Horse whispering competition comes to Cloverdale

Friday, September 3, 2010
Dennis Reis stands with Dakota Thursday afternoon at Crossroads Arena in Cloverdale. Crossroads will be the location of the No Dust Tour this weekend. Banner Graphic/JOSH GARVEY

CLOVERDALE -- Horse aficionados and fans of equestrian events may want to head to Crossroads Arena in Cloverdale for Dennis Reis' No Dust Tour this weekend.

As a part of the event, Reis -- the host of "Dennis Reis Universal Horsemanship" on RFD-TV -- will be having a horse whispering challenge with another trainer, Warrick Bergroth from Colorado.

The competition involves working with a horse that has never been ridden for a few hours and getting the horse ready for an obstacle course over the course of two days.

The event is today, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 for all three days. Saturday alone is free, and Sunday is free if you mention this story.

"Saturday is going to be a fun day," Reis said. "The challenge is one hour and 55 minutes that day, then a 10-minute-break, then we see how far we can go with the horses."

Sunday has another training session followed by the horses going through the competition.

"These are horses that have only had a couple hours riding," Reis said. "Each horse has to go out into the arena by themselves, and they have to walk and trot and canter both directions. They have to pick up all four feet, back up, go through a really complex obstacle course, then eventually do a freestyle."

The winner of the competition is determined by a crowd vote following the Sunday competition.

Reis said that he has lost some of these competitions, and that though the experience is humbling, a lot of who wins is determined by which horse is more ready to be trained.

"I've lost a couple of contests," he said. "This is a difficult task and these are young, green horses that are being ridden.

"We're not going to force horses to do this for the sake of the competition," Reid said. "Over the course of this tour there have been horses that could only go so far. We'll take them as far as we can take them, as far as they allow us to. Some horses just need more time."

Along with the competition, the event will have Reis demonstrating his horse training techniques, which focus on the use of body language, positioning and timing without force. There will also be an exhibition by some of Reis' students. Parts of the event will be filmed for Reis' television show.

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