Whispering Horsemanship, owned by Steve and Kimmie Sowers, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, helped Matt and his new horse Silver bond with each other for the 2005 ADT trip. Their horse whispering services were donated to Matt because they believe in the dream behind his trip. Matt could not have done this trip without them! The following is an essay from Steve Sowers If you are interested in learning more about Horse Whispering or would like to work with Whispering Horsemanship please call them at 734-428-8883.
My wife, Kimmie, and I have spent quite a few years now studying under some of the best horse whisperers in the business, Clinton Anderson, Pat and Linda Parelli, Dennis Reis. We have taken from our own experiences as well as the experiences from others to form what we call "Whispering Horsemanship".
Who Is Whispering Horsemanship?
We chose the name Whispering Horsemanship because it said a lot about what we believe in when it comes to training our students. The most important part of our communication work is with the student, and how they communicate with their horse. I believe that horses have a pretty good understanding on how to be a horse. It's the people who have a hard time understanding that they need change themselves first, before they can relate to the horse so that the horse understands what we are trying to accomplish.
During our training sessions we teach our students on how to act like a horse, think like a horse, and communicate with the horse just as if they were alpha in a herd of horses. If you are looking for a partnership with your horse, you must first gain acceptance, trust, and respect on the ground before even thinking about riding. This works both ways as well.
An example of what we do is this: Catching your horse out in the pasture is one of the toughest for most people. I've been told "take a grain bucket with you", hide your lead rope behind your back", etc. My technique is quite different. When I want to play around with my horse, I'll go out in the pasture, pick a spot and lay down. When my four horses see this, they must think I am nuts. However, horses are naturally very curious animals. I am doing the opposite of what everyone else does. The end result is I have four horses catching me. Once they all gather around me, I may rub them down, and then I'll pick a new spot to lay down. Then again they come to me. By doing this, the horses are showing that they want to be with me, and not run away. We are about building relationships with the horse, and making it fun for both you and the horse as you grow with each other.
Matt Parker & Whispering Horsemanship
This spring, we were holding an Open House and the "Ann Arbor News" did an article in the paper on us titled "No More Kick Starts". The day of the Open House my wife received a phone call from Matt. Matt told my wife what he was trying to accomplish in crossing the ADT and he thought maybe we could help with his journey.
At our first meeting Matt told us about his journey and how far he had traveled, how he first met Silver and that he needed to bond with him a very short amount of time in order to complete the last leg of his journey (Kansas to Delaware). My wife and I thought this was quite a challenge. To build a relationship with your horse takes time, discipline and patience. All 3 factors did not seem achievable in the short time frame. We also felt an instant connection with Matt and of course Silver. We have since accepted the extreme challenge that Matt and Silver presented us, and both are doing very well in the training sessions.
For 7 days a week for a few hours a night we worked on the fundamentals, and had to adjust our program to the time frame that we are working with. Our major focus is for Matt and Silver's safety, so a lot of training is geared towards safety. Matt is learning under saddle now and we have seen his confidence grow in just a few weeks. Since coming to us, Silver is getting quite the treatment! He works out and plays everyday, he had a trip to the chiropractor where he got adjusted, and he is eating a lot of food and supplements to prepare him for the journey ahead.
Kimmie and I are supporting Matt not for the money we have donated our services - but to ensure Matt and Silver arrive safely to Delaware. This is as much a challenge for us as it is to Matt and Silver. We have since grown very fond of Silver and will surely miss him when they are gone (Matt too!). At this point though, my wife and I agree that our reward is in Delaware when Matt calls and says he and Silver are coming home!