Horse whisper wants to teach people better communication

By Jo Lines-Mackenzie

Dan Steers relishes every chance of “speaking horse”.

It’s a bit like “speaking man”, apparently.

The equestrian clinician, who is in Hamilton for Equidays, wants to press home the fact that people need to communicate better with their horse.

They do that by capturing the audience with impressive tricks such as getting his 12-year-old stallion, Double Image, to sit on a beanbag or rear on demand.

From there, Steers and his business partner Dan James attempt to teach people about horsemanship and getting a better partnership with their horse or pony.

“[Horses] are easy to work with as they’re a bit similar to males ’cause we look for the path of less resistance and that is what horses are like – they want to please and they want the easiest way to do that.” Steers said.

The Australian is one part of a double act that performs at regular entertainment shows and horsemanship clinics.

They’ll be performing during Equidays this weekend at Mystery Creek.

Steers admits that he has a passion, almost an addiction, when it comes to working with horses and he’s made a career out of it.

“We do it because we love horses. We don’t do it for the attention, there are other avenues to pursue if you wanted to have the attention.”

Horsemanship is growing in popularity with New Zealand’s Wilson sisters now making a career out taming and re-homing Kaimanawa ponies.

“Horsemanship is becoming a little bit more new age, there has been the likes of Parelli​ Horsemanship and the movie the Horse Whisper that have helped bring it to light over the years.

“What we try to share is to get people to enjoy their horses, as simple as it seems a lot of people don’t, somewhere down the line some people lose that passion,” Steers said.

It’s not a one-way street with Steers just teaching the horses, he continues to learn from them as well.

“You have to have patience, I look at my role with the horse I’m the teacher and he’s the student, often you blame the student for not learning but I look it as the fault of the teacher and so if I’m having difficulty with a horse I look at myself and how I am presenting my learnings.”

Steers will be performing and competing over the weekend at Equidays.