How to Become a "Horse Whisperer"

Four Parts:Learning about HorsesWorking with HorsesCommunicating with HorsesEstablishing Your Business

Horse whisperers are people who are able to calm horses and work with difficult to train horses. This takes years to master. One becomes a horse whisperer by developing an innate sense of the animals. It is one thing to be able to work with a horse, but it is quite something else to do it with the gentle actions of a horse whisperer. You will have to develop your own rapport with the animals over a long time. Take care to give this practice proper dedication.

Part 1
Learning about Horses

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    Respect that horses are powerful and complex animals. If you do not take the time to properly respect horses, you should not attempt to become a horse whisperer. This means putting the needs of the horse before your own desires. You have to be able to respect the emotions and desires of the horse. This is an attitude and it inflects each interaction you have with the horse.
    • Learn respect for horses by spending time with them.
    • Horse whisperers astounded the horse training world in the mid 1900s. People had a hard time accepting it could be so easy to work with a horse. Because people did not understand horses very well, previous methods of training horses were brutal and abusive. Horse whispering is a gentle response to this out-dated and ignorant way to break and train a horse. [1]
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    Learn how a horse works and thinks. Study up on horses' perspective and horses' idea of what is the most important in life. Study how the horses' senses work. Know the places in their field of vision they can't see you, and that these blind spots can make a horse nervous. Cognition and vision in horses has been often underestimated.[2] Their blind spots are directly in front of and behind them.
    • Horses are herd animals, and they seek leaders and validation from their leaders.
    • Horses are prey animals and they are easily frightened, their primary natural defense being to run.
    • Horses have very complex communication.
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    Consider getting a specialized two or four year degree. Many universities have programs that are designed to help people work with horses. Check with your local two year and four year colleges to see what types of programs they have available.
    • Look into programs that emphasize horse training. Some schools also offer certificates in horse training, colt starting, and horsemanship that you can earn in just a year or two.
    • Consider getting a degree in business if you are already an experienced horse trainer. A business degree can help you to understand how to manage and grow your business.
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    Look for an apprenticeship to help you learn how to become a horse whisperer. Apprenticeships allow you to shadow someone who works as a horse whisperer and learn from his or her experience. Check with horse whisperers in your area to see if any apprenticeships are available.
    • Keep in mind that an apprenticeship may or may not be paid. You may receive a small stipend for your assistance or you may be working in exchange for the knowledge and experience you receive.
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    Join a club. Farm or horse clubs, such as 4H, can give you the opportunity to work with horses. Contact local farming clubs and organizations near you, to find out if you can join. Many times you can ask about volunteering opportunities as well. These groups are a great way to get hands on experience. Riding clubs are also a great way to get involved with horses.[3]
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    Take up a sport with horses. There are many horse related sports. Polo, racing, rodeos, and trick competitions are all competitive ways to get involved with horses. Sometimes schools, such as colleges, will have these clubs or groups. In other cases, it may take some research online to find a local group that plays sports with horses.

Part 2
Working with Horses

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    Feed horses. You have to start somewhere. This is a simple first attempt to work with a horse. Horses like apples, carrots, and oats among other foods. Make sure you give the horse the right feed! Feed the horse sugar cubes only as a treat. This interaction will help you to bond with ad understand horses.[4]
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    Groom and pet horses. Get a horse grooming kit and take good care of it. Gently slide your hand down your horse's body to let him know that he can trust you. This action is a crucial part of understanding and developing strong bonds with horses. It should be a habit.[5]
    • After the horse has been mildly tamed enough to let you pet and groom him, don't expect to just hop right on and ride. You will need to get the horse to trust you first.
    • Make sure to clean up after the horse as well. This is so you have a full understanding of the animal.
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    Buy your own horse. Horse ownership can be an important part of taking your dedication to horses to the next level. He will require that you work with your horse all the time. He will need care every day. Through this constant dedication, you will come to understand the communication styles of your animal. You will want to see the animal's home life, interact with him, and take him to the vet before you buy it.[6]

Part 3
Communicating with Horses

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    Spend time around horses. Remember that a hyperactive horse or a wild horse can be dangerous. Do not get too close to the horse before it is comfortable with your presence - doing so could ruin the trust you have already earned and may put your safety in jeopardy. Do not attempt to calm a frightened horse if you have not been properly trained to do so.
    • Be careful when approaching horses, as they can be skittish when approached from the behind. Remember that though their hind legs can be dangerous, their front legs are more so.
    • Observe horses while they are in their paddock.
    • Stand with the horse and talk to him, gently.
    • See how the horse interacts with other humans and horses.
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    Listen to horses. Pay attention to the noises a horse makes, and what they signify. Pay close attention to its body language as well. If you are careful enough, it may tell you things that only "Horse Whisperers" can understand. Soon, you may understand the horse and it will understand you.[7] The goal of this is establishing a kind of communication.
    • Watch for the horse to drop its head in submission.
    • Good chewing and licking are a sign that the horse is ready to be submissive as well.
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    Teach your horse that you are the leader. Horses read body language and use physical language as well to express themselves. Horses will also read your body language to determine whether or not you are in charge. Little things like crowding your space or chewing on your shirt can indicate that a horse does not see you as a leader. It is important to teach your horse that you are in charge.
    • You can use gentle pressure to correct a horse if he is in your personal space. For example, if your horse encroaches on your space when you are brushing him, then lean into his side until he moves back to where he was standing before.[8]
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    Consider learning how to “join up” with a horse. Joining up with a horse is a specific training method developed by Monty Roberts that uses a round pen to confine a horse. While the horse is confined, the trainer stands in the center and makes loud noises to frighten the horse into running in circles around the pen. After a little while, the trainer reduces the noise and then goes silent and waits for the horse to approach. This introduction is called the “join up.”[9]
    • This method of training seems to be very effective, but some veterinary science researchers have warned that this method may be traumatic for the horse.

Part 4
Establishing Your Business

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    Advertise your business. Horse whisperers get clients by word of mouth primarily, but you may also want to consider running some ads when you first get started. You can advertise in horse magazines, in the local newspaper, or through any classes or stables near your home.[10]
    • If you plan to run advertisements, then you will need to develop a budget for how much you are willing to spend on ads as well.
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    Make sure to set aside money to pay your taxes. By selling your services as a horse whisperer, you will need to save a sizable portion of your income for taxes. This can often be 30% of your income or more. Don't get yourself in hot water by not setting aside enough money to pay your taxes. Some other things you may want to consider include:
    • Get a tax accountant. Preparing taxes for your business can be difficult and time consuming. You may be better off paying someone else to do so.
    • Use purchases to deduct from your tax payment. You may be able to deduct some of your business expenses to reduce your tax payment. Keep in mind that you will have to save your receipts to do this and in case you get audited.
    • Charge extra to cover the cost of taxes. To make sure that your earnings will not be cut short, you will need to charge your clients enough to cover your taxes.
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    Call veterinarians in your area to provide your contact information. One great way to advertise your business is to share your contact information with the horse veterinarians in your area. Horse owners will often ask veterinarians for recommendations on horse trainers, so sharing your information with veterinarians may lead to some phone calls from prospective clients.
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    Attend trade shows to network with other professionals. Trade shows are great places to meet other professionals and learn about new products, techniques, and research in your field. Ask other horse whisperers in your area about the trade shows that they attend and begin going to a few trade shows per year.
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    Set up a simple website. A website can help you to market your business because the internet is often the first place that people look to find out about a product or service. Include in your website information about your services, your credentials, and contact information. Some nice photos of you working with horses might also be a nice touch.


  • Never rush the horse or you risk the whole process being undone.
  • NEVER walk behind a horse that you don't know or aren't comfortable with.
  • Do not bring a mobile phone anywhere near a horse, as it may bolt and/or go hyper if the phone rings.
  • After calming the horse, try to coax it into let you tack it up and ride it.


  • Remember that a wild horse has strong defensive instincts, and can be dangerous if they feel threatened.
  • Never rush a horse into something. It takes time and patience to gain its trust.

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Categories: Communicating With Your Horse | Horse Care