The horseman, Dan James, succeeds by relentless attention to detail and he tries to instill that focus into those who attend his clinics. Dan is one half of Double Dan Horsemanship, he resides in Lexington, Kentucky, while his friend and partner, Dan Steers, holds down the fort in Australia.
James' reputation continues to grow with wins and highly placed showings at events such as the 2008 Way of the Horse at Equitana Asia Pacific, a highly popular win at the 2012 Road To The Horse with fellow Australian, Guy McLean, a fourth place finish at the 2013 Mustang Millions riding Smart Little Mustang (know by his barn name, Punk, this mustang died of colic in February of 2014) and by winning the 2014 Kentucky Cup Freestyle Championship on Smart Little Elan. You can see both of these rides on YouTube by typing in, Dan James. I guarantee you will be impressed by both his ability and his creativity.
James is well known for Roman Riding and for his astonishing work with horses at liberty. Not to be lost in all of this is his exceptional skill as a rider. My horse's trainer says that above all else, Dan James is an incredible rider.
Within minutes of introducing ourselves at the start of the clinic, James had made the connection between faces and names, an art form at which I've never been very good. From then on he never failed to call anyone by other than their correct name! And he made it clear from the beginning that we would work hard, stay busy and that he would spend time with each of us. He reminded us that we had invested time and a considerable sum in his clinic and that we should try to take away from it as much as possible.
This was a ground control clinic that would stress five elements: flexing the horse for softness, circling the horse around you, backing the horse, the side pass and disengaging the horse's hind quarters. We were quizzed repeatedly on each of these five elements as a part of that attention to detail. Each of the exercises was done quietly without raising a cloud of dust and while remaining almost stationary near our horse's shoulder. James was looking for movement from the horse and not the horseman. By the way, the experience level of those in attendance varied from rank beginner to very proficient riders.