Gently Does It.
The way people treat horses can be good for their health.
By LIESL HATTINGH
Lifestyle - Country Life Magazine South Africa
Canadian horse whisperer Dan Franklin is happy to have given of his time and expertise to the Towersig Trust.
IT'S HOT AND DUSTY AND THE SAND IS
gritty on my teeth, but I dare not get up for a drink. The horse in the ring kicks up fresh dust as it circles a man whose calm demeanour belies the tension that the 20-odd observers are caught up in.
Today a special kind of healing is taking place at Towersig Farm near De Rust in the Little Karoo. Legendary Canadian horse whisperer Dan Franklin has answered a call by the Towersig Trust to donate his expertise for the launch of its Horses Helping Humans special needs programme in November.
For two days Dan has practised his exceptional skills on horses that have suffered trauma. But he believes his gentle, intuitive approach is just as applicable to people. "Horses and people mirror one another," he explains. "I can put a horse and a person in an empty round pen and after a short time pinpoint what is going on with the person."
Read the rest of the article here
Horse whisperer shares secrets of equine communication
By CATHY DIPPNALL
CXpress - The Garden Route Newspaper
December 12, 2007
HORSE SENSE: Dan Franklin gently
leads this horse around the ring through non-verbal
communication, demonstrating the secret of intuitive equine
communication to horse lovers and breeders from the Southern
Cape (click image for more detail)
Dan Franklin and his partner Susan Kaeppel from
Cariboo Country in British Columbia were invited to the Southern Cape by
Alta and Paul Reynolds of the Towersig 'Horses Helping Humans' Trust in
De Rust. Franklin held two one-day clinics in 'Learning the secrets of
intuitive communication' for horse lovers, trainers and breeders.
Over 40 enthusiasts from De Rust, Oudtshoorn,
Great Brak, Sedgefield and Knysna attend-ed the clinics where Franklin,
using horses from Towersig as well as an Arabian belonging to one of the
workshop members, showed through gentle non-verbal communication how to
get the horses to work with him.
Using his mind and simple body language, Franklin
was able to build a bond with the animals without the fear and
intimidation that horses are more accustomed to.
It was fascinating watching him in action. First he showed the group how
people normally react to difficult horses by shouting, or running after
them to try and saddle them up. Gradually Franklin started to focus on a
horse and then, without talking, 'communicated' with the horse though
While he used his techniques of non-verbal
communication, he avoided direct eye contact with the horses while being
very relaxed and non-aggressive in his gestures.
"You have to remember, horses are also wild animals that have been
domesticated and are capable of injuring or killing a person if
perceiving it is in a dangerous situation. It nearly happened to me and
is a lesson to be learned about behaviour," said Franklin. He uses his
unique ability to not only help horse owners to work and know their
horses better but, through his teaching, helps humans to become less
"We live in a very uptight world and we need to
think differently. We try and manipulate others as well as animals.
Horses have taught me to be positive and live for now."
Said Stefan Weyers of Drie Valleyen Boerperd stud
farm near Sedgefield: "I have found it difficult training some of the
horses at our stud and I dislike having to work with one or two of the
headstrong ones. Dan's approach is different and I think it will be of
great help to me."
Franklin's training as a horse whisperer stems
from his life-long love for horses and working with them. Through his
observations of equine behaviour and their sensitivity towards humans
and their emotions, he has expanded his programme to include sessions
with adults and children with special needs.
Dan and Susan were also able to assist Alta and
animal communicator and trainer Angie Gillett with Towersig's
newly-implemented social upliftment and special needs programme.
"We are working alongside the South African Police
child protection unit in De Rust and have identified children who are at
high risk due to emotional, mental and physical abuse," said Gillett,
who is also initialising a programme for people with disabilities.
For the past 12 years, Franklin has been holding
clinics and work sessions with horses and humans in England,
Switzerland, SA and Hawaii as the demand for his special type of
intuitive horse language continues to grow worldwide.
Rocky - The Story of a Quarter Horse
By Debbie Lahaye
Western Rider UK.
A Grandson of Topsail Cody, with the
illustrious Peppy San on his dam's
side, Rocky should have been destined for glamorous world of the show
pen. Instead he was cowering in a Canadian sales ring, with an unknown
future awaiting him.
What exactly happened in Rocky's formative years is not certain. His
owner seemed gentle enough and the reason given of having to cut down on
his horses seemed genuine. Yet something wasn't adding up- why was a 2
year old of Rocky's breeding being sold at the Williams lake Sales, and
why was he so nervous of everything around him? Dan had not gone to buy
a horse that day, but something about the sorrel gelding drew him back.
He was classic Quarter horse confirmation, chunky and good looking, and
obviously as well bred as his owner said. But as Dan watched the
troubled horse in the holding pen, there was something about him that
was different from other horses, something from which it was hard to
By the time Rocky entered the sales ring, he was terrified - snorting
and spooking at everything. The bidders admired the way the gelding
moved, but the fear in him was palpable , and few wanted to take a
chance. The auctioneer struggled to slowly move the bids up, but all the
time Rocky grew more and more afraid, despite the handlers best attempts
to calm him. With the bidding standing at $900 Canadian, Dan couldn't
resist. At that moment a little Indian kid stepped on a pop can- Rocky
exploded, and no more bids were placed! Dan found himself with a
Topsail Cody grandson for the price of meat money.
It seemed a bargain, even if the horse was a little wild! With his
breeding and good looks, Dan felt he would be able to turn the horse
around with a spell of training and sell him onto a competitive home. It
looked like a professional horse trainers dream. But a three hour round
trip home to get the trailer and cheque book meant that Dan wasn't able
to pick up the little colt till it was nearly dark. By then, Rocky had
other ideas... There was no way he was going into that confined space.
Rocky showed some of the fight that lurked behind those troubled eyes.
kicking and shaking, and doing his best to stay out of the trailer. It
wasn't till nearly midnight that Rocky began his journey home.
Dan later found out that Rocky's previous owner had 67 other horses
running around his ranch- strange that selling one should free up so
much room? However there were more pressing matters to deal with that
night - namely how to persuade Rocky that he was going to live indoors.
Dan's first thought was to make the horse comfortable for the night.
Rocky just had a different idea of comfort.
There was a 12 ft. doorway into the arena that led to the barn. That
took an hour to get through.. Once inside he exploded with fear. The
four foot doorway leading to the barn was the next monster- and on the
other side of this monster laid the previously un-encountered sound of
his own feet on the concrete! By the time Rocky made it to his stall, he
was dripping with sweat and shaking. Dan stayed with him till he felt
more safe, then finally retired to bed, wondering in what state he would
find the horse in the morning.
The next day saw Rocky physically recovered from the previous days
trauma, but mentally no more willing to comply with Dan's ideas. Time
spent in the round pen seemed the obvious place to start. But 'together'
was not a concept Rocky wished to be familiar with. Despite Dan's best
attempts, Rocky was not interested in any game the human wanted to play
with him. Eventually Dan decided to open the round pen gates to let
Rocky into the chute where the water trough was. This might be a good
place to put the halter on him, Dan figured.
Rocky figured different! A double barrelled kick made sure Dan realised
that all dreams a human has on behalf of a horse can be a nightmare from
the horses point of view, What ever ideas Dan had for Rocky as his
trainer, Rocky was going to question every step of the way.
The training continued. It was now clear that this wasn't going to be a
fast profit. But something about the gelding made Dan take as much time
as it needed. Rocky had never been started, so first he needed to learn
to carry a saddle. Although he tolerated this, he made it clear he
wasn't keen. Accepting a rider was a step too far. Rocky finding a way
to get rid of the unwelcome intrusion. Dan chose to go back to more
groundwork, to try to build a stronger foundation of trust. Rocky
improved in this, and would happily accept being driven, but
unfortunately it didn't help him to accept a rider. Although Dan rode
him about six times, but Rocky did not like it at all. In the end, Dan
felt like he was riding the horse just to prove a point, so made the
decision to stop.
Rocky gradually became more relaxed in his stall, but was always happier
when he was outside. To help settle him, Dan decided to turn him out
with three other geldings and a broodmare. Rocky kicked them all,
leaving a trail of injuries. Dan began to realize the complete picture
of why Rocky was sold. Being a great believer in horses living with
company, Dan decided to give Rocky another chance and turned him out
with a rescued cutting horse. By the end of the day the gelding was
dead; having to be destroyed after one of Rocky's kicks dealt a fatal
This was a big problem. Rocky had to spend all his time in his own
paddock and stall. For a horse that felt little comfort from the human
race, Rocky could not even find comfort with in his own kind. For the
next five years life followed this basic pattern for Rocky, but all the
time Dan tried to find ways to get closer to him. The idea was still to
sell him on, although the immediacy of that got lost along the way
.Instead the priority was to be able to communicate with him. Things
slowly improved - Rocky would now follow Dan around, but made it clear
that he did not want to be ridden. Dan found himself happy to work
within Rocky's chosen boundaries, recognizing that it took a whole lot
more courage for Rocky to choose to follow a human on the ground than it
takes to accept a human onto their backs. The explosive side of his
nature was till there, and most unpredictable, but Dan noticed that when
Rocky finally learnt to trust a person he showed a great love for them,
beyond what Dan had been used to seeing. This side continued to intrigue
Dan, but he found his workload was preventing him spending the time he
wanted with him. The answer was simple - for the next few years Rocky
went on the road with him, going to clinics and living alongside him.
By now Rocky was happy to be totally controlled at liberty, Dan being
able to move him wherever he wanted on the ground even from a distance.
Something Dan had been wanting to do for a while started to take shape.
He started a special needs program at his ranch, designed to let horses
help kids who needed help of a different kind,. Intuitively Dan knew
Rocky would play a key role. Like many of the children involved Rocky
had been to that place, where he felt scared to death, where people
spoke for him and he was not allowed to speak for himself.
Dan chose to see how Rocky reacted with an autistic girl. The girl had
already spent time with Dan, and had come for the weekend to spend more
time with the horses. Although she stood in the middle of the pen with
Dan, she remained in her own silent world as Rocky circled around them.
When Dan sensed the time was right he invited Rocky in. Without
hesitating Rocky trotted straight up to the girl, entering her space
without fear. When he reached her he immediately dropped his head and
rested his leg. Horse and girl communicated without words, each with
their silent language that they'd struggled to make others understand.
Now they both found unquestioning empathy and love without judgement.
Dan only needed to stand by and watch Rocky work his magic, knowing he
had found a role in life he fitted. When Dan approached Rocky lifted his
head and flared his nostrils, sending out a gentle signal that, at last,
here was someone he wanted to protect.
Rocky became the head teacher in the Special Needs project in six
months he helped 57 children with conditions ranging from cerebral palsy, autism, attention deficit disorder as well as blindness and deafness.
His preference from being driven which Dan had discovered while trying
to find a way to ride him became a special talent that he particularly
used with wheel chair users.
Six years on he's still helping people. Not everyone that needs help
comes with a label on them. Rocky has a way of seeing into the heart of
people and recognizing where they need help. Dan reckons that if you go
into the round pen with Rocky, Rocky will be able to tell him far more
about you than you would ever be able to yourself.
Watching Rocky in the Special Needs program, and remembering how he
bought the grandson of Topsail Cody with ideas of greatness in the show
pen, Dan realized how not all were destined to follow that seems to be
mapped out for us. Sure Rocky's relatives have gloried in the blue
ribbons and achieved great worth as cutters and refiners . But how much
more valuable Rocky turned out to be in the role of therapist, a role
where he is not even ridden. If Dan had stuck rigidly to the obvious
path, he would have missed Rocky's true talent, and many children would
have missed out too. He believes that he owes it to Rocky that he too
learnt to follow a different path.
Looking back over the frustration of the early years with Rocky, Dan
realized that Rocky seemed to have been sent to show him that different
way. Dan initially wanted to prove through this performance bred horse
that he was a top trainer, capable of being in the winning pen. Instead,
he found his own ego pushed to the side, as Rocky showed that he himself
was a far better teacher of what HUMANS need than Dan was of what HORSES
need, if people were only prepared to listen. In a way he gave Dan the
gift of freedom of choice, realizing that just as Rocky was not destined
to follow the well trodden path to the show pen that was expected of
him, neither did Dan have to follow the conventional training methods
that he thought were expected of him.
Of course, somewhere along the line, the original plan of selling Rocky
fell by the wayside. Who would ever want to sell a once in a lifetime
horse ? But last fall rocky took another huge step forward in his own
life. Dan had a strong feeling that Rocky was ready to be back with his
own family , so he took the decision to turn him out with his herd of
horses that run in the Canadian bush. It took him only a week to adjust
- his initial pushiness was sorted out by the mares, which put him into
place in the herd, free from conflict of feeling he has to be the leader
while at the same time being afraid of that role. Finally he has
developed the confidence to feel safe amongst his own kind.
Rocky's story has simply been in the age-old story of a horse struggling
to communicate in a human world. It is a struggle that thousands of
horses undergo every year. But because Rocky's reactions were so
extreme, it made the humans around him try harder to find another way,
opening up a new channel of communication which has benefited both
humans and other horses alike. Just as Rocky has helped hundreds of
humans with their own problems, he has shown Dan how to help horses and
humans to communicate with each other a message Dan is proud to take
worldwide today. Blue ribbons would do Rocky no justice - it is the peace
and contentment that he has helped others to find that will be his
Dan is a Canadian horse trainer who spends time in England each year
because of the demand from students for his simple natural techniques
that enhance and transform horse/human relationships. For more
information on his work call 01332 280563 or visit
Miracles with Alan Thicke
TV Series Episode 1 Season 2
DAN THE HORSE WHISPERER
Location: Maple Ridge, BC
A horse whisperer teaches his amazing ability to speak the natural
language of horses to a developmentally
challenged girl. Using this horse whispering skill, it allows her a medium to communicate with the outside
world through her relationship with horses.
on CBBC Digital
16th to 22nd, 2004 Dan was featured on a new TV series on Digital
Television CBBC called ‘The Stables’ the series features an Inner
City Stable for under privileged children & young people with
The Language of Love
by Kathy Carter
for Horse Magazine
the past eight years Dan Franklin has been holding clinics and workshops
under the banner of ‘Dan Franklin Equine Communication Services’. Most
of Dan’s communication work is carried out in British Columbia where he
breeds Arabian horses, the most intelligent breed in the world in Dan’s
estimation. Dan’s intuitive training is based on a wealth of experience
plus his keen observations of equine behaviour over the past 26 years.
According to Canada’s top equine behaviourist, all owners and riders have the potential to improve the relationship with their horse through intuitive training and handling. "Horses have a love and empathy stronger than any other animal", Dan maintains.
He believes that to improve competitive edge or riding skills at any level, horse and rider must be intuitively connected. “Through this mental connection the rider becomes more in tune with the horse’s body” Dan explains. “This intuitive communication must be initiated on the ground before a rider takes to the horse’s back, and once developed will give quicker responses and allow the horse to maintain a lighter, softer feel. Through this mental connection horse and rider can stay focused at all times, even when the pressure is on at a competitive level.”
“We try and learn a softer way with our animals”
Many equine trainers are masters of physical control rather than good old fashioned respect and trust, according to Dan. “Horses need to be loved, understood and encouraged rather than forced” he says. “I can pick up what a horse is thinking and communicate with him in a language he understands - his own.”
Dan uses the skills of the ‘horse whisperer’ in his training. “The term horse whisperer does have a certain mystery attached to it” concedes Dan, who is also known as a slightly less romantic ‘Clinician in Equine Behaviour’, “but it came about because we simply try and learn a softer way with our animals.” We invited HORSE reader Michaela Simpson to experience an intuitive language workshop with Dan.
HORSE reader Michaela Simpson wanted to learn how to improve her communications skills as a rider, and was a prime candidate for a one to one session with Dan. Michaela has been riding for over 25 years and aims to compete her young Hungarian Sports Horse Jazz when he is ready. “Jazz was a poorly handled 4 year old when I bought him, and it took a while to build his strength up” she says. “I am really pleased with our progress to date, but I feel we are rarely in harmony. I need to do more positive thinking as I sometimes doubt myself, and I hope this workshop with Dan will give us the confidence we need.”
Making a connection
First of all Dan chats to Michaela about her competitive hopes and aspirations with Jazz. “To move forward towards your goals you need to develop mutual respect, trust and confidence" explains Dan. Michaela hopes to compete in dressage and eventing when Jazz is ready, but feels they need to fine tune their training before they start to compete seriously.
Dan watches carefully as Michaela and Jazz interact with each other and realises they have some basic communication issues. “They are not mentally connected” he says. “Jazz has little respect for Michaela and can be bargy. I think his issues stem from past experiences, as he is afraid of being physically forced into doing what is asked of him. Michaela is also afraid of his past behaviour and doubts herself. The end result is that horse and rider are disconnected mentally and physically”.
An open mind
To encourage Jazz to achieve more ‘connection’, Dan demonstrates a series of moves from the ground with a rope halter and 12" leadrope. Dan wants Jazz to choose to stay with him as they walk around the menage, rather than being lead or coerced with pressure; this mimics the hierarchy of the wild horse and aims to make Jazz feel safe and happy with his handler.
"I am using around 65% intuition and 35% body language with Jazz" Dan tells Michaela. "The halter is just a training aid, and puts slight pressure on the nose, poll and jowls when I use short, gentle pulls to get Jazz's attention."
As part of the initial 'join up' process, Dan makes his passive body language assertive to send the horse off. Jazz is initially spooky and nervous, and plunges across the school. Instead of bracing against him, Dan moves with the horse so Jazz has nothing to pull against, allowing the leadrope to stay slack. "I am
showing him I am not intimidated" explains Dan.
Dan gives Jazz the chance to return to him of his own accord, keeping the leadrope slack. Jazz is now paying attention but still seems suspicious of his new situation - however he eventually tips his nose towards Dan and walks towards him. "This means he is interested" explains Dan. "If his nose was tipped to the outside of the menage it would mean he is trying to get away from me."
Dan walks Jazz on a circle for about 8 revolutions before asking for a change of direction. In order to do this Dan walks slightly in front of Jazz and uses a small amount of pressure on the halter, at the same time asking him intuitively to change the rein. Dan walks backwards, which encourages Jazz to turn and face him, before the horse changes direction as requested.
Dan rewards his good behaviour by rubbing Jazz between the eyes rather than patting him. Dan also runs his hands down Jazz’s legs and along his sides and back. “I am allowing him to gain confidence and trust in me, and am also using my healing skills to help Jazz calm down and forget his fears” Dan tells Michaela. "This is a form of massage and allows Jazz to pick up some of my positive energy."
“If horse and rider are not connected, little progress will be made in the saddle.”
Dan decides that handling and ground work would be more useful to Michaela and Jazz than ridden work in this particular session. “It is really important to make the connection from the ground before getting on board” says Dan. “If horse and rider are not connected, little progress will be made in the saddle.”
Dan introduces Michaela to the circle games in the menage, and asks her to walk around on the circle with Jazz, keeping the leadrope loose. This is to teach Michaela how to lead Jazz without controlling him physically.
Dan asks Michaela to try some transitions with Jazz to encourage communication on a mental level. They move into trot and Jazz tries to pull on the rope, but Michaela keeps up with him and maintains a loose contact. In order to make a downward transition into walk she applies slight pressure on the rope and uses her feel and intuition to communicate with Jazz. Dan is delighted as the horse slows to a walk. "Feel isn’t just about a contact through the reins or the lead rope" says Dan, "but rather a feel through the entire body between horse and handler.”
A softer feel
Next Dan chats to Michaela about the importance of positive thinking and goes through some visualisation techniques. He discusses common competitive fears like jumping badly or not completing a dressage movement, and encourages Michaela to picture a positive outcome at an event of her choice.
“Visualisation and relaxation are very important” he says, “and once your communication skills are more in tune with Jazz you should see a difference in your training that will translate into the competition arena.”
"Michaela was very honest with herself about her own self confidence" says Dan, "but she needs to stop dwelling on the past and look ahead to the future. Jazz is now much softer and lighter in his movements and Michaela is using a positive attitude to improve Jazz’s negative behaviour - the results are very rewarding.”
So what did Michaela make of her workshop with Dan? “I went in with an open mind” she says, “though initially I wasn’t sure how this could help develop our competitive edge. I must say, it was fascinating to see how Dan communicated with Jazz and went through the ‘join up’ process. He also had lots of good advice about positive thinking and loving your horse like a friend. Dan suggested going to a competition thinking that you are going to win, and I agree that this is a good strategy - I do try to have a positive outlook when I compete. I can see that Jazz relaxed a great deal with Dan’s training and handling methods, and think this is an excellent basis for training a youngster - after all, a happy horse is a willing horse.”
Dan is holding a series of workshops this year in the UK, including ‘Improving the competitive edge’, ‘Learn the language of the horse’ and ‘Overcoming your fears and self doubt’.
“Many good competitive horses are not performing at their optimum because of various behavioural problems” says Dan. “These workshops aim to pin-point existing issues and work towards enhancing the physical, emotional and mental abilities of both horse and rider.”
For more information call
Ann Dare at : 01332 280 563 or 07929917418 ( mobile )
Whenever you are trying new training techniques with your horse, make sure you are safety conscious and wear a riding hat and gloves. If you have sought outside advice and are practicing what you have been taught at home, remember that your horse may react in different ways to different people, so always be aware.
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Western Rider UK
Trainer Profile - Dan Franklin
by Debbie Lahaye
This month, Western Rider UK introduces a new name to the UK scene. Dan Franklin is a
Canadian horse trainer who has already left an impression on those lucky enough to see the work and demonstrations he
has done in the UK. With Dan now planning on spending four months a year here, hosting an exciting
programme of workshops, demos and individual coaching, Western Rider UK takes a look at Dan's unique
approach to interacting with horses and people.
The word 'interacting' is used rather than 'working', because Dan is far removed from the sort of
trainer who drills horses and riders with endless arena exercises and a constant supply of
equipment and gadgets. Dan's approach is about communicating with horses in a way that they feel comfortable and
familiar with, and so creating a trusting relationship between horse and rider. This relationship
becomes a positive base from which the partnership can go on to achieve their goals, whether that be
competition or everyday hacking - but the relationship is also of intrinsic value rather than just
being a means to an end. It is in basic communication with the horse that Dan feels a lot of people
have lost the way. "You have many good horses in different disciplines that have major behavioural
problems because we use mechanics and harsh words...The human language has become very complex; the
language of horses has not."
Describing himself as an equine communicator, Dan has thirty five years of horse training
experience and has spent hundreds of hours studying their behaviour, which obviously gives
him a head start when it comes to solving problems involving horses. However, Dan believes
that communicating with horses is not just based on learning their physical language, but on
the knowledge that we can communicate with them mentally too. "I believe I am one of the very few people who talk their intuitive language. And I
am, I believe, one of the very few that are introducing this. Most people are teaching body language
and teaching aggression through their own language. But I am not like that. I teach horses' language,
which is very soft and direct. It is a very positive language. Unlike most people, horses don't have a
hard time talking to each other."
Communicating with horses on any level other than physical is something many people are
slightly suspicious of - are we getting into the realms of 'horse
whispering' and claims of mystical gifts that exclude the average horse owner? In fact, this is very far from the case - Dan, a down to earth
rancher, shuns the term 'horse whisperer' and is concerned more than anything that more people should
be encouraged to develop the intuitive side of communicating with horses. The benefit for owners is
that it opens up new channels of communication that can help us achieve a better relationship with the
horse, making everyday tasks and goals easier and more enjoyable for both horse and owner. Dan's gifts
are not 'mystical' but a result of staying in touch with life forces and energies in the same way that
horses have (retaining an empathy with nature which is similar to many native American beliefs) This
development of a greater understanding between horse and human is the main focus of the workshops that
Dan runs, helping people to find a way to co-exist with their horse which is acceptable and
pleasurable for both. Often, Dan doesn't actually have to 'teach' them anything, but just helps them to allow
themselves to achieve. Have you ever wanted to follow your gut reaction or instinct with a horse, only
to be told by 'experts' that what you are doing is incorrect?
A good example of this way of helping horses was shown during a demonstration at Sandown
Equine Fair in April. The horse chosen for Sunday's display was billed as nothing short of a
man-eater. He would attack anyone who went in his stable and particularly hated men! There
was a feeling of anticipation around the round pen as we watched the uptight grey horse make his way to the pen, while the little known
Canadian trainer waited quietly inside. The horse was so tense he leapt blindly through the round pen
gate, obviously terrified by what might be about to happen; the owner handed the halter rope to Dan,
and then... apparently nothing. Very little happened visually or physically. The horse circled at a
walk around Dan who explained that while he was talking to us he was also communicating with the horse.
The energy levels immediately dropped as the horse became calmer and soon had growing confidence in
Dan. Anyone expecting a horse to be sent away in a flurry of excitement followed by a dramatic
submission would have been disappointed, but anyone wanting to see a true display of
horsemanship in a way the horse obviously felt comfortable with could not help but be impressed. The commentator
almost felt the need to apologise, having described the horse as having major aggression problems, none
of which had been displayed, but a testimony from the owner and her friend was confirmation that
something remarkable had happened. To complete the demo, the horse was taken back to the stable, where
it now accepted people in its space.
But although a lot can be achieved in a short demo, Dan's training is not about quick fixes.
When asked about taking horses in for training, he expressed a preference for taking four to five year olds for 'a
minimum of six months, preferably a lifetime!' This is where workshops for
owners come in - so many times horses come back from training, only for the owners to find they can't reach that same level of
understanding that certain horsemen seem to instinctively have. Dan's approach takes the emphasis away
from making time with your horse into hard work and shows how people can play certain games with their
horses in their own environment to communicate with each other. This is aimed at changing people's
attitudes as well as the horses. When I asked Dan what he most liked doing with horses, he replied that
as well as training he likes 'hanging out with the herd'. Here's a trainer that genuinely loves just
spending time with his horses. You get the impression that the horses welcome him 'hanging out' too. It
is this kind of involvement that Dan encourages other people to enjoy with their horses - it's not
all training, training, training.
Dan describes how he came to be this way with horses. Although he has learnt most of what
he knows through observation of the horse and working with the horses themselves, he owes
his inspiration to a man he worked with as a teenager. "He was not very talkative but I watched and studied him for a long
time. He was a very soft man with the horses. He never raised his voice or got aggressive. There were
certain things he did that I didn't like, but what he did do worked. He wouldn't tell me about it. I
just had to watch him and look at horses in their natural environment. "Now I have learned to pick up
on what they do before they do it. You can tell by various slight body language clues exactly what
they're thinking...It was a learning process. Horses all have the same language and they all have
different personalities. You have to understand that and be very flexible with what you do with them.
"Horses will always work for people because they are one of the most forgiving creatures on this earth.
I know if I was a horse I wouldn't be very responsive."
Back on the ranch in British Columbia, Dan's herd of
21 Arabians run free in 160 acres, leading
a stress free life that allows them to interact with people in such a positive way that they are
used in Dan's therapy programmes to help people with special needs. It is testimony to Dan's
way with horses that a breed often thought of as 'flighty' can be allowed to be calm and
responsive enough to instil confidence in people who have little of their own. But with Dan helping both horses and people to
understand each other, close bonds can be formed. For the future, he would love to build up the special
needs programme - "Horses have great success with autistic children. Horses are very within themselves,
as are autistic children, so they accept each other. I have a special needs programme in Canada and my
dream is to build three or four therapeutic centres where my disabled students can be employed to reach
others that have disabilities." Until then, Dan continues to travel the world, helping horses with
their people problems.
Western is Dan's background, because it is the style of riding he grew up with, but he also
works with riders from disciplines as diverse as dressage and endurance riding. If you get a
chance to attend one of Dan's clinics or demos this year, don't miss it. There are workshops tailored to different needs,
from overcoming your fears to gaining a competitive edge. It may just add a new dimension to the way
you see horses, or it may allow you to open up a whole new world for communication between you and your
horse. The only thing Dan asks is that you 'come with an open mind - the horses do!'
For more details on Dan's clinics, contact
Ann Dare at : 01332 280 563
or 07929917418 ( mobile ) Email :
Arab Horse Society
Dan's involvement with Arabian horses goes back some twenty years ago when he purchased his first Arabian. Since then Dan has developed quite a unique breeding program and his barn carries some of the oldest foundation bloodlines of the purest Polish Arabians in the world. On Dan's ranch in the heart of the Cariboo, in Northern British Columbia, Canada his Arabian horses go back to the foundation lines of Synbad, Aladdinn, Fadjur, Silverdrift, Khemosabi Bask, Bey Shah, Fadaro, Ferzon, just to name a few.
Dan's horses live on 160 acres of natural forest habitat, drink out of a lake and forage on some of the country's finest grasses and herb vegetation there is to offer. Dan's Arabians are very relaxed in their environment and have very little stress in their lives. They feel very safe and comfortable in their surroundings, and their quiet disposition is attributed to their natural
Dan has two outstanding stallions, Lyndale Flame Dancer, a great-great-grandson out of Khemosabi and JC Aladdinn, a direct son out of the world's famous Aladdinn. These two stallions have a very quiet temperament, excellent conformation and very intelligent minds, which each of them passes on to his foals.
In Dan's estimation the Arabian horse is the most intelligent horse in the world today. They are the people's choice when it comes to photography, pleasure and showing. They are the most prestigious horse in today's time, and are admired by people of all walks of life.
Dan uses his quiet Arabian horses in the clinics he conducts for his "Special Needs Program", and teaches horsemanship to students looking for a special rewarding experience that will last for a lifetime.
Dan has been chosen by the Arab Horse Society to conduct a special presentation of his skills and talent, using some of the finest Arabian horses in the world, at this year's show in Malvern.
Dan is a very special, unique horseman, using the "Horse and their Language" as a metaphor for his lessons learned over the years, which in turn he teaches worldwide today.
The Horse and Country Fair
"Horse Whisperer" Dan Franklin is presenting his skills in
Equine Communication in daily demonstrations. Visitors to the fair will
be able to see Dan play with his equine companions in a unique way,
which might change their perception of the horse-human relationship.
prefers to be described as an Equine Communicator, has based his
training on his love for horses, observing and studying their behaviour over the past 26 years. Horses naturally communicate through play, and
this is the method Dan uses to "talk" to his equine friends,
with truly remarkable results. Dan has developed a unique way of dealing
with all kinds of horse problems, such as lack of respect, nervousness
and even more serious instances of kicking and biting.
also be available on stand number 2 to answer questions.
Visit Dan's website www.equine-communication.com
British Endurance Rider a Keen Supporter
Beccy Broughton is the Top British Endurance Rider in the world. Beccy was selected to ride for the Senior Team at the World Equestrian Games.
Beccy has been a keen supporter of Dan's "Unique Training System" and will use Dan's approach in her preparation towards the Olympic Endurance Race in Greece in the year
World Class Dressage Rider working
Polly Hodges is World Class Dressage Rider on
Britain's Young Riders Dressage Team. In February Polly will be travelling to Spain, where she will be competing in the "Sunshine Tour".
Polly is now working with Dan's "Unique Training System" to enhance her riding skills through Equine Communication towards a World Class Performance Plan. Good Luck,
England September 2001
A good turn out at Solihull Riding Club on Saturday evening saw Dan Franklin, Equine Communicator; demonstrate his talents with two different horses.
The first horse was an easily excitable mare and Dan played with her until she was ready to accept a rider, which she did with confidence. The horse then went on to be ridden during the interval in the second arena where the owner could see the level of performance the horse obtained.
The second horse had quite a history to it in as much that at the age of 3 years she was part broken, but would not accept a saddle, bridle or rider. Several trainers had previously worked with the horse with little success.
When the horse first came into the round pen it was easy to see how frightened and tense she was. After playing with the horse, Dan proceeded to put on the saddle, which was accepted eagerly. Dan then played with the horse again before he introduced the rider. The rider then mounted the horse and the horse stayed totally relaxed.
IT WAS AMAZING!!! The audience was silent as Dan asked the rider to walk out then pick her up to a trot, which the horse did freely.
This troubled horse finally felt safe and comfortable. Dan had accomplished an impossible dream for the horse’s owners. They were very pleased with the outcome of Dan’s gifted talent.
Mr Franklin then asked Jenny (the horse’s owner) if she would like to ride her horse, which she proceeded to do. Jenny had waited four long years for this evening.
I think all of the audience knew Dan Franklin is a different clinician with a totally different unique approach.
Dan is looking forward to returning to England next year where he will help more troubled horses and help their riders obtain a different approach through “Equine Communication”.