Sean is the kind of guy that holds a deep respect for two camps. 

Staunchly Australian, he loves our stockman’s heritage. He is, however, equally at home on a fine bridle horse, taking one down the fence, romals in hand. Sean was given a unique gift as a young fella that was so rare at the time that he feels he owes the rest of his life to chasing and teaching the echoes of the ghosts of great men gone before him.

As a young strapping lad, son of one of the cutting horse legends, Terry O’Hanlon, Sean was a keen horseman. He enjoyed riding the well-broke horses that were available to him, but never really considered that they were anything special until he had the chance to spread his wings. It wasn’t until he got out into the world that he appreciated the soft and responsive horses that were in abundance around him growing up.

After Ag College and colt starting around Australia, keen young Sean set off to the US – already having spent time with many Australian legends, he then got to rub shoulders with many of “the greats” including Tom Dorrance and Greg and John Ward at the Ward Ranch in California. The next three and a half years he would call the Ward Ranch home, honing his skills in the cutting and reined cowhorse pen, being exposed to and learning from the great masters of their time.

Sean has crafted his knowledge of training on the mechanical flag, drawing on the information from these mentors. He doesn’t use it as a “replacement for a cow” – rather a tool to teach physical diligence, coordination and an almost mindfulness to teach the horse about how to use their body effectively. He speaks about how he puts all his horses on the mechanical cow regardless of discipline, as it teaches them to be able to lengthen and shorten their body as needed. He speaks about how even a show jumper needs to have this knowledge and discipline about themselves – they need to be able to lengthen between fences, shorten their body to take off, lengthen over the fence, shorten to land, and lengthen to the next fence. He talks about how it is an example of teaching a concept before you teach technique, where much of the modern training does the opposite. If you can teach the horse the concept of “follow the flag” – then you don’t need to micromanage technique to achieve results.

Firstly, he believes that he is there for the horse. The fact that he really enjoys helping people is a bonus – because at the end of the day, there is no point in being the most gifted horseman in the world if you constantly rub people up the wrong way, or teach in a way that is confusing or belittling for the human.

Lastly, he feels that ribbons and accolades are only a by-product of a good horse. If the world can appreciate a good horse and man has not had to sacrifice the horse’s mind, body or spirit to get there, then he will always be like “The Man in The Glass”.

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