of breaking horses is not only revolutionising the industry, but it’s also saving lives. On Wednesday over 30 people from all over the north west spent the day with him at a clinic in Somerton.
A PTSD sufferer himself, several years ago he found himself in a downward spiral that led to a major motorcycle accident. It left him questioning the legacy he was leaving his four children.
“I nearly cashed out, but while I was laying there in hospital I had an epiphany, and a real sense of urgency,” he said.
“I had spent 39 years working with horses, but had not passed any of it on, so I put together all my concepts for breaking and training horses.”
He soon learnt that “by treating a horse like a human – reacting and understanding it” – he could break a wild brumby in a number of hours with only a length of rope, a process that traditionally takes weeks.
During that realisation he also discovered a lot about himself, his upbringing, his life, and how he could help others.
“If the first time we met I belted you on the nose and rolled you across the room the next time we met you might be a bit coy,” he said.
“But if I talked to you, asked you if you wanted a beverage or something to eat you might be more open to me – it is the same with horses.”
Mr Hughes took his newfound skills to Mt Kosciusko, where under contract, he took 75 per cent of the wild horses and brumbies, and after learning of their quality started a Facebook page to showcase them.
“Those horses were considered pests, but they are titanium tough and have insane ability, far better than standard horses,” Mr Hughes said.
“It started to generate interest because I was getting them for free, breaking them and selling them for an average of $3300, with a top price of $7000.
“Now I take in students and that $3300 covers everything from tuition fees, food, accommodation and saddlery,” he said.
“The students don’t need any prior experience with horses, or strength or agility, but I will have them sliding off a horses bum in three hours. After a five day course they can then go and teach other people the method – it is foolproof horse training, and it’s easy.”
Mr Hughes also realised that the system acted as a functional treatment for PTSD and anxiety, particularly for veterans returning from service.
“It turned out there is a real aspect of conflict resolution involved," he said.
“These people often come back angry and confused. Those emotions split up families and isolate people even more, but you can’t reason with a horse when you are angry. It teaches them to calm down and take control.”
Mr Hughes also teaches energy transfer, which is a “hippy method, but it does work” of learning to use the energy of a horse.
Recently Mr Hughes, with the help of some service veterans suffering from PTSD attempted to break a record 70 horse in just seven days, while they didn’t quite make their target they did still manage an incredible 56 horses in five days.
On Wednesday kids from as young as five were joined by adults of all ages from as far away as Moree and Narrabri for the full day session at Somerton.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.