Horses have always been a part of Donal Hancock’s life. Learning to ride was out of necessity, and it was the way work got done on the remote cattle station that he called home. It was his hunger to learn more about the true capability of the horse and the opportunity to work with some of the best horse trainers in the world that made Donal the horseman he is today. 

Donal grew up in a remote part of Australia on a cattle station known as Saddlers Springs. From moving cattle, boundary riding and crossing land inaccessible by any other means,horses were essential for work. It wasn’t until Donal was 19 years old, that the idea of training horses or riding for pleasure, entered his mind.  

Donal’s late teens took him to the Northern Territory, and success in rodeos and bull riding drove him to the coast of Queensland. Donal made contacts that led to an audition with the Australian Outback Spectacular show on the Gold Coast. This was his first glimpse into the world of liberty and the true capability of horses — a glimpse that ignited a hunger to learn as much as he could.

Donal’s quest for knowledge took him to America, where he apprenticed under Double Dan Horsemanship. Donal spent time with not only Dan James and Dan Steers but also the likes of Craig Johnson, Heath Harris, Josh Lyons and KYB Dressage. It was this time, witnessing some of the most talented horsemen and horsewomen, that opened his eyes to an incredible level of skill of both horse and rider that he could aspire to. 

Donal invested time working with experts in a variety of disciplines and specialities such as liberty, reining, camp drafting, cutting and dressage; this has helped him to develop a well-rounded idea of horsemanship.

Upon returning to Australia, Donal worked for Jay Charnock, furthering his knowledge and experience in colt starting before founding Hancock Horsemanship in 2016, developing and fine tuning his own program.

Donal is now a respected Australian colt starter, trainer and clinician based in Queensland, Australia, where he continues to teach, show, train and travel to horsemanship clinics. Learn more about Hancock Horsemanship at

Donals’s Competition history includes the 2017 TEQ Trainers Challenge: Champion, 2019 NZ Equitana “Way of the Horse” Team Australia Champion, 2021 Cowgirls Gathering Liberty Competition Champion and a 2023 Man from Snowy River Colt Starting Competitor.

When I was a kid growing up in the remote outback of Australia, if you had told me that I would be competing for a world championship title in colt starting, I don’t think I would have believed it. It is with no small amount of gratitude to the people that have made this possible that I look forward to the opportunity to represent Australia at Road to the Horse 2024”

Donal Hancock