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The whip

 

Many of us have seen the movie “The Man from Snowy River.” It was a flick that gave us a glimpse of Australian horsemanship combined with the skill of whip cracking.

Finally, at 56 years of age, I have been motivated to learn the skill of whip cracking. I suppose I waited this long because of my fear of hurting a horse in an emotional moment adding blood to a mud, sweat and tears situation. We have all heard so many stories in the past of the abuse of the whip. But yearning to stay young at heart by always learning new skills and being inspired by Australian horse clinician Guy McLean last spring at “Springfest” in Springfield, I started practicing handling a whip.

A skilled horseman who is also skilled with the use of a whip is a great combination. There is no rogue animal that is a match for them in a confrontation. The nimbleness of the horse along with the weapons of his hind feet when charged, combined with the pinpoint accuracy of a skilled whip master will convince any animal that they need to move the direction the skilled horse – human team intends them to go.

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

Early this summer, my neighbor called me and asked for my help bringing in cows that just would not be enticed in the corral with the usual range of cubes and grain. They would charge and out-maneuver the four-wheeler toys that most cattlemen commonly use nowadays. It was a comical sight to see. Combined with a stock whip, my very maneuverable horse “Buddy” and I (the novice whippersnapper) had those cows hunting that gate to the corral with true “born again” motivation. We would like to have the cows following “mom” with the bucket of grain into the corral. But in the real world, “dad” can help the herd stay together and respect mom in a refreshing way. Every time I look back on the comical sight of human targets bouncing around on four-wheelers, I see a great comparison between that and modern child-raising. Mom has an exhausting job nowadays because dad has a tendency to be mom, too. Therefore, both “moms” make great targets for the kids in “nag” city.

There is a video clip of a famous horseman Clint Anderson helping a horse find religion with a stock whip. The lady who owned the horse could not work it in the round pen without standing inside a round bale feeder in the center of her corral. The horse would try to charge her and bite her without the shield of the feeder. Anderson chose to trade the round bale feeder for a long arm that would reach out and touch the atheistic horse and change her into a believer.

It was very effective and helped the horse find Jesus, so to speak, with a refreshing change of attitude. The Biblical record documents Jesus fashioning a whip at a place of worship starting out the first altar call with a bang. We know the whip can be abused just like anything else, knowing it was used mercilessly on the flesh of God himself. He felt more pain than any human ever endured to save those of us who acknowledge him as their Lord and Savior. We also know we all have a tendency to abuse everything God lends us on this earth. Hopefully the accountability of “truth and light” will get and keep our eyes on the genuine “boots on the ground” God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.

Although the whip has a place for “wake up calls,” its basic use in horse training is to get horses acclimated to loud sounds and fast moving objects whirling around them.

A few years back, I got started in cowboy mounted shooting. It gets kind of expensive getting a horse used to gunshots with blanks that cost 40 cents a bang. The crack of a whip provides free noise that is similar to firing a .22 caliber gun. This is a great step in getting horses used to loud sounds.

I was riding a very sensitive Paso Fino mare at the Raymondville Fire Department’s Festival of Yesteryear last month, and although the management was worried about me cracking my whip in public, the whip prepared my horses well for the surprises they had in store for me. No one told me that a helicopter was going to come in right above me and land close by my horses, or that a .58 caliber black powder rifle was going to be fired just as an apprentice of mine was getting in the saddle.

With God’s help and remembering the true role of “dad,” enough bravery and respect was instilled in my horses to avoid disaster. The whip can play an excellent role helping to provide true affordable healthcare for us and our horses.

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville, Mo. Email: rlhorse58@yahoo.com.

Renowned Australian horsemanship clinician Guy McLean, right, helps fellow clinician Steve Smith with whip technique  during the inaugural Mustang Family Reunion Ride June 27, 2014, at Golden Hills Trail Rides and Resort in Raymondville, Mo.

Renowned Australian horsemanship clinician Guy McLean, right, helps fellow clinician Steve Smith with whip technique during the inaugural Mustang Family Reunion Ride June 27, 2014, at Golden Hills Trail Rides and Resort in Raymondville, Mo. (Photo by Doug Davison, Houston Herald)

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