His love of horses began on his grandparent’s property in Proserpine, North Queensland where, during school holidays, he experienced a deeper connection with horses than might have been expected of a boy who grew up in the suburbs of Brisbane.
This inspired several years of travel and tuition (during the rugby off-season) in Denmark and parts of North America with some of the world's most renown horse training talent.
William learned that, like playing the violin, each practitioner develops a distinctive style. Both with the client and the horse.
And as many of us have experienced in school, sometimes you form the greatest bond with the least experienced teacher who is good company to be around and makes the learning experience a positive one. It was when William realised this that he was no longer daunted by the depth and years of experience of others. In isolation from some of his teachers, he saw a path forward to find his own niche, his own paddock of opportunity.
It was no longer a contest of who had the most experience and the best ideas but rather who could make the biggest difference to a person and their horse on any given day. When their life was laid out before him.
William suddenly realised he had a distinct advantage. Twelve years of playing professional sport had occasionally left him feeling exposed and stupid. And there was inevitably a camera to record the moment. This gave him enormous empathy for how a person might feel when they pick up the phone to make initial contact. That in some small way they might feel vulnerable and open to derision in the training he offered them. But he was reminded of a quote by the late Maya Angelo who once said:
'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel'
And William remembers this every time he takes a breath and hears the phone ring.