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Interview with Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship

Published: 1/16/2013
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

Dan James.
Another Australian making it happen in the U.S.

James and his business partner, Dan Steers, make up Double Dan Horsemanship, a brand drawing broad clinic and entertainment interest here and Down Under. Last year, he shared the Road to the Horse title with fellow Aussie Guy McLean.

I spoke with James at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer after his ‘Pathway to Liberty’ presentation at the Alberta Horse Breeders & Owners Conference.
He said he was ‘very nervous’ presenting without a horse, but I’ve never seen a horseman work a PowerPoint presentation so well.

Like a lot of horse professionals, James has had very little formal schooling. By age 14, he was on the road, starting colts.

Read Part II

Interview Excerpts:

MBG: You seem to have horses, people, and presentations all figured out. How do you do it?

DJ: I think, in all honesty, a lot of it comes down to survival. We’re very blessed and fortunate that a lot Aussies that come to America seem to do reasonably well in this business. A lot of that comes from survival.

MBG: But you’re not just surviving. You’re prospering.

DJ: Right. But I think it’s that whole background that gives you the drive and motivation because here’s reality:
I’ve invested basically my life, my horses, and every cent I have. If I don’t do well enough over hear, then that’s it. This has to work.
You have to have that attitude…and I’ve got to have the right people around me.

Until 12 months ago, Dan Steers and I did everything as far as marketing ourselves and running the business. We’re very, very fortunate now that things have grown and we have become partners with Taylor Made (a well-known thoroughbred operation).
We have a marketing company that we employ and we’ve got two interns. We’ve got one manager full-time running the office. So that’s helped.  [The support] will let us get back to our roots.

What I say to our interns on the road:
'Those horses that we’re carting around…They are our life. Without them, what we are are words. With them we show people, we inspire people.
That’s what makes this happen.'

What I say to our interns on the road:
'Those horses that we’re carting around…They are our life. Without them, what we are are words. With them we show people, we inspire people.
That’s what makes this happen.'

Read Part II

View Reader Comments:

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1/16/2013 Dr. Stephen Peters
Dan James is a very impressive, personable and hard working young man of many talents. He is one of those rare individuals that is just as good with people as he is with horses and always open minded to learning. You cant go wrong by checking him out!
1/16/2013 Debbie Frailey
Dan is a fantastic individual. Anyone who gets the opportunity to meet him, talk with him and learn from him is going to become a better person and horse owner. He puts his whole heart into what he does and every horse can only benefit from what he has to offer. I LOVE Double Dan.
1/17/2013 Sonja Haught
Dan and his crew are awesome! Not only is Dan fantastic and amazing to watch, he is equally as amazing as a teacher. His horses are beautiful and you can see their relationship. I have been fortunate enough to have the chance to attend the first 2 of his mini clinics in Ocala, FL. They were inspiring! I am eagerly anticipating future clinics.
5/31/2014 JacJac LovesTexas
I just discovered Dan James last night on Mustang Millionare on The National Geographic Channel. What awesome horsemanship to be competing in this competition/show out of "cowtown" Fort-worth Texas. So proud of our Aussie boy, that's an incredible achievement! Will be watching every episode!
11/28/2014 Mark Kestel
Dan James is not only a fine young man among men, he is a damn fine horseman among horsemen. He is a credit to himself, his family and his country for making the most of, and sharing this gift he has been blessed with. Good on ya mate!

"Speak kindly to your little horse, and soothe him when he wheezes, or he may turn his back on you, and kick you where he pleases" - Anonymous