Horse whisperer helps improve training, communication (w/video)
Bob Allen, the horse whisperer, visits with the Crossroads Equestrian Club in Hallettsville.
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Crossroads Equestrian Club
The club meets every second Thursday of each month at different locations in the region. For more information about the club, call Glenda Klimitchek at 361-798-2899 or Kay Jones at 361-798-7199.
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To learn more about Bob Allen's technique of communication, check out his book, "Horse Whispering Savvy for People, A Study of Mindful Communication."
HALLETTSVILLE - It was hard for Bob Allen to speak Thursday over the roaring rain on the metal roof of the Wilbur Baber Memorial Complex
So he used a microphone standing upright in the right breast pocket of his softened denim button-up shirt to tell the group of about 30 people his philosophy of communicating with horses.
Allen, 54, talked while perched atop a saddle strapped to the back of Doc, his 20-year-old pale cream-colored horse. From the center of a round pen, he demonstrated how he works with horses while he explained that it's a technique that can be applied to other areas, too.
"It's a way of life," he said.
He says the difference between what some people use to train their horses and what he uses is the communication. "It's an understanding based-communication, not a punishment-based communication."
The Hallettsville native partnered with the Hallettsville Cultural Events Center to host a clinic free for all to attend.
"I want to show them (horse owners) how to solve problems," Allen said. "It's a universal way of communication that can work on horses and other animals."
He grew up on a ranch, and at age 22, he found work on a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he learned the technique that he's used ever since. Now, after 32 years, he is sharing his experience with other horse owners.
Members of the Crossroads Equestrian Club were invited to bring their own horses to the presentation for Allen to work with.
Despite the rainy conditions, Glenda Klimitchek, of Hallettsville, brought her 8-year-old mare to the expo center to allow Allen a chance to help her out. Confettis China Doll - a horse that registered as half Arabian, a National Show Horse and a Saddlebred - can be a little spooky, said Klimitchek, and has the tendency to sometimes run over her when she's led.
"There's always a better way to do things," she said about training.
Allen took Confettis China Doll and led her around the pen and the arena to show the audience how to keep the horse calm and, especially, how to remain safe.
The lean, pinto-colored horse walked slowly behind Allen with her head held low and stopped briefly each time she saw his boots rest in the dirt.
"I loved it," said Klimitchek. "He did a wonderful job."
One of Allen's key pieces of advice was to disengage the horse's hindquarters.
"If you can't control the hindquarter, you're living on hope," he said.
Once a horse engages its hindquarter, the horse is prepared to buck up and rear, which can end badly for an owner or trainer, he said.
For Elaine Jasek, of Weimar, that advice was exactly what she sought when she decided to bring Bess to Allen's horse whispering clinic.
"I could see how the horses responded so quickly to him (Allen), and I could see a difference with Bess," Jasek said.
He spent time in the pen with her 8-year-old rescued horse and showed her how to give the horse a chance to do the right thing over the wrong thing. Make the wrong things hard to do and the right things easy to do, he said. Allen demonstrated this by showing the horses that they could choose to fight him as he led them around the pen, or they could work with him.
"Work with the horse, not against it," he said.
He gave the example that if there is a child who should be tucked into bed but isn't ready to go to sleep, give that child something extra to do, Allen said. When he or she sees that it's harder to stay awake, then the child will decide that it's easier to go to sleep.
"You never want to force them to do things," he said. "You want them to take your idea and make it their idea."