How many horse people have heard of the
names; "Bull", "Jumper", "Whisper
Sullivan", Denton Offutt, Fancher, John S. Rarey, and D Magner?
Sullivan" who was from Ireland was " discovered" in the later
1800's. Some thought of him as either a jokester, psychic,
or a showman.
He was said to have taken a horse
into a barn where no one could see what he was doing with a rank horse
and come out with a gentle obedient horse. He was
"secret" with this method. Exhibiting how he transformed
a wild thing into a patient partner. Horsemen that saw this "phenomenon"
say that they saw Sullivan periodically whisper in the horse's
ear. People believed that this man had such powers that whispering
was how he got the horse submissive.
Now lets go back a few years to the
1870's. There was a man named "Bull" from England who
got the horse down on the ground until the horse figured out he can not
fight the man and then listened to the man.
Around 1880 "Jumper" another
Englishman was more noted for his techniques . Unmanageable horse
were taken to him from the whole country. He also did not
let anyone see his taming technique. When horsemen observed the
horses that "jumper" had trained they noticed that they all laid
down when asked.
So "Whisper Sullivan" no doubt
followed the theory of "laying down" the horse to gentle them.
Perhaps with better technique though.
Have you ever watched circus
trainers with their animals? They have to be very in tune to every
flick, and movement the animal makes. One wrong reading and it
could mean disaster. The circus has been around for along
time. What did these trainers know that horsemen
didn't. Guaranteed a whole lot more. So if you see or hear about a
circus trainer be amazed and curious not down grading (posh posh) that
they are "just circus people". They know/knew allot
more about communication that we all do.
Denton Offutt, Fancher, were
Americans who also followed their English and Irish horsemen's
techniques. The didn't get as famous either. Their locality
hindered their techniques from getting the word out.
One American did become well known.
His name was John S. Rarey. So known that the Queen of England
bought 2000 lessons for $50 each to rich horsemen.
Oddly enough Offutt sued Rarey.
Offutt claimed that Rarey "stole" his "secret"
method and of all things got the Queen to take lessons based on that
In 1886 D. Magner an American Published as
book. He was know to be the "Father of the Complex Method of
Horse and Colt Subjection and Training".
Romantic Words =
It amazes me that more people get bedazzled
by words rather than the actual technique of the trainer. When
horse people go to a clinic or demonstration do they feel they will
see a horse whispered at and magically become trained ? Ammm....probably!
people hear a trainers name for the first time what is going to make
them spend money at that trainers place? New horse people that
don't know what to look for in a trainer will magnetically go to the two
words that propagate business - "Horse Whisperer". What
about these modern "Horse Whisperers" that are " God figures" to
beginner horsemen? They have been said to have discovered and have
horse sense beyond anyone trainer ever. Well...........lets not
get carried away!!!
Why have these trainers been so popular and
not previous trainers? Lets take a time line through time.
What is different now then a 100 years ago? One becomes popular through exposure.
In order to get exposure one has to travel, advertise via many many
avenues and they have to appeal to the audience. A 100 years ago
traveling was limited, advertising was almost non existent outside
the trainers home area and was word of mouth. Appealing to the audience
was just getting started. Remember hearing of traveling medicine
men who had a cure all for any ailment? The people believed every
word the salesman had to say. They had examples of people who were
"cured" of a aliment. And sometimes they'd just happen
to have a satisfied customer out in the audience to prove what they had
was a miracle waiting to happen.
What do we call these "Horse
Whispers" then you ask? The same thing they were called
before the touchy feely, romantic movie came out. And that is a Horseman. If he has a good reputation then let it be known by his
given name. How do you tell if a horseman is honest and in the
best interests of the horse no matter the technique? The person is
humble not a salesman out for the bucks or fame with out regard to
others. This goes for any thing in life.
with a proclaimed "Horse Whisperer"
Trainer XYZ calls new owner of a horse I
had previously trained named Coolhand. XYZ says the horse is
dangerous and need to be canned. I call Trainer XYZ to find out
the problem. She proceeds to say that this horse is dangerous and
needs to be killed. She says she used "Big Name
ABC"'s methods( yes one of the guru's) . I thought to myself - ya
right lady!! I tell XYZ that I want to by him. She say's I'd
be nuts to do so and that he's going to kill someone. She couldn't train
him and all he does is buck and gets mean. By now the red flag is
waving high. If she proclaims to follow ABC's methods she
would 1) could have worked through the problem and 2) why is he having a
problem in the first place. I proceed to tell XYZ that I trained
the horse. She promptly tells me I did a very bad job. I say no I
didn't you did something wrong with him. She being such a
professional hangs up. Her lack of professionalism give her away
as a slick mover. If she was truly a horseman she would have asked
what was the "trick". But she came across as a
"slam and Jam" type "trainer".
We never know what happened to
Coolhand. Did she wreck him so bad in those 60-90 days that he's
mind was beyond fried. Or did she feel the new owner with blatant
lies so she could make a bunch of money by saying the horse went to the
canners and then sell the horse to someone else. This so called
"Horse Whisperer" charged the owner a few + thousand
dollars for just those 2-3 months.
What is my point? If you go by the romantic
words that the trainer says they are you are setting up yourself for a
rude awakening. Always see what the previous horses are like and
talk with the other owners of the horses. And more readily see the
trainer in action unannounced at their barn. NO DEMONSTRATION type