Phil Dawson Cutting Horses and Training Clinics
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Dawson Working Dogs

Phil Dawson Training Clinics

Phil Dawson Cutting Horses and Training Clinics

Bring it on...Can't wait!

[Photo by Wild Fillies Photography.  Phil Dawson & Foo Licious, winners of 2013 NCHA Futurity.]

Phil Dawson is a born competitor blessed with a love of life, a hard work ethic and a desire to achieve. He has channelled these attributes into the cutting world and has now made a professional career out of training cutting horses and competing at the elite level. This love of cutting is a life shared with his wife Bernadette and their sons Samuel and Hayden.

The Phil Dawson Story

Phil was born in Armidale, NSW and as a child was a farm boy who learnt to ride and enjoyed mustering and all the things farm kids do, but it was his school sports of soccer, cricket and golf that were his passions. He excelled in all three and spent all his spare time perfecting these sports. The horses he had access to weren’t of competition standard, so it didn’t occur to him to follow this direction even though his father was a keen follower of Cutting horses and attended cutting events as a spectator.

Phil Dawson[Photo by Wild Fillies Photography.  Phil Dawson & Reyduckulous.  2013 Open Derby.]

Phil left school after Year 10 and his love of the land found him at Longreach Ag College where the first turning point in his life occurred.  John Arnold was the Equine instructor and under John’s instruction he broke 2 breakers, prepared a Darwin Doc gelding for the Rocky Horse Sale and competed in a couple of drafts.

During this time he was also fortunate to gain work experience with Todd Graham, which exposed Phil to the finer points of Cutting.

After Ag College he spent two years employed at a Brahman Stud at Crows Nest and again luck was with him in exposing him to top level competitors. Mick and Inge Connolly worked at the same Stud and their involvement in the Reining field led Phil to train 2 reining horses and he competed for the first time in the Non Pro Reining Futurity.

Phil DawsonPhil then spent two years at the Bottletree Feedlot where cutting trainer, Roger Elliott was employed. In this environment Phil’s passion for cutting developed. As well as working daily with Roger, Todd Graham used to also work his horses at Bottletree. With regular access to their advice Phil trained his first Non Pro Futurity horse.

[Photo by Wild Fillies Photography.  Phil Dawson & Turpentine Reyne.  2013 Open Classic Final.]

However, just prior to the event his horse coliced and left Phil heartbroken with a huge vet bill and a dead horse.

Phil DawsonNot to be defeated Phil moved on and started working for Todd. He again trained another Non Pro Futurity horse, Just a Little Spinifex, and started learning on a full time basis. He went to America and trained with Kathy Daughn, one of America’s leading trainers and during this time Kathy won the US NCHA Futurity with Royal Fletch. A really exciting time, Phil recalls. He then returned to Todd and then back to Kathy in the States before returning to Australia to set up shop at 23 years of age.

[Photo by Wild Fillies Photography.  Phil Dawson & Playin Moore.  Armidale, Easter 2013]

Futurity GR1 Co Leader. Phil Dawson & Metallic MoonPhil’s first stable was worked out of Aaron Wheatley’s complex in Victoria before leasing Corey Holden’s stable for 3 years while Corey trained in America. The business was then moved to Inverell in northern NSW, then on to Goondiwindi before finally making a permanent base at “Rockdale”, Glen Elgin on the Northern Tablelands.

[Photo by Ken Anderson Equine Photography:  2015 NCHA Futurity.  Phil Dawson & Metallic Moon.]

A big part of Phil’s programme is to ensure that his horses show well for his clients in the Non Pro events and for his part he places a big emphasis on helping clients and assisting with the Non Pro programme.

Phil predominantly shows horses on behalf of clients in the Aged Events and regional shows, while Bernadette is a keen competitor on her own horses.


  • 2014 - Champion Breeders Incentive Classic with Shesa SkillyCat. 151 points.  [View Video]
  • 2014 - Reserve Champion Breeders Incentive Classic with Turpentine Reyn. 146 points.
  • 2014 - Co-Champion $10,000 Novice with Reyduckulous. 149 points.  [View Video]
  • NCHA Futurity Champion 2013:  Foo Licious (pictured above) - [View Video]
  • NCHA Classic Champion 3 Times:  Reyn Storm, Destinys Mr Chic, Turpentine Reyn
  • NCHA Derby Champion: Reyn Storm
  • Open Horse of the Year:  Prestige Cat
  • $3,500 Novice Horse of the Year: Prestige Cat
  • $10,000 Novice Horse of the Year: Dream Chaser
  • Victorian Futurity Champion, Classic Champion & Derby Champion
  • LTE $600,000 plus

Phil conducts regular Cutting Clinics throughout all Australian states, in New Zealand and his home clinics at “Rockdale”.  They are usually intensive 2 day events with 12 to 14 riders being preferable.

Phil Dawson[Photo by Wild Fillies Photography.  Phil Dawson & Foo Licilous, 2013 NCHA Futurity Champion.]

Phil believes Aaron Wheatley’s work ethic and Robbie Hodgman’s attitude and enthusiasm have had big influences on how his techniques have developed. He has combined a little of every learning opportunity he has had and now passes this technique on to others. He has also worked with some great teachers and this has provided a good grounding for communicating.

As well as conducting his own clinics he attends Judges Schools to ensure his methods and techniques are fresh. He particularly enjoys the Judges School following the NCHA Futurity conducted by the American Judges. Their input reflects the attitudes and trends currently in fashion in America and Phil finds this helpful with where things are heading locally.

For details contact Phil direct on: 0417 703 304
[View Video]

Training Programme

Training programmes are individually tailered to suit Phil’s clients.  He prefers to take 2 year olds that are already broken and then prepares them for the Futurities and then through to the Aged Events.

Phil DawsonHis horses are regularly shown by his clients in the Non Pro Events and their success is testament to the thorough preparation they receive. His preparation and show schedule is tailored to his clients' objectives and the goals they set for their horses.

Phil’s services cater for a wide range of horse people including Youth and Beginner riders through to seasoned Non-Pro competitors.

Phil and Bernadette attend all the major Aged Events, regional shows and incorporate a Pre Works Programme that ensures all horses are suitably matured for their Futurity showings.

[Photo by Wild Fillies Photography.  Phil & his son Samuel.  You're never too young to start learning!]

Video Gallery


NCHA Futurity

  • Open Futurity
  • Open Classic Challenge


NCHA Futurity

  • Open Gold Cup
  • SDP Buffalo Ranch Open Derby


  • Shesa SkillyCat - Champion Breeders Incentive Classic - 151 pts.  [View Video]


NCHA National Finals

  • Reyduckulous - Co-Champion $10,000 Novice - 149 pts.  [View Video]


NCHA Futurity

  • Imax Gold Tamarang Futurity
  • Open Classic Challenge
  • SDP Buffalo Ranch Open Derby
  • Non Pro Gold Cup
    • Erin Hendrix ridden by Bernadette Lucas – Dawson.  141.5 pts.  [View Video]

Phil Dawson Cutting Clinics.  [View Video]

Contact Details

Phil Dawson
Glen Elgin  NSW  2370
Mob:  0417 703 304

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