McLean, whose training methods are entirely self-taught, seeks to integrate knowledge, compassion, patience, and imagination into his work with horses. Named an official 'Ambassador of the Outback' in both 2002 and 2006, McLean and his team now travel the world where they entertain, inspire, and educate all of their audiences about training and the remarkable talents of the Australian Stock Horse.
McLean kindly took the time to answer five questions from The Equine Insider on training, horses, and traveling.
How did you start on your path to training (and did you always want to train horses)?
I have been on and around horses since I was sixteen months old, riding by myself since I was four, educating for the public from the age of fifteen and performing since I was twenty-one. I grew up on my father's resort, 'Susan River Homestead,' and was in charge of the fifty guest horses there from the time I was fifteen till I was twenty-four, and I became an entertainer so that I was able to make a living out of horses without having to sell the ones I loved so dearly.
What do you like the most about your job?
My greatest joy is when I see my horses and my audiences get real 'Benefit' from my interaction with them and to know that I might be inspiring the youth of our world to look deeper into the eyes and hearts of these amazing animals, our dear friend, the humble horse.
What is one behind-the-scenes aspect of your job that most people wouldn’t be aware of?
I do all of my own training, driving and care of my horses. At the moment, it is just my darling wife Emily and I who run the business and not some big entourage that a lot people think we have.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about training horses?
I think the biggest misconception is that 'Horses love to be petted and fussed upon,' as it is the very last thing that a young untouched horse wants, as it resembles the same physical presence of capture. It is a personal want of ours as humans to show love this way and it is something that horses will learn to tolerate once they learn to 'give to pressure,' but it is not something that a horse naturally craves for.
What would your advice be to someone who wants a career with horses – riding, training, etc?
I remember many years ago, when the life I lead right now was just a childhood dream, and so I believe that it is important to 'dream big' and chase those dreams to the end of the earth and surround yourself with like-minded people so that you may walk the same path as those whom you respect and look up to.
To learn more about Guy McLean and where he and his team will be appearing, check out his website and his Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Guy McLean.