NEWS > Education
Posted by Equestrian Australia on 18/07/2016.
David Dobson in the World Cup during the Adelaide 3 Day Event in 2015
Julie Wilson


COACH OF THE MONTH is a regular series in our Evolve e-News. It is a way of highlighting the EA coaches and educators who work with dedication and passion all over Australia.

David Dobson or "Dobbo", 58 years old, is an NCAS Level 1 Coach from Western Australia. He is also one of our top World Cup riders in Australia. He has two children. His eldest is fourteen and she is very keen in horse riding. She has a really good little pony from David Cameron and she has done very well with her. 

David became interested in horses because his sister was interested in hacking. "We started riding when I was five and I think she was seven. I got tagged along," said David. "I spent a few years doing hacking but then went to pony club."

David's family moved to Melbourne when he was about 10 and that is where he started doing some Eventing, Showjumping and taking lessons. Then the family moved again, to Sydney (Camden) this time when David was about fourteen and by then he was already competing in Eventing but mostly ShowJumping. He was riding strong Galloways for different owners and also had a couple of his own ponies. "I was leading rider in Sydney for juniors one year – I think I was sixteen. So that’s where the Showjumping, sort of, really got stronger - when I was in Sydney – and that’s when I decided that that’s where I wanted to head."

When he was sixteen his Dad got transferred to Queensland and bought a farm. David left school and started Showjumping full time. "Showjumping at that point in time was much stronger than Eventing in Australia so that is just how I went towards it. Of course now, Eventing has become really big here." 

David splits his time between his own stables as a succesful World Cup rider and coach. He wears his coaching hat 2-3 days a week. "I have very good staff, so the horses get worked by my team while I am away. I have a group in Sydney that I teach, I go every couple of months, and there is David Cameron, Jamie Kermond and Jamie Winning when they’re home. I go to Melbourne every few months and then I have two different stables that I teach at in Perth. I do teach at my own stables as well."

"I have a partner with who I have a small property down south where we breed a few horses but I’m not really a breeder. I have two stallions that I use a little bit, and they serve with outside mares. Booth very good competition horses, one called Concord Ego Z that I own with David Cameron and one called Palm Beach that I own myself. So I do breed with those two horses and I have 2-3 of my own broodmares."

Competition wise, David's three best horses are Oaks Zena that is owned by the Tucker family, Concord, owned by Alice Cameron and himself, and finally his other stallion Palm that has just started jumping 1.40m.

David spent two years in America in the early 80s and had some coaching from George Morris [American rider, silver medallist and former U.S. Showjumping coach]: "I realised at that point that Australians really just did it naturally, and that possibly that wasn’t going to cut it when things got harder. We have seen the sport go a lot more international and get a lot more technical and difficult. Obviously, back in those days our riders probably did extremely well from a very natural base, but now as the sport has progressed we need to ride better on the flat, have the horses better educated and be more attuned to doing it "properly" rather than just doing it "by the feel of the pant". I think helping the higher level riders, like David Cameron and Jamie Kermond, it’s not just about coaching and all the things that go with that. It’s also a little bit of what the horses should be doing at a certain level and the management of those horses. The most success that I have had is in teaching younger people and having them progress through juniors to young riders to World Cup. Anna McGregor and Stef Tucker have won World Cups and I started teaching them when they were thirteen and that’s very rewarding. Kids like Anna and Stef  are good riders and also produce nice young horses. 

David has been on the State Committee and the National Showjumping Committee, but now having two teenage children he finds his spare time is extremely limited, even though he would love to be able to contribute. "We have a club called Pegasus which runs some shows and does some fundraising, along with that we have a committee with some of my friends. So, that is how involved I am at this point. I have left commitments that I would really look forward to going back to possibly in the future."

David's ambition in the future is to continue to produce nice horses and hopefully find one good enough to take to Europe or America. "I think I would like to see Australia produce a competitive team in the Nations Cup and World Championships and of course I would love being part of that."

We will see David at the Adelaide Royal and at the Australian Showjumping Championships in September. Meanwhile, like all of us, he will be following the Games in Rio with attention. "Obviously the Eventers are looking great and performed very well on the weekend. Edwina and James Paterson-Robinson horses are looking really good. I have not seen Scott and Matty’s (Williams) horses go, but otherwise I think they are all looking pretty good."

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