An Aussie-turned-American looks to make Stephenville his home, as well as the headquarters for his multi-million dollar equine-related business by summer’s end adding to the city’s nickname, “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
Clinton Anderson, owner and developer of Downunder Horsemanship™, announced at yesterday’s meeting of the Stephenville Economic Development Foundation (STEDCO), Inc. that construction of his new headquarters is under way and that he expects to be in operation locally sometime in August.
A native of Cairns, Australia, Anderson says he has acquired a love for Texas and the Stephenville area - a reason he chose the community to move his business from Belle Center, Ohio, located one hour northwest of Columbus.
“I’m not moving to Stephenville because the majority of my business is here, but because I love it here … it’s where I want to live,” said 32 year old Anderson.
The decision to relocate locally also was weighed heavily on the friendliness of Stephenville’s residents and the support he has received from STEDCO, which assisted Anderson with a $50,000 grant to call the community home to Downunder Horsemanship™.
In an effort to be a neighborly business owner, Anderson says he chose to acquire the services of local contractors and purchase the majority of materials from Stephenville outlets to construct his 29,000 square-foot headquarters in the 2400 block of US Hwy. 377 East – a $1.5 million investment in the community.
The large metal building, Anderson says, will house Downunder’s call center, packing and shipping operation, as well as main office staff. His headquarters will also have space for manufacturing halters, lead ropes and reins.
Currently, Anderson says Downunder Horsemanship™ has 35 employees at his Ohio location, of which five to 10 will relocate to Stephenville. He expects to create more than 25 jobs for locals at the new facility when the move is complete, and says he will begin interviewing and hiring employees within the next month.
Anderson says he also plans to call Stephenville his home now that he’s purchased a 265-acre ranch north of town off of FM 3025.
Last year, Downunder Horsemanship™ generated approximately $10 million in revenues, said Anderson, which he anticipates will grow to more than $13 million in gross sales in 2008.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, Anderson began touring the U.S. in 1998 sharing his philosophies and his Downunder Horsemanship™ methods with an enthusiastic audience.
Growing up in Queensland, Australia, Anderson says he realized at an early age that horses were to be his life’s passion.
At age 15, he developed a knowledge of horses and handling skills and continued his education by serving as an apprentice with Australia’s top two horsemen, Gordon McKinley and Ian Francis.
In 1997, Anderson won both individual recognition and international respect after earning top honors at Australia’s National Reining Futurity Championships. Shortly after, he returned permanently to the U.S.
That’s when Anderson began summarizing his extensive knowledge and training experience in a revolutionary new program – Downunder Horsemanship™.
Developed as a comprehensive program for achieving a relationship of mutual respect, trust and cooperation between horse and handler, Anderson’s horsemanship program is designed to be progressively applied in stages throughout a horse’s life.
His hands-on horsemanship clinics have continued to gain popularity nationwide and regularly draws crowds of up to 4,500 at convention centers and coliseums across the country. Anderson says he conducts 16 tours annually, each with 15 clinics, and travels nearly every weekend criss-crossing the U.S.
To-date, Anderson’s popularity and the effectiveness of Downunder Horsemanship™ techniques have resulted in the sale of more than 300,000 copies of his training tapes and DVDs worldwide.
In 2001, Anderson became the only equine clinician to produce a weekly one-hour made-for-television training show that is broadcast nationally on RFD-TV on both DirecTV and DishNetwork.
Anderson has impressed viewers with his knowledge of horses and his humane training methods, as well as his unique ability to pass these methods on to others.
He balances information with entertainment by using humor and personal experiences to create a one-of-a-kind program enjoyed by equestrians of all ages and levels of experience.
“I provide something similar to a dog obedience class for horse people,” said Anderson, who has also created study-at-home courses for equestrians, taking care of the recreational riders and catering to the masses.
According to his Web site, a recent survey by RFD-TV showed that Downunder Horsemanship™ is the highest rated, most watched show of all equine programming, and the second most rated show overall on the entire network.
In 2003 and again in 2005, Anderson faced the nation’s best horse trainers and clinicians in the prestigious Road to the Horse Competition, becoming the first person to win the the event twice in-a-row.
On Thursday, Anderson told STEDCO members and guests that he hopes to promote Stephenville on his TV show, as well as create a working relationship with Tarleton State University’s equine science program.
“I want to get behind the local university and their horse program,” said Anderson. “I believe the more you give, the more you get back.”
Anderson says the down-home friendliness of local residents and the offering of support to attract his business here was all he needed to bring his vision for Downunder Horsemanship™ to the community.
“Every company has a vision and I want to make Stephenville nationally known,” said Anderson. “I hope to bring as many people to the city and area because horse people mean money - they buy trucks, tack, feed, jeans and more.”
He also hinted at creating an annual event to bring in the masses for horse clinics, renowned country music artists and others to benefit the community.
“I’ve been asked a by a lot of people how I found Stephenville,” Anderson told those at the meeting. “I have been in the U.S. for 10 years and it’s definitely the greatest country in the world thanks to honest and hard working American people.”
He says Texas has felt “more like home than anywhere else” and was introduced to Stephenville by Ken Bray. “There’s lots of horses, lots of good people and beautiful countryside.”