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Is Horse Whispering Real?
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Is Horse Whispering Real?

Where does the term ‘horse whisperer’ come from? Is this a real line of work? Are there truly people that can calm horses simply by whispering in their ear?

Well, to answer these questions, there was, in fact, a young man with the ability to talk to horses to make them stop being vicious or overexcited. Daniel Sullivan lived in the nineteenth century and would talk to horses to calm them into submission.

He created a name for himself by doing it in public and eventually became sought out by a great number of people who needed this sort of service. The term ‘horse whisperer’ was then coined and used thereafter every time someone claimed to be able to achieve the same or a similar feat.

Eventually, others followed in his footsteps. The two most famous in the United States were Tom and Bill Dorrance, brothers who have had a profound influence on what is known today as Natural Horsemanship.

One of their disciples, Ray Hunt, is perhaps one of the most pivotal characters in the world of Natural Horsemanship. He developed concepts, philosophies and the spirit of the Dorrance brothers and propelled it to an entirely new level. Horse enthusiasts across the world use this horsemanship. He died at 79 years old, in 2009.

His legacy was left to Ronnie J. Ford. He was touched in such a way by Ray Hunt and his philosophy of horse ownership that all he wishes to accomplish is improving the lives of horses everywhere, “one owner at a time”, as he says.

Part of this form of communication with horses, however, is not by whispering to them at all. Ronnie will tell you that he prefers their own method of interaction and this is a far better way to achieve contact with them. Known to stop a nervous horse running in its pen with a simple look, he will tell you that what Ray passed on to him is the knowledge of passing through the mind to make the feet obey. Even though there is a lot of fear of some sort on behalf of the animal, getting to the point is the key and an art in itself.

Although he never truly speaks to them, Ronnie is still known as a horse whisperer. He believes that a horse exhibiting bad behaviour learned it from a human, not on its own. And if the horse learned that, then he can be taught something new to replace the undesired actions.

What is clear, then, is that horse whispering goes beyond the words. Even if this mysterious learning seems oddly like a scam, it isn’t; we just need to listen beyond the whisperer’s voice to hear what is going on.

 

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  1. sweedly
    sweedly
    Enjoyed reading your post. I love horses and movies about horses. The movie "The Horse Whisperer" brought to my attention this art form that it is said Indians possessed long before the white settlers arrived. Taming wild horses with soft voices and using pools of water. If you have time read my posts and vote if you like. #6 voted.
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    1. naturegirl
      That's news for me. thanks!
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  2. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. Great article.
    Log in to reply.
  3. jst4horses
    I do not know about whispering, but know that horse by a wink of the eye, the swish of an ear tell each other many things. As Pat Parelli says, a horse feels a fly, how come people think they need to BEAT a horse in to submission. Monty Roberts too is a famous horse healer. I have, over time worked with many horsemen who I consider whisperers. These are people who, as one of my youngest riders told me one day the comment can be made "I think YOU are a horse". I had a horse that I worked with for many years. an alpha mare. I learned a lot from her. I often put really spoiled horses in her paddock overnight, within twelve hours they had learned two things, they were NOT spoiled kids, they were horses, and the second, SHE was the boss. When they saw that she agreed that I was the boss, that was usually the end of the biggest battle, they had already given me the respect she had for me. So, whisper, or canter and jog around until join up, I have learned that horses communicate soundlessly and are really adept at reading YOU. I teach the first five hundred hours of Native Natural Horsemanship from my own book (not published) and start with the reality that anyone who is not respectful of a horse forever is bent on getting hurt. Horses are BIG and they all have a bad day sooner or later, or get stung by a bee, or whatever. They turn into mean dangerous BIG animals. Always know how to be safe before any other thing in horsemanship. Then learn to communicate and be the alpha mare. The stallion, I learned is the big dumb jock who the alpha mare says "hey you big hunka man, we are going to run away from that danger, you guard the rear" and if he should not make it, she says "well, we have to find a new stallion".
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  4. jst4horses
    I do not know about whispering, but know that horse by a wink of the eye, the swish of an ear tell each other many things. As Pat Parelli says, a horse feels a fly, how come people think they need to BEAT a horse in to submission. Monty Roberts too is a famous horse healer. I have, over time worked with many horsemen who I consider whisperers. These are people who, as one of my youngest riders told me one day the comment can be made "I think YOU are a horse". I had a horse that I worked with for many years. an alpha mare. I learned a lot from her. I often put really spoiled horses in her paddock overnight, within twelve hours they had learned two things, they were NOT spoiled kids, they were horses, and the second, SHE was the boss. When they saw that she agreed that I was the boss, that was usually the end of the biggest battle, they had already given me the respect she had for me. So, whisper, or canter and jog around until join up, I have learned that horses communicate soundlessly and are really adept at reading YOU. I teach the first five hundred hours of Native Natural Horsemanship from my own book (not published) and start with the reality that anyone who is not respectful of a horse forever is bent on getting hurt. Horses are BIG and they all have a bad day sooner or later, or get stung by a bee, or whatever. They turn into mean dangerous BIG animals. Always know how to be safe before any other thing in horsemanship. Then learn to communicate and be the alpha mare. The stallion, I learned is the big dumb jock who the alpha mare says "hey you big hunka man, we are going to run away from that danger, you guard the rear" and if he should not make it, she says "well, we have to find a new stallion".
    Log in to reply.
  5. jst4horses
    Native Americans, more than 587 separate independent and sovereign nations, NOT Indians, even if most of us manage to say NDN part of the time at least. History Channel has a great video about the real Zorro, a real Southern California Native man who, unlike the movies and television series, was not wimpy, or Spanish. He realized that the power the invaders had, when they rounded up the natives by force and put them in concentration camps, where they sorted out the workers, the children for house slaves, and sold the males for slave on ships bound for all parts of the world, was in the horses for a big part, and he began to steal them. He sold them and they bred and spread. Columbus appears to have lost several in many ways, ships that sank, etc. and these horses too became members of the Native American culture and families. The Chinese and Japanese as well as the Russians traded for centuries with the whole Western Coastal region, so more than likely they too had horses brought over on the trading vessels, or by people who came to trade, married in to the native culture and stayed, bringing with them their own home culture. Vikings too traveled, traded and came to stay in America. They are still well known horsepersons, and more than likely brought horses with them at some point in their history in the Americas. One day maybe we will all, as humans, spend time learning about real history and give the animals a lot more credit and surely more honor than that depicted in the Don Johnson movie about the American tanks and force marching the calvary horses to Mexico and shooting them en masse and burying them, some still alive and injured with bull dozers. We owe a lot to horses and nature and need to repay it.
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