TO WHO IT MAY CONCERN
TESTIMONIAL IN REGARDS TO DAN FRANKLIN : HEALING WITH HORSES PROJECT
Please bear with me to give you this preview.
During the middle of 2007 Miss A Gillett and Mrs A Reynolds
contacted me in regards to a project by using horses for the healing
of victims of crime. I am the Social Crime Officer at the SAPS in De
Rust. Every one thought I was mounting the wrong horse. Being afraid
of horses myself did not stop me. I had to make a choice and decided
that in helping victims would be a better option. We started with
three children :
1. Rayn B
His mother died and was left by his father with family, never
returning or supplying any means to survive. This related to him
getting involved in assaults and behaviour problems.
2. Carolus M
During 2003 a case of child abuse was opened against his mother. He
was put in the position of physical abuse his whole life. His father
is abusing liquor mostly during week ends and the circumstances at
home are very bad. This has a big influence on him. He is a very
3. Nicky W
Nicky was sexually abused by the male members of the house (six).
She has Spina Bifida and walks with the aid of leg braces. She has
been placed in foster care since last year. She had problems with
sleeping (nightmares). She has worn nappies her whole life and had
problems in making friends.
On the 14th of November 2007 this office had the wonderful
experience to be part of a session with
Mr Dan Franklin. I had to translate from English to Afrikaans.
Franklin is an exceptional person and is showing a greatness in
regards to the handling of not only children, but also adults. The
confidence with which he works is applying to any person.
He is a calm person who embraces the will in improving the life for
others and also change it. He has the will power to do much more.
The way in which he conducted the session was enhancing the kind and
loving care which the children needed. Putting them at ease in every
way even being scared. I could not believe that Nicky who was scared
of Nobby (a small horse) had the confidence to touch a grown horse.
The confidence in him was reflected through Nicky. She had the
willingness / eagerness to walk with the horse on her own and also
leading it around. This was a success. We knew then that her desire
was to get better. It worked.
It was an exceptional honour to work alongside such a person who has
the objective to change the lives of others in such a way that they
can go forward. After this they can really change the problems
around them and adapt to it in a better way.
He is able to teach any person new skills in applying and developing
tact, sympathy, empathy and patience. He promotes active response
from each person he handles, because he is doing it with encouraging
communication, social skills and the biggest of them all, love. This
is something these children did not grow up with. Mr Franklin helped
in increasing the children’s self esteem as well as courage. They
have become calmer and more communicative. Their aggressive
behaviour is changing in a more positive way and their ability to
handle problems is much better.
My personal experience was that all of us have gained a greater
sense of achievement and confidence which makes all our lives easier
and more fulfilling. He has given us all a sense of direction.
He is an exceptional man with a God given talent. Thank you
for making us part of this.
E D M PIENAAR : 0449968-9
SOCIAL CRIME OFFICER
Dan’s visit to South Africa by Paul Reynolds.
This had been dream of Alta my wife for Dan to visit us and show the
rest of us just how he plays with horses. We run an Equine facility
in De Rust, South Africa named Horses Helping Humans, which
specializes in Equine Facilitated Therapy for young and old who have
had trauma, mental or physical, or who just want to connect and
communicate with these wonderful animals and grow.
Alta had spent about one day in June 2006 with Dan and his partner
Susan at their ranch near Williams Lake when she was traveling to
Chief Arvol Looking Horse’s World Peace and Prayer Day ceremonies in
Alaska (I was unfortunately working and could not accompany her).
She returned very enthusiastic about the way Dan played with the
horses but having spent such a short time and being very stressed
out from traveling and making sure all was in order at home before
the trip she was unable to show us the way.
Naturally Angie our resident horse communicator and trainer and I
were less than enthusiastic due to there being many so called “horse
whisperers” out there and the ultimate challenge of the costs
involved in bringing Dan out to South Africa.
Time has a way of slipping past and trying to get sponsorship for
his visit was just not materializing. Alta was getting very
frustrated and wrote Dan a mail saying to him “that maybe some
dreams are just not meant to be”. Dan’s response was unbelievable -
he offered to donate his time if we would cover the cost of the
trip. Fortunately air miles helped out and managed to provide Dan
and Susan a ticket so the trip was on.
I met Dan and Susan at Oliver Tambo international airport in
Johannesburg, on my way home from work in Angola. A daunting
situation to meet two people you don’t know and for them a new
country. The big question is, are you going to get on? In one simple
word, yes, right from the start. Dan is a down to earth straight
talking man and Susan a lovely hard working lady.
After a long and exhausting trip for them we arrived at our farm
Towersig near De Rust in the Klein Karoo and what did Dan do, rest?
No, he went straight into the pen where we keep the horses at night
and started working with our wild horse, Babes, who reverts back to
being wild and difficult to interact with if left without attention
for more than a day. Although I have worked with her for about a
year after she came to us wild off the Karoo veld, using natural
horsemanship techniques that I have picked up, the response to Dan
was different. When I started using his methods Babes responses were
also different and more positive and by the end of my 28 day time
off from work she was much more willing to be with me on her terms
than ever before, but I still have to respect her space and leave
her alone when she has had enough of me and not push the contact.
Babes’ history is not known and her relocation from being out in the
wild to our place was less then ideal. I also feel that there was
more trauma with people in her past that we do not know about.
Dan worked with most of our other horses in the short time that he
and Susan were with us and the changes in the horses are real and
amazing. One horse, Ice, in his early training as a racehorse was
snubbed to a post, had reared up and came down on the post putting
it through his chest, so naturally he is now wary of ropes and being
tied. Dan worked with Ice in the round pen on one of the two days
that he did demonstrations for only a period of about half to three
quarters of an hour. At the end of the time Ice was quite
comfortable with ropes and standing quietly with the lead rope over
the rail. He will still need more ongoing work to finally make him
feel at ease with ropes etc but it is a start that would have been
difficult to obtain any other way.
On the therapy side there were some wonderful results that came from
a six year old girl who was brutally abused by the male members of
her family and was placed in foster care. After some initial
hesitation this tiny girl was playing with Penzance, our big 17h
Warmblood with Dan in close attendance, and was able to lead her all
over the place with Penz totally focused on her. Since then the girl
has returned and worked with another of our horses Nobby, a Shetland
pony with Angie in attendance. At first they did some gentle
groundwork and she did not want to get on him, but eventually we had
trouble trying to get her off of Nobby. The feedback from the foster
parents has been positive, for where before she could not sleep
through the night without waking up with nightmares she is now
starting to sleep right through. They say she is also more outgoing
and communicative since being with the horses.
The way Dan works with horses is gentle and respectful towards the
horse, only using as much energy, without anger, as necessary to get
their attention, plus his thoughts to ask the horse to do what he
would like them to do. As Dan would say and I quote “If a horse can
feel a fly land on his back, which weighs less than a quarter of an
ounce, why do we need to use any greater force than that to get it
to respond to us?”
One has to ask oneself why would a horse want to be with you? For a
horse to be with you, you have to show him that you can keep him
safe and out of trouble, then he will accept you as his leader. If
you can’t keep him safe, he is going to leave you for a safer, more
I am a relative newcomer to the equine world, mainly by being gently
being nudged into that direction by Alta. I have also realised my
own shortcomings by using Dan’s methods and one of the most
significant things I have learnt is to slow down and take the time.
In the greater scheme of things, what is an extra minute or two in
yours or a horse’s life?
Dan and Susan have become true friends and I love them both dearly
for what they have imparted and initiated with their short visit. At
55 years old the old adage applies you are never too old to learn
and I would add to that, never be closed to learning from anybody,
be they younger or older than you. Your own intuition will tell you
if what is being taught is correct and will work for you. Dan also
says that with horses you use what works for you and the horse and a
method that works on one horse may not work on another, but the
basic principle of being gentle and not getting angry and using your
thoughts will always work with any horse. Some just take a little
bit longer to trust you to be their leader.
Hello its Jo Brown (Miss Empathy) here from Armondside Farm,
Newcastle, England. You visited us on Friday 19th of May 2006. Thank
you for taking the time to come and work with us! As you may
remember I found our session rather emotional, it brought a lot of
issues that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago. On Friday I
felt drained and on Saturday I felt really pissed off with myself. I
lost my mask and my control and exposed my true self to my close
friends. I had fantastic council from Fiona and Lynn and in about
four hours managed to cry a little more but ended up in a better
place. I realise now how much pressure I put on my own shoulders. My
horses reaction to me on Saturday was beautiful. She met me at the
field gate with such concern and insisted on not going anywhere
until she had made sure every inch of me was as it should be. It
moved me so much as she saved me from myself many years ago.On a
lighter note Fiona has been playing with Archie to day and James
self confidence has rocketed through the roof. Thank you again for
visiting us and hope to see you again. Think you need to be renamed
human whisperer not horse.
Hope you had a safe journey home.
Horses help people - with people problems
I have been around horses mainly for my own pleasure for a number of
years now, I used to have a pony which I rode just around the
countryside, and sometimes went to the odd "Show" with him entering
kids minimus jumping, "get a clear round and you get a rosette,
matter how long it takes you"... it took me longer than any of the
participating... We always seemed to have a problem with getting
jump number two.
Anyhow some years later in 2003 I went to see Dan Franklin at "The
Malvern Arab Horse Society", watched him give an amazing
and I thought, ok I could get back in the saddle again, lets give it
some thought. (not actively ridden for 3 years as my pony passed
the year 2000) I did not need much persuading, and booked a private
clinic with Dan Franklin, not quite sure what to expect. I could not
have wished for a more enjoyable and enlightening session. He made
see just where I had been going wrong, it was so simple really. I
expecting the horse to come into my world of spoken commandments, I
occasionally guilty of pulling him across the field in his head
with attached lead rope, particularly when he absolutely refused to
back and be tacked up..( I wondered why this could be) the odd use
the crop, pulling on the reins (ouch how that bit must have hurt!!!)
and on the other odd occasion, extra pressure in the stirrups to
encourage my horse to move faster!!
Oh dear, I could not have done anything worse to my pony in the
but I absolutely adored him, about that there is no doubt, but I
did not know any different. I know he loved me though and we did
some wonderful times together, but Dan showed me how to communicate
my new horse (a loan horse) but not through spoken word, but feeling
him through my inner being, he showed me how to "play" with my
showed me how to now ride my horse without using any rough method to
encourage him forward.
But before all this could get on a forward going path, Dan Franklin
helped me to face my own fears as well. I have to say these were not
connected directly with riding, but doubts about my own self
confidence/esteem as a person. I also later became aware of fears I
carried with me since childhood, and it seemed they would be better
dealt with if I was to have a better connection with my horse. Dan
helped me to face my fears, some were easy, others not, but by being
around my horse even more so at these times Dan has shown me how a
reacts when you are fearful, angry, feeling aggressive etc. I wanted
deal with these issues myself with the help of Dan, as it has now
to me that when we as people are centered, ( that to me is being
deep down inside of yourself) when you believe in yourself and most
importantly love yourself then the connection with your horse is a
much deeper one than you could imagine.
Horses... ALL HORSES just want to be loved, just like we do, its
simple. My horse will come to me in the field, without putting a
collar on him, or wildly shouting him. He will move gently around
ménage with me, play circle games with me, and if I use a touch of
imagination and go with my own intuition we are beginning to have a
better understanding of one another. In other words when I ride him
it seems that I see through his eyes, and he becomes my legs, we are
Someone in England once said that
Dan Franklin helps horses with
problems". I can certainly vouch for this and it is working for
Thanks - Dan
A grateful client from the UK.
Your Demonstration at Sandown Park was truly amazing, it
brought tears to my eyes. I would like to thank you for taking the
time to talk to me and help me understand our equine friend a little
better. The bond you share with your horses must be one of the most
amazing gifts any horse owner could ever wish for. Good luck with
Regards - Julie
Dear Pam, (this letter was written to Western Rider U.K.)
On the 24th July I attended a clinic at Linda Crossland’s place at
Whitwell given by Dan Franklin, the Canadian horseman.
The purpose of the clinic was to enable the rider/owner to
communicate with the horse in its own language, gain its confidence
and trust in order to develop a better connection.
am interested in developing a better communication with my horse and
have read books, watched videos and attended clinics given by the
likes of Monty Roberts, Richard Maxwell, Mark Rashid, and Sylvia
Loch. All these people have the interest and welfare of the horse as
the basis of their teachings and use a ‘natural’ approach. Dan
Franklin is someone I would happily put into this category.
He did not care that my horse was not a Quarter horse but a Highland
pony. He was interested in helping me gain my horses’ trust and
respect using language he could easily understand and not through
fear or force.
had used Monty Roberts ‘join up’ with Angus to great benefit, as he
would happily follow me in the indoor school without the use of
reins or lead rope. But outside was altogether different. See any
long grass and there was no holding him! He would barge and ignore
my attempts at tearing him away from eating without a tug of war
Using Dan’s methods, Angus now ignores the grass until I let him
graze and all I have to do now is ‘tut tut’ to him and up comes his
head and he follows! He will now follow me over poles, over a bridge
– long way and short way, with no physical contact from me what so
believe I am now continuing to develop a better relationship with my
am going to attend Dan’s next clinic on the 30th October, again at
Linda’s place, and my husband is going to join me this time with his
Highland pony, Hamish.
The attached photograph is of Angus and myself taken by my husband,
Ellis Kennedy and was taken earlier this year at a WES competition.
Mrs Joanne Kennedy
Just wanted to say a few things about Dan's Arabians.
was always down on Arabs, but since I have been spending time with
Dan, I have completely changed my mind about Arabians. They are
awesome horses and very gentle. I would recommend these horses of
Dan's to anyone who wants to purchase one, but they should learn to
communicate and watch Dan with them, and take a few lessons from
Dan. He is awesome with horses. These horses are gentle as lambs if
treated right and loved. So check out Dan's Arabians. Keep up the
great work you are doing.
The demo at Scropton was fantastic - I hope everyone went
back to their horses and apologised to them! All the years of
training I had went out the window and I will now start from scratch
and ask before I do!!!
Many thanks, Sally
Dan Franklin – A Different Approach
By Stuart Dare
Reiki Therapist (England)
If you are looking for a more comfortable approach to horse care,
riding, training etc then I would like to introduce you to a man who
has learned the silent language of the horse.
The first time I saw Dan demonstrating his skill I was fascinated
(as a Reiki Therapist I have learned about “Universal Life Force
Energy” and have experienced its effects upon humans and horses).
Throughout the whole demonstration Dan spoke to the audience, he had
no whip, no sticks or any other tools, just a rope halter and shank.
He moved gently about the round pen as he continued to talk and tell
stories to the audience. After about 10 minutes the horse seemed
noticeably calmer and willing, a short time later the horse was
moving around at walk, then trot, then stopped, then turning to face
Dan – who was still talking, to a by now, somewhat bemused audience!
After the demonstration I ventured over to speak with Dan (I have to
admit I was moved by what I had seen). From subsequent meetings with
Dan and play with my own horse, I feel Dan has learned to use the
“Life Force Energy” I know as Reiki, in a way the Native American
Indian Horse Men may have done. Through careful watch on nature and
their environment, they ‘tuned in’ to the energy around them and
used it to maintain harmony with their surrounds.
For the love of all our horses.
After seeing you working with my 4 year old part Arab Holly it was
as though Holly was a different horse in the space of 60 minutes.
At first I was wary of letting anyone near Holly as no one has ever
worked her apart from me but after seeing you with her and how Holly
started to respect you and myself, I feel it was definitely worth
spending the time with you. I will certainly keep up the work with
Holly and I would definitely have you back when the opportunity
arises. How I see Holly now is in a different light and it is all
down to one person, Dan Franklin.
Thank you and I shall treasure the rope halter and shank.
You gave me the power not to be scared of what I love so much
(that would be horses) and even after I fell off the horse in the
middle of my ridding lesson. The next lesson I got right back on.
Thank you for helping me with that.
A Cold Day in Consett
By Susan Tron
If you didn’t know the history of Bonzo you’d think he’d been
mistreated. A lovely sweet 6 year old Trakenner gelding that was so
terrified of having a head collar on that he would rear up and
strike out with his front legs in a frenzied attempt to prevent any
effort to achieve this. This was so hard to understand as he was
kind and almost lazy in his attitude to everything else.
Bonzo hadn’t always been like this. When he was 3 we decided that it
was more than time to geld him and he was subsequently caught and
duly led to the top of the field to await the vet. At some point
during this exercise he was startled, (nothing significant just
sufficient to make a young colt jump), and managed to pull loose
from his handler. Off he ran full of the joys of spring and unaware
of how narrowly he had avoided loosing his manhood. As there was
another colt to be gelded and Bonzo refused to be caught we left him
with the halter shank merrily dangling until the days other
operation was completed. We then tried unsuccessfully to catch him
until the vet lost patience and left.
Some time later that day Bonzo lost interest in avoiding us and was
happily caught. Indeed I believe he had got tired of standing on the
end of the tiresome thing attached to his head as every time it did
it pulled sharply down on his poll. At the time I was secretly glad
that this had bothered him as I hoped that he might think twice
about running away again. Sadly this is human logic and is not
applicable in any shape or form to the equine mind.
Following this incident it wasn’t immediately apparent that Bonzo
had suffered any trauma, mental or otherwise after the event. Indeed
he was actually still catchable for a while but each time got
progressively worse. The final time he had a head collar on was as a
four year old when he was eventually gelded. As he gradually came
round from the effects of the drug he was suddenly panicked by the
thought of being restrained and just turned and ran. I can only
liken it to a rider who has had a serious fall and that each time
they mount a horse following such an incident they are tense nervous
and worried with there mind intensely focused on what’s going to go
wrong next. Without the right type of intervention and support it is
likely most such riders would give up and walk away defeated by
Bonzo didn’t obviously get the right support from us no matter what
we tried and he didn’t have the choice to simply walk away. We tried
sedating him and then leaving his head collar on to desensitise him.
We tried food deprivation as recommended by Parelli and food as a
bribery and reward system. We were never rough, always patient and
always defeated. The only thing we did achieve was to make matters
worse. He developed a real phobia about head collars and nothing we
could do would diffuse this. Indeed he was becoming dangerous as he
became increasingly frightened by our futile attempts to get him to
accept a head collar.
He was now 6 years old and we had completely arrived at a stalemate.
Reluctant to just do nothing we had a dilemma as every time we tried
something new we only made the problem worse. We realised we needed
outside intervention which was when we contacted Dan. The initial
expenditure involved not only Dan’s fees but also paying the local
farmer to build a round pen of sorts. However the alternative was a
16hh pet Trakenner.
When Dan arrived our hopes were dashed even further when he said he
couldn’t guarantee results and wouldn’t make the horse do anything
he didn’t want to. Again my human narrow minded philosophy was
allowed to cloud the picture as inwardly I thought don’t worry about
the niceties just MAKE him do it!
Dan certainly answered all our prayers, Bonzo’s included. He didn’t
make Bonzo do anything he didn’t want to. Yet when he left Bonzo was
happy to follow Dan anywhere, in or out of his head collar. I can
only liken the look in Bonzo’s eyes to that of a puppy following his
beloved master. Bonzo had fallen utterly in love with Dan and I
believe Dan could have asked him to do anything and that horse would
have responded. What was hard to comprehend was how Dan reached this
level of understanding with my horse.
Dan seemed to know exactly what Bonzo was thinking, feeling and
wishing before he even knew himself. He subtly mimicked the language
of the horse but what was even more apparent was that Dan loved that
horse and wasn’t going to let any harm come to it. He was the first
human Bonzo had met that had any idea how he was feeling. Can you
imagine what a relief this must have been? Is it any the wonder my
horse fell in love with him?
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Laugh at the simplicity of it
all and how easy a solution had been found. Or cry because I felt
like someone who had just witnessed a miracle. At no stage did I
feel like the horse had been traumatized or forced into something he
didn’t want. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I
wanted to be able to do this to.
And that’s the next installment of the story. Bonzo is an incredibly
sensitive horse. He will prove an excellent teacher for me. Dan
explained that as his instincts were still that of a wild animal,
(no matter how much we domesticated them), and to him a head collar
meant he was trapped and that to him equals death. During my first
lesson with Dan I felt so wooden and useless as I was having to
relearn all the bad habits that had got Bonzo into this mess in the
first place. I had to think so hard about what not to do it was
difficult to think about what I actually should be doing! But
progress was made. Significantly Bonzo tolerated me putting a head
collar on him in the worst weather imaginable, albeit under Dan’s
watchful eye but I did it just the same.
I now have to practice what I learnt with Dan’s words ringing in my
ears. My favourite is “the longest time is the shortest time”. I
realise that often I wanted to follow conventional timescales and
protocols when handling my horses. But each one is different and I
need to pay closer attention to how they are feeling and attach less
importance to any agendas of my own. It’s going to be a long hard
process. The winters here are not good and the hours of daylight
limited. This has already interrupted the fixed, (old habits die
hard!), agenda I had planned in my head. However what continues to
motivate me to achieve even one tenth of what Dan did is the miracle
I witnessed on a cold day in Consett.
top of page
Hello from England,
We had the pleasure of entertaining Dan Franklin in September this
year. What a time we all had! His talents with horses knows no
measure and he managed to help a lot of troubled horses during his
time in England. We received several e-mails from happy clients to
say how delighted they were with the results of Dan's work with
their horses. An excellent clinic was held at Solihull Riding Club
where he helped a particularly difficult horse. No-one had been able
to stay on board the horse for several years, but within an hour or
so, Dan had a rider happily on its back. Having been in contact with
the owner since, everything is going very well with the mare in
question. The main thing that really impressed us is that Dan not
only helps solve problems - he also shows the owner how to maintain
the improvement, so hopefully the problems do not return after
he has left. Most important is that you have to keep an open mind
and listen to what he tells you - even if you don't really like what
he says the problem might be more you than the horse! He is truly
an amazing man and we look forward to his visits next year in
March and September.
Jo Allan - Smith
All about Orlanda
Since the age of about 5 years old, and I am now in my forties, I
can remember having a fascination for horses, drawn to them because
of their soft coats, the smell of them, and just how lovely they
were to be around. I still am not sure at what age I sat on one, but
I can remember having riding lessons in a fashion 10 – 11 years of
age. I can always remember when the lady who was leading me on a
lead rein, let go and then I was off on my own, what a thrill that
was, totally on my own with this little pony, asking it to turn,
trot and then stop.
have been riding ponies on and off until I was 25 years old, then I
put an advert in the local paper to “loan, exercise and look after”
in the hope there was somebody willing enough to answer my advert as
I could not afford to buy one myself. I was fortunate enough to get
a reply from a lady and even drove her up to the field one cold
February evening in the dark to view her pony. The first time I saw
him, he was munching on his hay net in his dark stable, the owner
switched the light on and he just turned his head, stopped munching
gave me the once over and turned back to his hay net, seemingly
totally uninterested in me! I’ll take him I said, I think you ought
to ride him first was the reply.
did ride him and that was it, love at first sight, and have ridden
him, looked after him, loved him and adored him for the best part of
14 years. I always thought and believed you had to be the Boss of
your horse, and I have to be honest, there were sometimes when I was
a little hard on that beautiful chestnut pony, but I did let him get
away with things as well. The relationship I had with him though was
give and take, I trusted him, he trusted me, and I swear he loved me
as much as I loved him. He took me many places gave me my confidence
in some sticky situations, and then totally gave himself to me when
he was scared by some monster of an object, or if we went out on a
hack that he had never been on before. How I loved that pony. I have
sung to him when out on an early morning ride and there was no one
around, his ears used to twitch, especially if I sang out of tune or
forgot the words, I have laughed my head off, as I know he had a
sense of humour, and I have also told him things and asked his
advice and many a time cried on his neck. .in the year 2000 he had
to be put down he was 30 years of age, he had enjoyed a good life
and it was time to say goodbye.
Reading an advert in “Derbyshire Today” which came through my
letterbox one Sunday afternoon in July 2003, Dan Franklin a “Horse
Whisperer” from Canada was doing a demonstration at the “Arab Horse
Society Show” in the Malvern’s. I was definitely interested,
although I had vowed I was only having one pony, there would never
ever be anyone to replace or even come close to my pony, but the
light was still lit inside of me.
Seeing Dan do his demonstration was awesome, he was “playing”
with a little mare who was petrified of men, but within a few
minutes, Dan had her very soft, and he was able to touch her
especially around her head without her getting upset, she even
looked like she could be enjoying it.
I had a private clinic with Dan, borrowing a horse form the same
lady who loaned me my one and only pony. I just wanted to try it
out, as I still had a love for horses that goes beyond words, Dan
showed me that we expect the horse to come into our language which I
must say that’s what I always believed. Dan showed me how to speak
with this horse, intuitively, using energy and simple techniques to
go into the horses world, connect and then become a part of the
horses family. He has also shown me the signs to look for when I am
doing something right, my horse will let me know so softly. It took
me quite a while to stop pulling on the reins, lead rope etc, but
the results were amazing once I stopped doing this.
have been “playing” with this horse now, and have him on loan. The
connection that I now have is wonderful and I enjoy every moment I
am in his company, the whole thing about learning this new way of
communication with my horse is I am beginning to understand now what
he is about, like I already said he lets me know in a very gentle
way if I am not doing something quite right, like just maybe rushing
things a little, I certainly do not pull on him anymore, or give him
an extra squeeze if I wish to go a little faster. I play with my
horse in the ménage, mostly with no halter at all, and we jump the
jumps together, I usually go first, horse following closely behind
me. To me I could not make my horse do this without pulling him, but
for him to want to do this with me of his own free will is just the
most incredible feeling I have experienced.
am still learning every time I am with my horse, as I never take him
for granted, we both have a respect for each other, but most
importantly a love that is apparent in a very soft gentle way to
other people too. If I had had the opportunity to have learned this
language years ago I wished that I could have done so with my first
love, my beautiful handsome 14.2hh chestnut gelding as I know there
were many things I would have liked to have done in his language.
Written By Lynette
top of page
We both not only wish you the best in your upcoming work & show in
England, but at all other future times & events.
Thank you for your help with a special mare to me that we both know
of. Good Luck in your future work around the world in the years to
Best Wishes, Keith
Thanks very much for bringing your skills to Scropton RDA Centre
last Wednesday. If it makes just a few people think before trying to
bully their horse into obedience instead of asking for co-operation,
it has worked wonders!
Thanks again for a very interesting evening, it gave me a lot to
Best of luck in the future.
STEPNEY BANK STABLES
INNER CITY COMMUNITY HORSE PROJECT
Stepney Bank is the only Inner City Community Horse Project in the
country! We work with disadvantaged young people from Newcastle,
helping them develop new skills and confidence from their
involvement with the Stables. We received a Queen’s Golden Jubilee
Award for work in the voluntary sector.
The horse is at the heart of everything the Stables does. Situated
just half a mile from the city centre, surrounded by scrap yards and
walls topped with broken glass, it has become for many “The Oasis in
the City.” \
The majority of regular users and volunteers at the Stables are
young people with personal, social, and educational needs or adults
with learning difficulties. They often lack basic literacy and
numeracy skills, suffer from low self esteem, and experience social
exclusion as a result. Aspirations and expectations are low.
This project has proven the value of the horse as a tool to
motivate, educate and pass on key social skills. This unusual
concept has proven a highly effective, long term method of engaging
disaffected and hard to reach groups.
Caring for horses provides purpose structure and routine where it
may not have previously existed and creates a team with a common
interest. The rides provide an environment where people skills are
paramount which is an ideal setting for positive social and personal
development. It is also a powerful antidote to anti-social behaviour,
crime and exclusion.
The stables are open 7 days a week including evenings for 52 weeks
of the year. We have 20 horses and ponies of our own and around 300
At Stepney we are great believers that not all education occurs in
the classroom as we have witnessed first hand the effect horses can
have on the personal and social development of our young users. We
are also always on the lookout for new and innovative methods to
enhance this experience.
personally have always been interested in the work of ‘Horse
Whisperers’ as I believe in the concept of improving communications
between man and horse. Often I have wished that I could tell what my
horse is thinking. Many a time I have cursed when I have realised
what my horse has been trying to tell me for months and frequently I
have wanted to tell them not to worry.
Dan has a gift as he can do all these things and more. He truly
loves horses and they return this compliment ten fold. Sometimes the
youngsters at our Stables would ask, “Should I hit so and so when
they try to bite me?” I had always wanted to be able to answer them
better than the usual “no” so when the opportunity presented itself
to have Dan to give a demonstration at our project I knew that I had
solved my dilemma.
The horses here are central part of so many of our user’s lives.
They deserve the best possible care and respect and Dan instilled
this virtue to an unruly audience of hundreds.
So popular has this concept of improving communications been that we
have recently incorporated it into our Racial Awareness Training,
‘Horses Know No Colour’. It has been particularly successful when
helping young people through our horses to understand what it is
like to speak a foreign language and live in an alien environment.
Much racial harassment results from misunderstandings and the horse
can help to break down these cultural barriers.
This may not be the work that most would view a traditional Horse
Whisperer becoming involved in but I hope it goes some way to
opening the eyes of those who have traditional methods for
approaching everything they do. Sometimes in life a little lateral
thinking is required, even for those who feel they have no problems
that require solving. Any improvement in our relationship with these
wonderful animals is something that is surely worth investigating?
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
Registered Charity 1084687
top of page
Thank you for coming to see Farah & myself. on Sunday, both Nina and
I haven't stopped talking about your visit and the impression you
have left on all of us.
I must admit, that the relationship you created with Farah from the
start, got me quite choked up, it was wonderful to see the respect
and love he gave to someone he had met only 2 or 3 minutes earlier.
In 18 months I had lost his love and respect in the same short space
of time and hadn't seen that true devotion he showed you for a year!
Tonight I came home from work and went straight to his stable, with
some nervous anticipation, having tried to replay everything you did
with him in my head throughout the previous night and whilst at work
today. I put out my hand, and he almost thought about biting, but
just a growl from me and he licked my hand before allowing me to
stroke his forehead, something he has not allowed me to do since
before the relationship broke down. That was an incredible
feeling and very emotional.
went to the stable with the rope halter, and with a minimum of fuss
he let me put it on without trying to eat it, as it was put over his
nose, another huge breakthrough. I received his open mouth gesture a
couple of times, but he already knew he shouldn't before he made
contact. A quick check with the "cougar hands" or tap on the lips
stopped the problem very quickly. We went outside to the ménage,
requiring only two circles over the entire distance, and a quick
check with the rope halter to stop him eating the grass when I
raised my hands too high and lowered them.
It's difficult to concentrate on lots of things at once, especially
when they need to be automatic reflex reactions and not thought
about, one circle and he has done two other things and planned
another ten, when I'm still thinking about the first!
Anyway, we arrived at the ménage within an incredibly quiet
attitude. Truly amazing, and proceeded to work some more circles and
stopping. At first this went brilliantly, but after encouraging him
to look in a few times and he got humped up and tried to square up
to me. I tried the "cougar hands", and checked him with the halter
unfortunately I then forgot to advance and compounded this mistake
by looking straight at him. I must admit with all the highpoints up
until then this seemed like the end of the world, especially as my
heart was pounding as I got quite nervous. Fortunately he was quite
forgiving of my bungled attempt to correct him and I managed to find
myself in the correct position from where we continued to do the
circles and stopping. I received a lot of hand licking and was
allowed to stroke his head, and sometimes his back whilst walking.
Occasionally he tried to bite when touching his shoulder, but a
light tap stopped it before he turned his head away from me. With a
small tug on the halter he would look around and lick my hand and
let me rub his forehead again … I was forgiven !!!!
We tried a few straight lines down the ménage and this worked well,
so at this point, Nina (Farah's owner) , who had been reminding me
of all the things I was supposed of have been doing, especially not
looking at him, recommended we should stop on a good point. He went
back to his stable really well and relaxed, so I took off his
halter, gave him a hand full of grass and left him, before he had
time for anything negative to do. Although I was disappointed with
the down point experience tonight, I know this will happen for a
long while. Yet there is really no rush. I suppose that sometimes,
when you want something too much, the disappointments stand out, and
it is now whilst writing to you, that I realize that it was no
longer than 30 seconds in 30 minutes of really amazing work, that I
hadn't experienced for a year. Tomorrow is another day and I hope to
build on today's success, although I know some days won't always be
as good as others. Thank you once again Dan, for the kindness and
help you have shown me, to help conquer what I know is really my
fear and problems and not Farah's. I look forward to seeing you
again, when you return back from Canada.
Once again, thank you for giving me the renewed inspiration, that I
can get my relationship back with Farah, as it really has been quite
devastating to loose that trust and love I used to receive from him.
Kind regards, Mark Copeland ( Mettlewood Stud at Emoclew Farm,
top of page
I hope you remember me I worked at Dick and Christine Reeds -
Arabian Stud, Leicester , England . You worked with Olive (who is
now in foal) and me and the KHEMOSABI daughter Lucy. I just wanted
to thank you for all you taught me it has changed my way of
thinking on training horses and I am very glad I had the chance
to meet you.
All my love.
In five weeks Dan changed our family's outlook and attitude to
horses. Dan took our mare which was giving us troubles and in
five weeks played with the mare and got her back, and taught us how
to keep her there. He taught our daughter the natural way to speak
to a horse. She went from crow hopping and rearing to riding bare
back with just touch and connection with out any halters or tack of
Just like to say the demo that you did at Stepney Bank Stables in
Newcastle Upon Tyne, Byker, England was really good! It was
interesting to see how you have changed Scarlett and Pepper. I
hope you will come back soon to do another demo on some of our
other horses and ponies. And I hope to see Susan Tron's horse Bonzo,
will be able to have a head collar and lead rope on all the time
Leanne Macbeth (13 years of age)
top of page
It was lovely to watch you at the Malvern Arab Horse Show on
the 31st of July. I was the lady in a red jacket with my daughter
Amber, I hope you remember me as we share a common special interest.
May God Bless You And Your Family.
One day I will come and visit you all at your home. Many Thanks.
Tanya and Amber Linke
I used to work for you and found my love of horses. I love to be
around my 2 new horses and practise all that you taught me all the
time. I even trained myself and my horse to ride. My horse was
taught to walk and have a saddle put on him (20 hours of training )
and I trained him myself to this perfect loyal horse who had a
second chance in life. I ride my horse every day. If it wasn’t for
me meeting you, I would have never found out how much I truly love
horses. This year I am going to compete with my horse and my goal is
to be famous in that field. Thank you so much for all that you
taught me and I hope I hear from you again one day.
Kendra (11 years old)
top of page
had the chance to meet Dan in England on 14th September 2001. He did
a private clinic for me with a 2 year old Welsh section A Pony that
I had rescued from slaughter. This pony had never been handled and
was terrified of man. I can only describe the whole experience as
awesome. Dan has restored my faith & confidence to continue
working with this pony. I know that we are going to move forward now
in leaps and bounds and end up with a delightful pony who will have
a much better quality of life.
Many thanks Karina
I attended your clinic at Scropton RDA, England on the 30th of
October. I would just like to say thank you for sharing your
knowledge with people like myself, whom are trying to communicate on
a greater level with my horse and have a better understanding, and
you have given me a taste of a better way to think and treat my
Thank you, Vikki
Hey there Dan:
Thank you for helping me get closer to my horses and if it weren't
for you I wouldn't be-able to ride my granny's horse.
Thanks again, Monica
I think your work is very fascinating ! I hope it continues.
top of page