Bruce has been breaking my horses for the past 5 years. He would break in around 10 horses a year for me and I have not had to return any for re-education, with some having spent 2 years in the paddock after being broken in. I have complete confidence in the horses when they are returned and my track riders know that the horses have been well handled and prepared but the time they have to handle them.
Bruce would have to be the best horse beaker that we have ever had.
I was looking for a kind breaker who uses a gentle approach to start my very special 5yo Partbred Arabian gelding Robbie (Van Heusen) under saddle, being close to 17hh and a very smart and sensitive boy i was not as keen to start him myself as i would have always done in the past. Lots of friends recommended various breakers which only made the decision of where to send him harder, always in the back of my mind i kept thinking that you only get one go at starting them. Then at a show i was talking to a friend who had sent her mare to Bruce O’Dell and she highly recommended him and suggested i contact him. I emailed Bruce to enquire and Jane sent me out their info pack, whilst at a friends in Maryborough i messaged Bruce to see if i could drop in to meet him and have a look at their setup before deciding to send him there. As they were away competing at the time i was not able to meet Bruce, but we drove past on the way home and were imediately impressed with his set up, i decided that this was the right place to send him so a couple of days later i bit the bullet and booked him in. Jane was fantastic in keeping me updated with his progress, sending regular messages and photos. Within the first couple of days he was saddled and on him in the round yard and riding around his property, after the first week he was riding him up the road and in the arena, ànd that was when i definately knew i made the right decision sending him to Bruce to start. I went up weekly to watch Bruce work him and each week the progression was amazing. Bruce always took time out of his busy day to make me feel welcome. The day i went to pick him up to come home Bruce spent time putting him through his paces before it was my turn to hop on and have my first ride, which was truely incredible. He returned home after 5 weeks with a good solid basic education and going more like a horse that had been going for several months than weeks, he was balanced, light, picking up canter leads, sensible and quiet up the roads, even able to hop straight on after a couple of weeks break with no fuss. Both Bruce and Jane take amazing care of your horse whilst in their care, Bruce is not just a horseman he is truely a magician and i highly recommend him to anyone looking to send their horse out for starting.
I had just purchase a young warmblood called Basil and thought the best thing before him coming home was to get him broken him as he is quite a tall boy.
When asking around Bruce’s name was brought up and all I heard was great reports about him. So I booked him in. From the day he got there they keep me posted on how things were and were quite accommodating answering all my questions . Bruce is one of those men that just loves the horses and has a kind confident way with them and the horses just love him. Basil responded really well and looked well the whole way through . Jane , Bruce’s wife was great to deal with and is the other half of the team and between them I knew exactly how Basil was going. I was very excited when the day came to ride him and he didn’t disappoint . Basil is to be my future dressage horse and I look forward to the journey.
Took him home and after a couple of weeks riding Basil was turned out this time off lasted 4 months . So after 4 months I decided it was time to get back in the saddle so gave him a 5 minute lunge and got on. Well it’s was like I had ridden him yesterday we walked trotted and cantered and you couldn’t wipe the smile of my face. Proof what a great job Bruce had done on him , basil was happy and confident horse. Thanks Bruce!! You have given us the best start to our journey together .
Shauleen Rooney and Basil
Emirates Park has used the services of Bruce O’Dell several times. Bruce has broken in our yearlings and we have been very pleased with their education. We have received timely reports and photographs which we appreciate. Last season we sent a weanling that was very difficult to handle.
Bruce did a magnificent job with the weanling and it returned in immaculate condition and was well mannered.
Bruce O’Dell has been my farrier for a number of years and I have been impressed with his care and positive approach to the horses and his work. I have closely watched him handle and break in horses.
I am confident to HIGHLY RECOMMEND him to any person in any equine discipline looking for an exceptional breaker.
Margaret McIvor – Dressage Olympian
NCAS LEVEL 3 DRESSAGE COACH EDUCATOR AND ASSESSOR
I first came into contact with Bruce O’Dell when the farrier I had been using let me down (yet again) and in desperation I phoned the local Equine vet clinic to ask for their recommendations for farriers. Top of their list was Bruce. Needless to say, Bruce was very busy, but said he would come to help me out. Which he did, and has been a wonderful farrier … always came, always did a good job, always returned phone calls. What more could anybody ask.
When Bruce said he was giving up shoeing horses and concentrating on breaking and/or retraining, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. As it happened I had 2 horses who needed someone like Bruce. There were both broken in, but both had problems and at my age I wasn’t prepared to cope with them myself. So off they went to Bruce’s lovely property. A couple of friends (very knowledgeable horse people) and I went to visit Bruce to see him with the horses. He has that lovely quiet, confident manner about him that immediately relaxes all horses and they happily plod around either by his side or underneath him. We were all impressed when he rode them, on the most horrible wet, wild and windy day, and they were so relaxed.
Bruce did a wonderful job with both of them … especially the one who was sour and wouldn’t go forward. I can now ride him around the paddocks, on the manege
… and he’s a lovely free-moving and forward horse. The other, a difficult 10 year old mare, is now an absolute model of decorum. I couldn’t be happier with they way they’ve turned out.
Rosemary Dalton – A Level Dressage Judge
The thing that impresses me the most about Bruce is his unflappable nature when dealing with horses. Everything that I have seen him do is done in such a relaxed manner. He is never in a hurry! I had two unhandled yearlings which he caught, gave them a basic leading lesson and had them self loading onto his float for further handling at his property.
Both horses were completely unstressed in anyway, It was truly magical to watch Bruce bond with these horses.
Thanks for doing such a great job with Leo, he left here a cheeky little 3yo and came home a well mannered, forward moving, nicely balanced young fellow. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the job you did with him and I will be sending my up and coming endurance horses in the not so distant future. It’s great to know that when I send my horses away to be started that they will be treated with respect and kindness. Love the updates you sent through too.
Thanks again, Donna Freeburn – Balgower Arabians
We breed and train Warmblood dressage horses and have tried numerous breakers over the years. It was recommened 3 years ago that we try Bruce O’Dell by clients of his at Werribee. What we find exceptional about Bruce’s Starting under Saddle is how far along in the early stages of their career his breakers are. Relisticaly, if you have a rough idea of horsemanship you can get a horse “ridden”. It just needs to be so desensentised, that it excepts you in the saddle. From there you get , pull the left rein, they go left, pull the right rein, they go right. They wind down to a stop and shake their heads with their mouthes open until they stop ! . This is what i have been excepting back from other breakers, and it then takes us 6 to 8 weeks to get the basics put on them. Bruce’s breakers come back to us, rounded up on the bit, moving hips and shoulders, holding 20 metre circles. They can be mounted off a block on a loose rein, and are ridden in an English Saddle. Bruce goes above and beyond his call of duty to do the “little things” that are essential in the big picture.
His mild patient disposition speaks through his horses. They all work relaxed, eat well, and hold their condition because they are not stressed. The e-mails we receive are reasuring. we can see exactly where our horses are up to, and exactly what is being done with them. They photos are the proof that he is true to his word. If you are seeking an “educator”, i would not hesistate in recommending Bruce and his Staff as an investment in your horses.
Regards, Scarlett Harris
One of the best clinics I have attended covering everything from ground work, float loading to riding for beginners and more advanced riders.
Lessons – as an older person learning to ride, converting the “lingo” so I could understand, and gaining confidence with my horse and my ability, has never been made more easy. NO question was too SMALL or SILLY. Jane adapted my lack of “correct horse terminology” to everyday language, so I could understand the instructions being given. No question I threw at her was ever dismissed as irrelevant. I am in my 50’s, underconfident and inexperienced, but with so much experience from so many disciplines Jane and Bruce have been invaluable in their ability to relate to me and pass on their vast knowledge to suit my ever changing needs.
We at Oakford Thoroughbred Farm have out sourced our breaking-in to Bruce O’Dell over the past three years. We have been very pleased with all aspects of Bruce’s expertise in breaking-in and general horse management. All of the horses have returned to us in excellent condition, well educated and a pleasure to ride and handle. An important factor also is that Bruce is willing to follow-up on any horse that may require further assistance. We have no hesitation in recommending Bruce for breaking in Thoroughbreds and we will continue to send our horses to him so that we can then get maximum benefit on the racetrack.
I was looking for a good trainer at the time so happened to mention Bruce’s name the next time I spoke with my farrier, who is a very knowledgeable and skilful young horseman. After he described Bruce as a “magician” it was settled in my mind to give him a call!
I had a highly strung but very smart and sensitive 3 year old Arabian gelding named Arfaja Silver Bard who I wanted broken in, as well as a 7 year old mare who had been started by another trainer many years earlier but who hadn’t been properly broken in and needed to be completely restarted from scratch.
Bruce was wonderful to speak with on the phone and when my husband and I arrived at his property we were immediately impressed by his very professional set up.
As soon as we met Bruce it became apparent that we’d found someone special.
Bruce has that calm, relaxed, soft-spoken confidence which I’ve come to learn only the very best horsemen have. He immediately instils confidence in horses (and owners!). Bruce’s lovely wife Jane is also an exceptional horsewoman in her own right.
Throughout the time the horses were with Bruce we received ongoing feedback about how they were progressing and it was wonderful receiving emails with photos of Bruce and Bard out on their first rides together!
When we picked the horses up Bruce took plenty of time to put them through their paces and then accompanied me on a long ride so I could really get a feel for how both were going. He made absolutely sure that I was comfortable with both of the horses and their progress.
I am extremely impressed with how soft and responsive Bard is, and what an amazing stop he has, and my mare, who was definitely more difficult given her age and some bad habits learned from her earlier experience, now has a proper and solid foundation upon which we can continue her education.
I will send all of my young stock to Bruce in future and find it a great comfort to know that my horses will receive the best of care and an excellent start to their ridden careers based on his calm and respectful approach.
I would highly recommend Bruce O’Dell to anyone wanting a horse started or re-educated.
Joanne Costigan, Arfaja Arabians, Ercildoune, Victoria, May 2012
Bruce is a brilliant horseman. It is amazing to watch him with young horses. His kind, firm but gentle approach keeps the horses relaxed and gives them confidence. To start young horses with such a positive education that will stay with them forever is very important. I wish that all race horses could have this foundation.
Bruce has started a number of our thoroughbreds from Wyndholm Park. Their education includes being taken through barriers and ridden around the race track at Dowling Forest.
One of my fondest memories was when Bruce took six of our young 2 year olds to start their education. On their return to the stud, they came off the truck in immaculate condition. Bruce swung up on one filly that only had a headstall and lead on, rode her back to her paddock leading another filly off the side.
I have just had Bruce start a young warmblood gelding that I bred for myself. Once again I am thrilled with the result. He works in a lovely frame, is off my leg and canter leads are correct.
Jane does a fantastic job, giving you updates and emailing photos so that you know how your horse is progressing.
Their would be so many happier horses out there if they could get the start that Bruce and Jane O’Dell can give.
Kaye Whykes, Stud Manager, Wyndhom Park
Bruce has been shoeing our racehorses since 2007 and when I heard he was offering a breaking/pre-training service in 2009, I sent two yearlings to him.I chose Bruce as he is a great horsemen and his work with horses is simply amazing to watch. He is calm, patient and the horse is not put under any pressure or any unnecessary stress. My yearlings are now confident in their work and are very well educated. I highly recommend Bruce as a breaker, pre-trainer, re-educator and farrier to anyone wanting the job done right… the first time!