18 July 2022

How Warwick Schiller built an empire around his legendary brand of horsemanship

| Edwina Mason
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People at CSU Equine Centre in chairs watching Warwick Schiller and a horse

Just weeks ago hundreds of horse enthusiasts gathered at Wagga Wagga’s CSU Equine Centre to hear Warwick Schiller speak. Photo: Edwina Mason.

It was almost biblical the way the sun shot through the clerestory windows at around 3 pm on one of Wagga’s coldest June days, throwing a man and a glossy golden horse under an unscripted spotlight.

Perhaps it was fitting for the arrival of that man from an undulating 1200 acres outside Young to his following who, dedicated to his particular brand of horsemanship, took their BYO camp chairs to Charles Sturt University’s equine indoor arena to hear him speak.

Warwick Schiller does not shy from sharing the odyssey that has been his transition from competitive riding to horse training and his parallel story of transformational personal growth.

Google him. The pages proliferate. His 15-year-old self would be hard pressed to swallow how influential he became in the world of horses and humans.

Anyone who knows the Schiller family from Young will know two things – first, there are a lot of them and second, many are naturally gifted in the equine world.

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Young Warwick was well and truly astride a horse before he reached double digits, earning his bumps in the rough and tumble world of rodeo competition. He trailed around southern NSW behind his father Ray who had a knack for staying on a bull or bronc, even bare-backed.

Ray said Warwick and his older brothers Steve and Andrew mastered poddy calves and pony club as young’uns before they moved on to western-style riding where they competed – and excelled – at a national level. All the while they bred and trained outstanding quarter horses.

Once he hit his 20s Warwick, as Ray put it, “got the bug”, left his nine-to-five banking job and flew to the United States for a year to learn about training horses.

Warwick Schiller at home in the US with two of his horses Bella and Bodhi

Warwick Schiller at home in the US with two of his horses Bella and Bodhi. Photo: Warwick Schiller.

“The day I was leaving to come back to Australia, the bloke I worked for in the US – we shook hands on his veranda and he said ‘if you want to come back, I’ll give you a job’,” Warwick said.

“He said ‘you could do this for a living if you wanted to’.

“I’d never considered that I could do it for a living – I didn’t think of it as an option.”

Six months later he returned to train horses while pursuing his passion – reining. He was eventually crowned a National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) reserve world champion and went on to represent Australia at the 2010 and 2018 World Equestrian Games.

After successfully coaching individuals who garnered coveted national and international reining titles, another metier manifested – an uncanny ability to convey his knowledge to others.

Today the affable California-based 55-year-old with a prodigious talent for narrative has garnered an international following well north of six figures.

Warwick Schiller Attuned Horsemanship followers can join the 41,000 others on social media platforms, access his knowledge through books, videos, virtual lessons and clinics or get inspiration on his website. They can also share in his continuing journey through some 82 episodes of The Journey On Podcast with Warwick Schiller, where guests join the show to discuss their own life-altering stories, sharing their motivations and influences along the way.

Warwick’s YouTube channel alone has 100,000 subscribers, clocking over 25 million views.

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Based in Hollister California, Warwick spends his time between teaching clinics in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe. Otherwise, he’s riding camels across Mongolia or working horses for a prince in Morocco.

None of it came easily. But he will tell you that his wife Robyn and son Tyler, his life lessons and his “aha” moments in life have all come from horses.

In taking the path of the trainer and the teacher, Warwick became the student.

“I wasn’t the talented one in our family,” he said.

“My brother Steve was extremely talented; I really had to work at it.

“With the horses – I could ride, right, but I didn’t get better until I learned a process and learned it inside out and back to front. And that’s probably one of the reasons I can teach these days. I know people who are really, really good with horses and natural with them, but they can’t tell you what they do. I’ve had to quantify it frontwards, backwards inside out before I could do it.”

Man and woman riding horses

Warwick with wife Robyn at home in the US. Photo: Warwick Schiller.

His recent one-week visit to Australia was geared primarily to visit family after two long years of COVID restrictions. But while he and Robyn – a world championship rider in her own right – were here, they held their first ever “Resolving Anxiety in Horse and Human” masterclass.

The event sold out in minutes. Capped initially at 100 people, then 400 people, registrations closed at 500 people. One attendee flew from New Zealand especially.

A handful of horses were rolled out on the day, willing vessels through which Warwick and Robyn communicated their own personal struggles and the solutions to training they found through soul searching and self-help.

Furlongs away from the days when riders would use all means possible to mould horses into submission, the Schiller approach leans toward compassionate synergism and common sense.

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Horses with their innate ability to mirror their handlers’ feelings, physical movements and emotions, are masters at sniffing out incompatible inner and outer landscapes. Their use in equine therapy to increase a person’s self-awareness is well documented.

Warwick said approaches have evolved to be less about technique these days and more about energy and intention.

“You can get those horses to a point where you can get them to do stuff from your energy and your intention,” he said.

“It’s more about helping people be better with themselves so they can be better with their horses. It’s not about what you do; it’s about who you are.

“The thing I found helping people with their horses is the changes they make in order to get along with the horses reverberate through the rest of their life.”

Says the man who has lived it.

For more information on Warwick visit his website.

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Hazel Watson8:18 am 22 Jul 22

Fabulous story.Thankyou ….

Jennifer May Rogers8:32 pm 20 Jul 22

He is a fantastic horse and person man

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