testimonials

I used Watkins Horse Handlers to start my mare under saddle. Fred is a brilliant horseman, an expert in his field whose work speaks volumes. Fred knows horses and Rach knows people. An awesome team. Five Star service ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I will be using them again.

Kerrie

Qld

My little horse and I attended one of Fred's trail riding clinics and we found our courage. Cannot thank you enough. We just had 2 adventurous trail rides today and yesterday. Zac was so brave and we had a ball. Thanks heaps guys. Looking forward to seeing you again.

Donna

Qld

Fred is an awesome trainer breaks things down and makes it easy for both student and horse to learn new skills lets you go at the pace your comfortable with but also encourages you to try new things
also respects the horses too highly recommend

Nicky

Qld

After my second clinic with Fred, I can't believe I got to sit on my 5 year old 'baby' Clydie X. Still grinning from ear to ear!

Denise

WA

I Grew up with horse trainers and the inspiration of legends like Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance. And I have to say Fred is one of the most calm yet assertive trainers I have ever come across. His ability to read a horse and help it to come to its own understanding of what is wanted of it is at a level that inspires any who watch him. If you'd like your horse trained right, look no further then Fred.

Jo

Qld

The experience getting my filly started has been incredible!! She is so soft and well educated. The communication and photos throughout the process were great and Fred and Rach were so generous with their time. I can’t recommend highly enough!!

Emily

QLD

The two day clinic spent with Fred Watkins were two of the most valuable days I have spent learning about horses on the ground. My eighteen month old gelding and I walked away from this clinic with a huge amount to think about and I was so impressed with Fred’s methods and his instructing style. Fred had a huge range of horses and riders, ages and abilities at our clinic, and he catered to each one individually and easily. My horse was minimally handled before the clinic and left the clinic relaxed, leading, catchable, free moving, reversing, stopping, respectful and virtually self loading on a float (only the second time on a float in his life). Fred is genuine, humble, knowledgeable and relatable and even though I haven’t met Rachel, she is fantastic to deal with in booking and questions, communication is efficient and timely. Highly recommend and I can’t wait till he is back in West Australia again so we can continue on schooling with his methods. Thanks Fred from Clancy & myself.

Gemma

WA

I've known Fred for 8+ years now having first sent one of my horses to him that I was struggling to move forward with. I watched Fred work daily with this horse and was very impressed with his horsemanship, creating a partnership whilst still respecting the horse’s dignity and spirit. 
I've recently purchased a yearling and Fred is on the top of my list for starting this fella. We recently attended our first clinic with Fred to put some tools in both my horses (Barney) and my toolbox to start our journey both safely and hopefully without too much baggage. 
 The clinic was such a fantastic start for us both and when we got home and I took Barney off the float I really noticed how much had changed from when I put him on the float at that same spot 3 days earlier :) we had such a great weekend, SO many lightbulb moments and such a great bunch of people to spend a weekend horse'n around!! 
Fred is a very willing teacher; he teaches with patience, kindness and encouragement! His knowledge is one thing but his ability to share it and not make you feel like a dope on a rope is just invaluable!
My biggest learning’s from the clinic I think was we were able to put tools in our tool box to keep us safe and to be able to have more confidence and skills to deal with whatever horse shows up, also clarity on 'the forward horse' and how to get it, the importance of something as basic as leading and the black and white bubbles! we've got so much great stuff to go on with and Barney will be going on lots more outings now we have some basic stuff to keep us safe and having fun! Can’t recommend Watkins Horse Handlers highly enough!!

Heidi

WA

I recently attended Freds first ever clinic at Duketon Estate in Caversham. It was a super venue for a clinic!
My association with both Fred & Rach goes back a few years - Fred started our thoroughbred, who went on to become a racehorse & did work on my QH gelding who had a few little issues! In both instances Fred did a wonderful job, giving both boys a solid foundation. Rach kept us informed of both horses progress during the time they were at their Clackline property. I have nothing but praise for Fred & his abilities so you can imagine my dismay when they left WA to head back to QLD - I thought we had lost them forever! I was so very happy that Fred has been able to return to WA to run clinics & feel very fortunate to be able to attend the most recent one with my new horse, Tommie! 
Fred has a natural gift with horses that he readily shares with people who wish to find a better understanding with their horses! The clinic was a great 3 days - I learnt so much, especially the importance of getting everything 'right' on the ground before you progress to the saddle & riding!
If you truly want to have a long lasting & fulfilling relationship with your horse, I thoroughly recommend Fred - whether it be a clinic or having Fred do work with your horse. 
Fred doesn't have any tricks, just patience & tools that work to help you & your horse!

Narelle

WA

I recently was lucky enough to be able to attend Fred's 3 day clinic at Windal park in Pinjarra. The owners of Windal park were very accommodating, such beautiful friendly people that made us feel part of the family. The clinic was excellent with Fred explaining each part of training both with my horse and others very clearly and in a manner which was easily understood. I found Fred very approachable and he was happy to answer any questions I asked. He is a true horseman and I would feel privileged to attend any future clinics.

Cheryl

WA

A few years ago we sent one of our 3yo Warmblood geldings to "Watkins Horse Handlers" to be started under saddle. Since receiving back a very confident and happy boy that was ready to educate further in his field of Dressage and take anywhere, we were very pleased to know where to send the next generation of youngsters. Since then we have had approx 6 horses started under saddle and they have all come back confident and happy. Very well mannered and respectful of their owner in all aspects of day to day on goings and exceptionally well exposed to all sorts of situations. Peace of mind, knowing you are sitting on a very fresh youngster that needs to see the world is priceless in the safety of the rider. We highly recommend "Watkins Horse Handlers" to anyone needing a youngster backed or any situation that may need addressing.Brookdale Park Performance Horses.

Sonia

WA

My friend recommended a Fred Watkins clinic for me and my young horse, so off we went! My groundwork skills were refined plus I learnt some useful groundwork exercises.  My main motivation for going was to achieve the feel of a soft, round contact and that’s exactly what I achieved.  Fred is a true gentleman with a ‘low stress’ approach to everything which makes for a willing and calm horse.  You and your horse will leave the clinic with a better partnership.  

Lauren

WA

"Fred and Rachel were great to deal with and most importantly, Juggeraut was fantastic to ride when I got him back. Even after my 7 year break from riding, I feel confident riding him and we both really enjoy the experience. I was very impressed by how forward he is and how light he was with rein and leg aids which is particularly important as Juggernaut is 18hh and a huge mover."

Julie

WA

I was lucky enough to attend one of Fred’s clinic in WA.
Due to unforeseen circumstances I wasn’t able to go on the second day. I got so much out of the first day and it has given me the tools I need to improve myself and my 3.5 year old. Fred manages to explain things in a simple and straight forward manner that actually sinks in! I am looking forward to being able to attend a full clinic in the near future.....imagine how many “light bulb” moments can happen over multiple days !!! Thanks Fred....return clients are additional proof that you are doing a great job, you should be proud of yourself. 

Lee

WA

A quick note to say a very special thanks to Fred for all his wonderful work and patience that he spent on my boy Murphy. When I got him Fred discovered he has experienced some horrific things with a previous owner, but with Fred’s love and help Murphy came through with flying colors. This little boy has got the most amazing personality and love for me and is keen to try anything with me now, whereas before he was petrified.
I would not hesitate to recommend Fred for his kind, gentle ways with the horses to anybody, and a big thanks to Rachel who makes you feel so welcome, and keeps you up to date with the progress either verbally, photos or video.
You guys are the best, and I hope to have another little one to bring to you next year. See you then, if not before.
 

Leureen

WA

Fred and Rachel did a fantastic job with my horses and have always been available to provide support and advice whenever I have needed it. They completed the work on my horse very quickly and totally understood what I had wanted to achieve, Fred is an amazing horseman and has a brilliant way with horses, his methods have cemented some great foundations in my horse that I was then able to carry on with myself. I will most definitely be using Watkins services again!

Pete

QLD

Fred and Rachel took the greatest care to make sure my mare was happy and looked after the way I wanted her to be, and then, wow, what a change in her! Fred did a wonderful job teaching her the things he did, and an even better job being able to give me the tools to carry on with so I can continue working on her. She is a pleasure to ride now and I am looking forward to competing on her soon. Thanks guys, you are the best!' Melody

Mel

WA

" Thanks Fred and Rachel for all of your work on Ky. He was no doubt a challenge given his start to life. Not living in WA but residing in Sydney myself, it was a comfort to know that Ky was in good hands and it was great to see his progress when I visited W.A. Thanks again and all the best".

Aaron

NSW

You know a lot of people have views on equine behaviour and the human skills needed to communicate with horses. Fred Watkins is without doubt one of those unique people that can communicate with and understand the horses needs to attain its absolute potential. Love the man to death for what he has done, continues to do and the close friendship he and I have developed. Great bloke great wife in Rach beautiful kids in Tom and Molly.

Laurie

WA

I attended a 3 day clinic with Fred Watkins at Caversham. I am so impressed by Fred Watkins horseman skills. My youngster Amir and I learned so much. Fred gave me the tools to address the problems I have with my boy. We came such a long way. I couldn't wipe the smile of my face. My horse has changed so much. I believe he loved it as much as myself. I highly recommend Fred Warkins. He is just an amazing horseman.

Claudia

WA

Fred is an amazing horseman! Always calm with every situation and a natural to working with horses, after going through a few trainers, that didn't know (thought they did) how to work through my mares (layla) issues, i finally found Fred, i learnt a lot from Fred with how to deal with layla on the ground and in the saddle, that i now put into place with all my other horses including now having a young one. Fred was able to get Layla working properly, calmly with her attention on me. Fred never once rushed Layla he worked with her on what she needed at that point in time,

Fred also did leg restraints on my little 18mnth old, my little boy just understood everything fred was asking and stayed calm the whole time, I'm so thankfully for that as it has saved my horses legs when stuck in a fence once, he stood calmly and waiting for us to untangle him.

Fred and Rach are very lovely down to earth people that go out of their way to help everyone.

Definitely recommend Watkins Horse Handlers.

Jodie

WA

I was lucky enough to come across Fred with the intention of having him hobble train a horse that was agister with me, who would poor as he travelled in the float.

As it turned out the owners of that horse didn't think they needed that help so I jumped in and took their spot. I can't thank them enough for that. Fred has been a brilliant trainer not only for my horses but has openly and honestly taught me skills also. I now reside in victoria and with Fred's help and assistance I now mouth my horses his way (I'm getting better with throwing that rope over) and fully hobble train my horses, Fred also taught and helped me teach my horses to lay down.

His training has been priceless, even now living in victoria, I have a problem Fred is happy to talk me through the issue over the phone.

Highly recommend Watkins horse handlers.

Amanda

VIC

Highly recommended. Very good customer service, very flexible and the quality of training is second to none. I love how Fred is with the horses and can only hope that I picked up a fraction of his horsemanship skills. Rachel was great at keeping me upto speed and was such a pleasure to interact with. Thank you.

Sharron

WA

Fred has a wealth of knowledge and great clear way of explaining things. I've used fred previously and attended the most recent WA clinic, my young horse got a lot out of it. I'd happily send my horses for training if Fred was still in the state!

Freya

WA

I cannot recommend Watkins Horse Handlers highly enough. Fred has started three horses for me and, based on the results, I would consider him one of the best around. Watkins Horse Handlers are experienced, professional and honest, treating each horse as an individual and providing education and training tailored to where the horse is at and what the owner wants to achieve. For one of my geldings in particular, I thought there was no hope after two previous breakers had exacerbated his problems resulting in what was ultimately a dangerous and unrideable horse. Fred did an exceptional job getting to the root of his problems and giving me the skills and knowledge I needed to manage these into the future. I cannot thank him and Rach enough for this. I would not go anywhere else.

Jordyn

WA

I recently attended Fred's clinic in WA. The change in my relationship with my horse was amazing - it was a privilege to attend and well worth the money. Fred noticed the big and the small grey areas. I left feeling confident and able to deal with my young horse in a confident way. Highly recommend attending Fred's clinics. 

Andrea

WA

I bought Earaheedie Giselle (Ellie) on a whim, a poor orphaned foal that came down from the bush with a bunch of wild horses. Everyone fell in love with her but it was clear from the start that she had "special needs" (maybe from a trauma in her young life) and could be unpredictable when stressed. I knew I would need someone with plenty of patience and understanding to start this horse or we could end up in trouble. Fred and Rachel cared deeply for Ellie and gave her all the time she needed, they contacted me regularly to let me know her progress and were honest and upfront about any concerns. I now have a lovely sound riding horse and know that I made the right decision in getting Fred to start her.

Jane

WA

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Fred and Rachel, when they agreed at very short notice to accept my warm blood filly for some farrier retraining and anything else that cropped up. 
They were extremely accommodating, extremely professional, and above all, did a superb job on my filly. I was present for most of the work that was done with her, and at no time was she stressed or unhappy. I also got to learn some new things, which have really helped. 
I cannot recommend them highly enough to anyone, and have certainly told all my horsey friends about the wonderful job they have done. 
All my future horse handling will be done exclusively by Fred and Rachel as I believe there is simply no one who can match them. 

Karla

WA

We have nothing but admiration for the way Watkins Horse Handlers handled our foal, who, due to a fractured pelvis, had been confined at the Vets for many months. Fred would not even start her training until he felt she was 100% and when she was ready, he was so kind with her. She came back home a lovely horse with beautiful manners. We have recommended them to all our friends and should the situation arise, would not hesitate to use them again.

Neil

WA

I sent my 18 month old palomino quarter horse gelding to Fred as I had heard so many good outcomes of horses going to him, never a bad one and this horse sport can be very harsh at times to even our best horseman (horsewomen). Pilgrim was too young for a full break in but he needed some serous work on the ground as I had given him SSS (spoilt show horse syndrome) and his temperament was becoming dangerous, testing me every time I was with him. Fred did a wonderful job with my boy. I was contacted by email all the time on his progress as well as photo updates. As for Cobalt my pony he was booked in for 4 weeks but was sent home in the third week as Fred had done all he could do with the pony and he was broken in. Colbolt is now a leasing to a young rider . Fred always treats his horses individually So many breakers book your horses in for a standard 6 weeks and you end up having to pay for more work than is sometimes done. Overall I find Fred and Rachel very honest and kind and when Pilgrim or any of my other future horses need work I know who I will be sending him too. 

Sue

WA

You know when you have a gut instinct that the Warmblood you have might be a bit too much to start on your own? Well, Donny (Donnerhall/Weltmeyer/TB) has this cheeky streak that I thought, hmmm, some professional, gentle help would really give me more confidence to start his Grand Prix career properly. So when I came up to Bakers Hill to watch Fred train and get the feel of his work, I just knew Donny would excel with Fred in this environment. Somewhere he could be a ‘real horse’… so important.
I LOVE the fact that the horses are able to watch the next training session from their room, like you say Rach, Horse TV whereby they observe and learn while they’re not being handled which is something I think confirms thinking on another level. And I like that Fred gets the horses out to ride in the open as soon as possible with Roy, the super dependable lead horse – he provides such a good safety net. So when I went up to ride Don for the first time, I was really impressed to be able to trot and canter him out on the hills in the open country which for me was the boost I needed to continue his positive training at home. And he was really happy and impressed with himself too.
Fred showed me easy, sensible techniques to keep us both safe and solid at home. Donny is more respectful, easy going and happy in his own skin from the start he had with Watkins Horse Handlers and I would recommend everyone ‘start once, start well’ with Fred and give yourself and your horse the best beginning and sound foundation. My next horse coming to Fred will by my Depardieu foal due November ’08, so keep some time aside for me Fred, we’re coming back!
Cheers! And thanks for being the quietest, gentlest, fairest leader for my horses – they appreciate you and I do too - wouldn’t use anyone else! Keep the honesty! 
Love from Pip Easton, Donny and Grace :o))

Pip

WA

Fred literally saved Lana. Having been assessed as a "failed breaker" 
by John O'Leary, John recommended that I sent her to Watkins Horse Handlers.

Right from the start, Rach was wonderful; fully explaining every step and filling me with confidence. Lana had learnt to fear people above her, which made it very difficult for her to be a riding horse, but Fred gained her trust very quickly and Lana didn't look back.

I was riding her within 10 days of being at Watkins; incredible considering her history and being told of the very real prospect that she may never come good by a high profile trainer. The bond between Lana and Fred was amazing to watch (I felt mean taking her home haha).

I cannot recommend Watkins highly enough. Fred's horsemanship skills, honesty and humbleness make him a horses' saint and Rach is fantastic at providing you with detailed emails and photos when you are unable to be there. A very professional, highly skilled and honest horse training facility!

Alison

WA

I can't begin to describe how grateful I am that I met Fred and Rachel Watkins several years ago and had the opportunity to have my ASH gelding, Copper, started by Fred earlier this year. I'm not sure how things would have turned out had Copper gone to a different trainer. I purchased Copper from the Eastern States after spending a long time looking for a well bred ASH. While Copper has a superb temperament it became immediately apparent that he had an extremely strong self-preservation instinct and a deep seated fear and mistrust of people. It took me several months to gain his trust before I sent him to Fred to be started. I was really worried about how Copper would cope especially as I had just managed to build some confidence in him but I trusted Fred. I knew that Fred always puts the horse first and if there was a problem he would be honest with me. It is rare these days to find a horseman who is not ruled by an ego but a genuine desire to help horses. This is evidenced by how often Fred picks up pain or soundness problems in horses and resolves these before going any further with a horse's training.
At one stage Fred spent several days just gaining Copper's trust without putting any pressure on him to try and break through his fear. This made an enormous difference and gave Copper the confidence he needed.

Copper was a challenging horse to start and Fred and Rachel made it very clear to me that I had to be dedicated with my time and patience if I wanted Copper to succeed once he was handed over to me. I took on board all of Fred's advice and we haven't looked back since. While we still have a way to go until Copper is a 'normal' confident horse, we have come a long way. The start that Fred gave Copper, especially his super soft mouth and lateral flexion that enables us to do one rein stops, gave me the confidence I needed to bring Copper along in his training. And Fred always makes the time to answer my questions which has also given me confidence, knowing I can always go back and get help from Fred should we need it. I am very lucky to have a horse like Copper who has taught me so much about myself and my horsemanship and Fred Watkins who made it possible for us to succeed.

Maike

WA

"I had my Arab X "Joe" started with Watkins in 2009. Fred and Rachel were brilliant to deal with and very responsive to mine and Joe's needs.
When he proved to have an issue with his ears they were immediately onto it, arranging for a vet visit to ensure there was no physical issues before dealing with it as a behavioural problem. The e-mails and phone calls I received on a regular basis were incredibly reassuring as this was the first time I had sent a horse away for starting and Joe was "my baby"...!
Joe came home calm, forward and reliable. He impressed my riding instructor with knowing how to leg yield, has an amazingly well trained one rein stop and excellent brakes! He could be turned out for a spell when he was having a growth spurt and come back in safe and reliable after a break. I can honestly say I have not had a scary moment on him in the last 2 years, because although he does get fizzy I know the basics are so well embedded, he never gets out of control.
Joe has now done his first two 40km endurance rides. He does get competitive out on track and the step by step instructions I got on dealing with any attempts to jog have been very helpful, nipping it in the bud straight away! He has also attended our local agricultural show and handled it all with complete calm, including the amazing exploding horse next to him.
I am so confident in the brakes, steering and above all ATTITUDE that Fred installed that my 7 year old daughter rides Joe in the round yard.
I have had no hesitation recommending Watkins to others who have asked about horse starting. We are expecting a foal next year and I know exactly where he or she will be going when the time comes!"

Anna

Narrogin, WA

Two and a half years ago I bought myself a little (not so little) present. He has been my pride and joy, when it came time to break him in I asked some friends for breaking recommendations. A few whose judgement I really trust recommended Fred Watkins. I was very apprehensive sending my lovely warmblood gelding off on his own, he has the capacity to be a little nervous of new people. I shouldn't have worried; Fred and Rachel treated him as their own and gave me almost daily updates! It really put my mind at ease; I knew Merlin was receiving excellent care. I went up at the end of Merlin's breaking period and enjoyed three training sessions with Fred and Merlin. It was really enlightening. It gave me confidence to take him home and turn him into my horse. Fred’s techniques have worked marvellously on Merlin and he has returned home a well adjusted, easy-going riding horse. He is light to ride, willing in his work and safe to ride pretty much anywhere. What more could you ask from a breaker? 

Thea

Bunbury, WA

Dear Fred and Rachel
Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the effort you put into starting my 3yo Warmblood Fisher King. I was really anxious about sending him away to be started, he is a once in a life time horse for me and I was so worried about something bad happening to him. As soon as I dropped him off and saw Fred working with another horse I knew I needn’t have worried. The facilities were well designed and safe, and Fred has such a quiet manner with the horses. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it out to watch Fred working with my horse very often, but Rachel was super efficient in sending out photo updates each day. When I eventually did get to ride out I was so impressed with how confident and forward my horse was. A good start really does make the difference between being able to move forward with the horses training once you get it home, or having a serious accident and getting hurt. The safety factor was paramount to me, and after 4 weeks with Fred I felt more than confident that my horse and I would be fine to carry on our training at home. I couldn’t be happier with the result, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Fred to anyone for either starting or re-training.

Mel

WA

We cannot thank Fred and Rachel from Watkins Horse Handlers enough! Our naughty pinto is now a pleasure to own and ride.
We watched Fred work many horses while our horse was there and he is a truly amazing horseman. But don’t just take Our word for it; watch the horses that are in his care, they will tell you by the look on their faces as he walks past or the expression on their face as he works them.
We could not and would not recommend any other horse breaker other than Fred Watkins from Watkins Horse Handlers. We booked our horse in with them over a year in advance just to make sure!

Kylie

Northam, WA

When it comes to horse training, Fred is in a class of his own. I have seen Fred work with some of the most complicated horses and turn them into a light, willing and cooperative partner. 
I love Fred's humble approach and you can see horses not only bond with him instantly, but respect him and his methods.
Fred has a special talent and I think if horses could vote, they would vote Fred as Prime Minister. 
Fred and Rach are simply the best and I can't recommend them highly enough.
 

Sue

WA

I recently attended a clinic with Fred and my lease horse. I have only gotten back into riding with lessons for a few years after having children. I learnt more in the weekend with Fred than years of lessons, and my confidence improved immensely. It highlighted the importance of groundwork and building a greater understanding of your horse and the relationship between you....Although my lease horse has returned to his owner, I would do another clinic with him and my new horse in a heartbeat, to lay the right foundation from the start. Fred has a unique set of skills, and is incredibly talented at what he does. It is well worth it!

Kris

WA

A few years ago I purchased a TB I'd worked with for his whole racing career. Unfortunately he'd also been drugged his whole life and never correctly educated. Once removed from that environment and with a clean system I discovered I had the most disrespectful pushy arrogant horse. After rearing up and striking someone I went to Fred thinking he was our last hope. Free and Rachel were our life savers, reassuring me that it wasn't my fault as I'd been led to believe and that I did have a lovely horse that could be turned around. Fred had him going amazing and installed some respect in my horse within days. I spent 4 weeks there not only having everything covered with my horse from groundwork, leg restraint training (which has been the best thing ever taught!) to self loading but also learning the techniques and methods myself. This is the best thing about Fred- he teaches you as well so you can go home with your horse and carry on with exactly what he's done. My horse is completely unrecognizable from the one I bought now and full of respect. I recently did a 3 day clinic with Fred to find any holes in our work and again Fred notices them immediately and is able to provide the fix. I highly recommend Watkins as breakers/trainers/re-educators to everyone for any issue they may have.

Tiffany

Pinjarra, WA

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2018 by Watkins Horse Handlers.