Training heavy horses

Although gentle by nature and keen to work, heavy horses are powerful and heavy, so that you need to be trained to handle and work them – by someone who knows their job. Apart from hurting yourself and the horse, and perhaps others, a good horse handled by a poorly trained person can spoil the horse.

Andrew Lucas of Warwick Park has been trained, from scratch, by John Patterson of Ascot Vale in Melbourne. Known to everyone as "Patto", he has broken and trained horses for many years, and specialised in dealing with difficult horses - ones that owners have been unable to handle without expert help.


Patto has stables and a training facility in Crown Street, Ascot Vale, off Flemington Road. He is the last of the trainers in this area and trains Clydesdales of the Carlton & United Breweries (home of "Fosters Lager") and the Adelaide-based Coopers Brewery.

Also, Patto is the Clerk of the Course for the Flemington Race Course, home of the "Melbourne Cup", assisted by his son Shane who is an expert saddler and harness maker - also a skill that is increasingly difficult to find.

John's life and expertise is recorded in this interesting article.