Growing up in Australia, Warwick Schiller showed quarter horses, but he did not choose “horse trainer” as his first profession. It wasn’t until his interest in reining brought him to the States in 1990 that the horseman was born.
Schiller explains, “I wasn’t a professional horse trainer at the time. I came to learn a little more about the reining. I worked for Don Murphy for a year.”
Schiller studied under the legendary horseman. During this time, he learned the finer side of training and showing world class reining horses and met his wife, Robyn.
As much as he loved training, Schiller still had a banking job to return to. The day he left for Australia, Schiller recalls, “I was on the porch. I shook (Murphy’s) hand and said good bye. He said you could do this for a living if you wanted to. If you want to come back to work for me you are more than welcome.”
The encouragement from a legendary horseman and the love of a California girl was enough for Schiller to pack his boots and head back to the States.
“I was (in Australia) for six months,” Schiller says, “then I moved back here and Robyn and I got married.”
Schiller went out on his own in 1995 and enjoyed a career training reining horses. Among his list of accomplishments include NRHA Reserve World Champion in 2002 and wins at the major reining horse shows—NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby, National Reining Breeder’s Classic, and All American Quarter Horse Congress.
However, with a move back to Australia from 2006 to 2010, Schiller’s career path would take another turn and his true calling was found.
When asked why he moved towards clinics, Schiller explains, “When giving reining lessons, I’ve always been quite an explainer. Not just do this or do that. Do this because this happens, and do that and this will happen.”
In Australia, Schiller was on the Board of Reining. A major event for the Board is “The Way of the Horse at Equitana,” a three day colt starting competition similar to the “Road to the Horse” here in the U.S.
“They asked me to be the arena announcer for it; down on the floor while the guys are competing and explain to the people watching,” Schiller recalls, “I said what the guys were doing and how they were doing it and why they were doing it that way.”
Schiller drew a crowd of more than five thousand people each day and was asked to commentate in the following years.
“After the first one, I had a lot of people say ‘wow we really like the way you explain things’ and ‘could you come and do a clinic?’” Schiller goes on to say, “I wasn’t trying to do clinics, but they said they really loved the way I explained stuff, so it was funny. And then I started doing clinics in Australia. It’s kind of what really got the whole thing started.”
Schiller uses his new title of “Clinician” to help horsemen and women understand the way horses think, act, and perform.
“I love seeing the changes in the horses. Over the years training horses, I liked seeing the progress of them. But now,” Schiller explains, “doing these clinics, I love seeing the horses that are in a bad way come through that and become a bit more at ease with themselves.”
Schiller gets a variety of success stories from every clinic he puts on. Horse owners learn how to work with their horses and understand their nature to give the horse the best quality of life.
“Those are the things now that kind of really get me excited. That is why I love to do what I do.” With a twinkle in his eye, Schiller goes on to say, “When you see that horse that’s just in mental anguish come out the other side, it’s really rewarding.”
During Schiller’s clinics, he began to see the importance of good training videos.
“When I watched people do horse training videos, the horse already knew what they were showing us. The horse wasn’t actually doing anything wrong.” Schiller goes on to say, “When we first moved back from Australia, I started putting videos on Youtube, not planning on doing anything with it, just trying to show people how simple some of this stuff is if you understand the principles behind it. People wanted longer videos, so I started online video subscriptions.”
Schiller focuses on creating videos of “real horses with real problems solved in real time.”
“Nowadays, I video at a lot of clinics, because somebody will have a horse with a problem I haven’t videoed before,” Schiller says, “The biggest thing I try to capture is the people working with the horses before I solve the problem. It seems to help people understand why you should or shouldn’t do certain things.”
Another innovative tool Schiller uses for his subscribers is the “virtual lesson.” This new application was introduced about a year ago and is used for the riders that need more one on one help.
Schiller explains, “I watch their videos and then I voice over them, freeze them in the places they need to be frozen in, and slow them way down and (give a personal lesson). In the movie editing software, you can really zoom in on stuff and slow things down, so it’s a much more comprehensive way to show the right answer.”
Looking ahead, Schiller has big goals he wants to bring to his fans.
“I’ll probably start producing more stand alone DVD’s,” Schiller announces. “Everybody that is good with horses does things along the same principles. Maybe, their techniques are all different from each other, but the principles behind those techniques are the same. I’d like to do some collaborations with other people and try to investigate the commonalities in what’s the same.”
As for himself, there are still a few things he’d like to check off the bucket list.
“I’ve got the time now to actually investigate other stuff,” Schiller says. “The thing I’d also like to take the time to do is go and ride with other guys who know a lot more stuff than me. When I was training horses, doing clinics, and doing all the video stuff, I was training horses all day, working on the video stuff at night, and weekends I was at a horse show or a clinic somewhere. You don’t really get time to go and learn more stuff. So, I’m looking forward to having the time to do that.”
Schiller has been in the Kimes Ranch Family for two years. His jean of choice is the “Watson.”
“What I really like about these is the weight of the denim. They’re pretty hardy jeans. Of course, I like the style of the jeans- The weight of the denim and little features like the little pocket, which is perfect for sticking your knife in. Actually, during clinics, that’s where I hang my wireless mic too.”
Schiller has a full clinic schedule this summer. He will be a featured clinician at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, Ca June 10-12th. Afterwards, Schiller will be jumping the pond, performing clinics in Australia and Europe before returning for a clinic at his home ranch in Hollister, Ca September 3rd. Visit https://www.warwickschiller.com/ for more information on his clinics and subscriptions to the online video library.
Photo Credits: Warwick and Robyn Schiller
Photo Credits: Warwick and Robyn Schiller