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Dan Franklin's Horses & Summit Lake Ranch

Equine Communication Testimonials About the Horse Whisperer

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Dan's work in Equine Communication as a horse whisperer has won him worldwide acclaim and touched the lives of countless individuals. We have gathered a few of the many letters and emails he has received to share some of those special moments with you.




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 bright child.

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.


Mr 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

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 comfortable place.

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. 

Dear Dan,
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.

Joanna Brown

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 the kids minimus jumping, "get a clear round and you get a rosette, doesn't matter how long it takes you"... it took me longer than any of the kids participating... We always seemed to have a problem with getting over 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 demonstration 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 away in 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 me see just where I had been going wrong, it was so simple really. I was expecting the horse to come into my world of spoken commandments, I was occasionally guilty of pulling him across the field in his head collar with attached lead rope, particularly when he absolutely refused to come back and be tacked up..( I wondered why this could be) the odd use of 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 past, but I absolutely adored him, about that there is no doubt, but I just did not know any different. I know he loved me though and we did have some wonderful times together, but Dan showed me how to communicate with 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 horse, he 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 had 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 has 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 horse reacts when you are fearful, angry, feeling aggressive etc. I wanted to deal with these issues myself with the help of Dan, as it has now proved to me that when we as people are centered, ( that to me is being happy deep down inside of yourself) when you believe in yourself and most importantly love yourself then the connection with your horse is a much, much deeper one than you could imagine.

Horses... ALL HORSES just want to be loved, just like we do, its that simple. My horse will come to me in the field, without putting a head collar on him, or wildly shouting him. He will move gently around the 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 now it seems that I see through his eyes, and he becomes my legs, we are almost one!

Someone in England once said that Dan Franklin helps horses with "people problems". I can certainly vouch for this and it is working for me.

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 your work.

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.

I 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.

I 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 developing.

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 ever.

I believe I am now continuing to develop a better relationship with my horse.

I 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
(September 2004)

Hi Dan,
Just wanted to say a few things about Dan's Arabians.

I 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.


Hello Dan.
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.

Stuart Dare
Reiki Therapist
Derby, England

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Dear Dan:
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.
Charlotte Thornley

Hi Dan,
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 their fear.

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.

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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.

I 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.

I 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.

I 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.

I 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

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Hi Dan,
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 come.

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 think about.

Best of luck in the future.


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 regular members.

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.

I 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?

0191 2615544
Registered Charity 1084687

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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.

I 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, England )

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Hello Dan,
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.
Serina xxxxx

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 any kind.

Thanks Dan

Hi Dan
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 now.

Leanne Macbeth (13 years of age)

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Dear Dan,
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

HI Dan,
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)

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I 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

Hi Dan,
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 horse.

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.


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