Dale believes patience, timing and deliberately looking at things from the horses’ perspective are keys to successful horsemanship. A well-trained horse is one that is responsive, comfortable in its environment, and enjoys its work. A noble performance of intelligence, natural beauty, and contentment is the goal Dale wants his horses to display to the audience and this sense of respect must permeate the training and shows, as well as be evident in all aspects of the animals’ life. Dale believes a horse can be safe and gentle and still proud to be a horse.
Dale wants each training session to be a positive experience for the animal. Trust and confidence are established through gentle, consistent handling. Elaborate moves are accomplished by breaking them down into small training steps that are increased at a level that the horse is physically and mentally prepared. As a trainer, Dale’s enjoyment is when a horse has that “ah ha” moment and eagerly anticipates and responds to the desired cue.
To facilitate their physical and mental well-being, Dale allows his horses ample time to just be horses. Access to pasture and daily routines in which the animals feel comfortable and secure are integrated with training sessions, trail rides, and other activities. Most of the horses are trained to work in harness doing routine farm work such as plowing or cultivating the garden, skidding logs, and pulling a wagon. Dale feels this is helpful to trick training as it teaches patience and dependability and improves the relationship with the handlers because of the shared time together. Trick training stimulates the curiosity of the horse and provides the animal amusement, variety, and an occasional treat reward.
Acts in the DPHS may include:
Four horses demonstrating their “work horse” background with some controlled power and speed.
Sometimes described as gymnastics on horseback; some of Dale’s crew demonstrate their teamwork and athletic abilities.
Circus Liberty Routine
What you might see under the Big Top.
Horses and their riders performing synchronized moves set to music.
Dale and crew take turns demonstrating tricks while galloping around the ring: Half-fenders, double vaults, and more.
Dale demonstrates some of the common rope spinning moves; from the Crow Hop to the Texas Skip.