🤩 Leah Read

Without ruffles or airs or graces, Leah speaks frankly and bluntly about her rise to fame in the equine world. Uncomfortable with the notoriety and fluff that comes with her success, she speaks matter of factly about her horsemanship journey.

Growing up on cattle properties, Leah started riding at a very tender age and quickly turned into a young girl that had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Leah’s mum Sandie initially used to ride in clinics and lessons with Ken May, a renowned Australian horseman. At that time Ken had an age restriction – he wouldn’t teach anyone under the age of twelve. Luckily Leah’s grit and talent enabled her to fly under this radar and pretty soon she was riding with him often. This led to a traineeship with him in year 10 where she would ride with him one day a week during the school year. This evolved into a fulltime position after finishing school, that Leah really credits with her strong and solid horsemanship foundation.

Ken and Anita were some of the “most best humans, horsepeople and friends” that anyone could ever have wanted and helped instill in her a way of starting colts and developing horses without sacrificing their spirit and minds. This led to her riding with the likes of Martin Black and attending the Horsemans Reunion – an immersive 6-day event where 20 of the world’s best colt starters converge to demonstrate their colt starting abilities. She said to be able to witness such amazing horsemanship at such a young age made a huge impression on her and really set her up to invest in always giving whatever horse she was working with – the absolute best start possible. To be able to handle horses in such a kind and productive manner just blew her mind. She says she feels just very fortunate to have landed in some wonderful opportunities for learning and credits her parents in instilling in her a strong work ethic and curious mind.
“A good horseman or horsewoman doesn’t need to be riding the best horse, they just need to have the tools to be making the best of the horse they have under them and doing their absolute best by the horse every time.”
A girl who has an absolute jam packed schedule – sale upon sale, client upon client, it is hard for Leah to have any space in her life other than horses – she says it’s pretty lucky that she “doesn’t like anything other than good horses and good cattle and thankfully she has all of those” – but says with the help of good friends and family, they have helped make space in her life for some other interests. Chuckling, she admits she recently tried to teach herself guitar because she thought it might improve her riding – “but turns out I’m not very good at that” she says with a laugh “and it didn’t really improve my riding anyway”.

When asked about the gender divide in the horse industry, she is contemplative. “I don’t think that being a female has been a disadvantage. It is what has set me apart. The competitive side of me likes the challenge of ‘if you can do it, well so can I’ – I always say that I’m just trying to keep up with the guys but secretly I’m just trying to get ahead of them! The truth is I always try to ride one or two points harder than everyone else because I think that is what it takes to make up the gap.”

Her advice to someone starting out in this industry – “Ken always said to me – ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how long you can last”. You can never be on top all the time, but you can be consistent. Stick with someone for as long as you can whilst learning from as many people as you can. Keep going and keep learning.
Her goals are honest, pure and big – Sell a million dollars’ worth of horses and win Cloncurry Stockmans Challenge. She wants horses that come out of her program to be the absolute best of their ability and be competitive for their owners and have longevity. Her measure of success would be that her horses, a reflection of her love, passion, work and drive are coming out of her very own crafted program being the best they can be. Her parting words? Keep the fire in your belly alive, girls.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Shopping Cart