What is Horse Whispering?


An introduction by Jim Fogarty


A Horse whisperer is a Horse trainer who adopts a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the horse, based on modern equine psychology. The term goes back to the early nineteenth century when an Irish horseman, Daniel Sullivan, made a name for himself in England by rehabilitating horses that had become vicious and intractable due to abuse or accidental trauma.


He kept his methods secret, but people who managed to observe him noticed that he would stand face to face with the troubled horse. They seemed to think that he must have been saying something to the horse in a way the horse could understand and accept because the horses were quickly gentled by his mysterious techniques.


In Ireland we have a natural talent with horses. This is recognised throughout the horse world, but of recent times we are underachieving. We first blame the Irish horses however we are now purchasing abroad and still under achieving .We need to recognise what is required is a combination of partnership of both horse and rider to achieve optimum performance.


Recognising partnership is more than just talking about it, we need to re-discover our natural ability and this involves encouraging the horse to think and contribute we should listen and observe because without the horses enthusiasm we will not achieve our potential. It is illogical to expect a horse that is uncomfortable with gadgets or bullied and in fear of a threat of pain to be soft and athletic. It is easy to identify the talented riders and combinations they are quiet and their tack is usually at a minimum. We need to encourage proper training or education towards a true feel and realise there is no quick fix. Gadgets do not work.


Our original Horse whisperer did not inflict pain etc; fortunately his techniques were passed on to W.J.Powel.who travelled extensively throughout the United States helping the more seriously traumatized horses. Eventually he wrote his own book and it developed from there to the more recent well-known horse whisperers, natural horse trainers.



Jim Fogarty.