Ready to perform is trick rider Callum Snell on his mount Apollo.
Ready to perform is trick rider Callum Snell on his mount Apollo. Jacklyn Wagner

Yeeha! Trick riding show is on

TRICK rider Callum Snell can’t remember a day in his life that he hasn’t seen a horse.

For the past 12 months, the 21-year-old has spent almost every waking hour working with his favourite four-legged animals as part of the Horseman from Snowy River show, which opens at the Lismore Showground tonight.

The show, being billed as an Australian Outback Extravaganza, is a two-hour indoor spectacular featuring 17 of Australia’s most magnificent performance horses, including Arabian and Friesian stallions, Clydesdales and miniature ponies.

Mr Snell said a lot of time and effort went into preparing for the shows, as well as caring for the horses during the show season.

“Our day starts with the horses at 7.30 in the morning,” he said.

“And that’s feeding, stable work, cleaning stables and washing the horses until lunch time. Then we train after lunch, sometimes until six.

“On show days we have a couple of hours off, but we don’t really stop until 11 at night.”

Horse master and show creator Rene Gasser is a seventh generation horseman whose family originally worked with horses in the Swiss military before moving into show business.

Mr Gasser said the show was a fun-filled family event with plenty of action and lots of laughs, including comedy routines with the miniature ponies and Clydesdales, as well as Tam the Wonder Dog.

He also said there would be some audience participation, but declined to give any details for fear of detracting from the show’s ‘wow’ factor.

“This show has been one of our most successful shows,” Mr Gasser said.

“People really warm up from the opening act, which is reminiscent of the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony, and from then on the audience is really involved.”

While Mr Gasser is renowned for his expertise working with horses across all disciplines, including dressage and camp drafting, he said it was training horses to perform that was the most rewarding.

“I grew up with horses and I’m just in love with them,” Mr Gasser said.

“It takes time to train a young horse, but when they finally achieve that first movement you’ve been asking for, it’s such a buzz.

“It takes a lot of time and patience.”

And patience is something Mr Gasser has plenty of, according to Mr Snell.

“Working with Rene has shown me just how a man can have so much patience and tolerance with a horse,” he said.

“He doesn’t force anything on the horse. The horse has to be willing to do what he is asking.

“When we train a horse for an act, it takes as long as it takes, it doesn’t matter, as long as it remains positive.”

Aspiring horse whisperers can learn from Mr Gasser at a special one-hour clinic on Thursday, August 4, at 7.30pm.

The Horseman from Snowy River will perform eight shows at the Lismore Showground from tonight until Sunday, August 8.

A basic family pass (two adults, two kids) costs $120. Concessions are also available.

For more information phone 1300 365 700, or visit

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