I am a Horse Whisperer
May 19, 2011
One summer morning I had stopped in at a standardbred farm to check on a broodmare that had West Nile Encephalitis. She was up and doing well and I was just getting ready to leave when I noticed the farm owner and several other people attempting to load a three year old stallion into a trailer. I stood back about fifteen yards and just watched.
What I saw was two professional trainers, a professional hauler, the horse owner, and the owner's son trying to stuff a powerful and stubborn stallion into a trailer. To be clear this stallion had made up his mind that he was not getting into the trailer. He was also starting realize that he was bigger and stronger then the ridiculously small people that were trying force him into doing something he clearly was not going to do. Nobody on that farm was tough enough to stuff this hellcat stallion into to that trailer.
For those of you who have seen me practice equine medicine on a hot summer day, you know I like to wear shorts, a polo shirt, and work boots. I really do not look much like a veterinarian. It is in this attire that I slowly approached the frustrated men and the determined stallion. When I got close I whispered; "looks like you're having problems getting him loaded". Though it was not said, the trainers' angry eyes yelled; "thank you captain obvious." I pushed on; "fellas I am a horse whisperer and I can load him for you if you'll let me talk to him a few minutes". The look in the trainers' eyes went from exasperation to fury. If they couldn't load him how could I?
I explained that if they allowed me to take the unruly stallion into a stall and have a private conversation, I would discuss the matter with him and I was sure I could talk him into loading. The trainers' pleaded with the owner not to waste any more time letting an idiot like me "whisper" to the horse. They would soon be able to get the job done by beating him into the trailer. The owner of course knew who I was, and was willing to play along so he simply said, "let this guy talk to him".
I took the stallion into a stall and, unbeknown to the trainers, gave him a strong tranquilizer in the vein. When I emerged I handed the lead rope to the hauler and said; "we talked it over, the horse says his signal to you will be when he drops his head, at that point you can load him". Well now the trainers' were really upset. One even growled; "this is ridiculous, we have no time for nonsense".
Fury turned to amazement a few minutes later when the stallion started to drop his head "Wait", I commanded, "he told me he is not quite ready". I was looking at the wide eyed trainers, giving the horse no mind, when I announced, "he just told me he'll load." I actually saw wide open mouths on the faces of the perplexed trainers as the former hellcat stallion led on to the trailer like a lamb.
The only thing I heard as a strolled away was; "how did he do that?" For equine veterinarians, drugs can be a wonderful thing.