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Springbuck Horsemanship Clinic


by Pam Gamble
Dudley Mandy shared his "Springbuck Horsemanship" with the Mid-South Area in a one-day clinic on Sunday, July 29, 2012. The clinic was held at his new facility located at 9580 E. Shelby Drive in Collierville, TN.

The clinic began with a patriotic “Opening Celebration” with Avery Robinson riding flag horse, Lil Bit, a six-year-old Quarter Horse. While Avery displayed the "Stars and Stripes," Ellen Nikbakht and Julia Schifani from St. Agnes Academy’s “Ladies First” ensemble led the National Anthem in a lovely a cappella duet. Dudley stated that even though he is from South Africa, he is honored to be living in the United States.

Dudley first addressed the whole group and emphasized the notion: "Horses don't love us like we love; what we should be striving for is a willing partner. You must behave like another horse, and sometimes that can require firmness. Don't act in a predatory fashion, but act more like a dominant horse.”

Dudley has forty years of experience training horses. Although Dudley is mainly self-taught, he made sure to mention that his mentors are Pat Parelli and Monty Roberts. Dudley follows many of the same procedures as Pat does, especially with young horses.  

Dudley organized the clinic to show the progression of skills to be learned in Natural Horsemanship. Groundwork exercises that all horses need as a foundation of their education were demonstrated first. The clinic then progressed to putting a young horse under saddle and then to finishing exercises. 

The first horse to be worked was a half Quarter Horse, half Arabian by Dudley's stallion, Sparks Sun Whizard. This two-year-old palomino filly, Whizard's Angel Pie, was used to demonstrate the first lesson of "Stay out of my space!" He also demonstrated yielding of the hindquarters and yielding of the shoulder. He then progressed to desensitizing exercises using a white plastic bag on the end of a "handy stick." He uses the principle of advance and retreat to get the horse to stand still, relax, and pay attention.

Dudley also used Whizard's Angel Pie to demonstrate trailer-loading techniques. To show the willingness of the filly to load, Dudley sat on the ground and pointed toward the trailer. The filly promptly went in. 

To further illustrate the relationship that can be built through these techniques, Ann McFall and her yearling filly, Whizard’s Lil Spark, demonstrated how even very young horses benefit greatly from the early learning of these exercises.  Ann described how she has taught Spark to be a trusting and respectful partner through Dudley’s methods of Natural Horsemanship.  Spark performed all seven fundamental exercises, and then ended the session by trotting into the horse trailer on Ann’s cue. 

The next part of the clinic focused on advanced groundwork techniques. Valerie Barris and her Quarter Horse mare, Journey, helped Dudley demonstrate these techniques. 

Then Dudley explained his techniques to transition a horse from groundwork to work under saddle. Dudley continued with Angel, asking her to perform a series of exercises to gain control and respect on the ground. The underlying principle of these exercises is to get the horse to yield its five major body parts using a minimum of physical, rhythmic, or mental pressure. After tacking up Angel, Mary Jane Schifani went through the exercises under saddle emphasizing softness, flexibility, and willingness to move backwards, forwards, and sideways with the lightest touch.

Next, Dudley moved into training exercises, such as using a four-leaf clover pattern to refine a horse's maneuverability.

For this exercise, 11-year-old Avery Robinson and her six-year-old quarter horse mare, Maya, were the duo used to demonstrate learning the skill. 

Following the progression of training, Dudley finished his clinic by having young Avery ride a more advanced horse. She rode Dudley's six-year-old stallion, Sparks Sun Whizard, to demonstrate the disposition of the stallion trained by Dudley, and the riding ability of 11-year-old Avery. 

Various guest horses with "issues" were brought in periodically during the day to show practical problem solving.

Dudley was meeting these horses for the first time! Guest horses included Tempe Chancellor's three-year-old Morgan Horse, Chance. Chance had been started previously, but had not been worked recently. Dudley demonstrated colt-starting groundwork with Chance, with an emphasis on building trust and respect. This session wrapped up with an impromptu lesson on trailer loading to show how Chance had become a willing partner with Dudley's leadership. 
David Gaston brought his Welsh Pony, Third Rock, who had head slinging issues.

Amy Rainey brought her 3-year-old Gypsy Vanner, Bravo, with bridling issues. Dudley first taught Bravo lesson number one, "stay out of my space!” He then moved onto desensitizing Bravo, allowing him to touch his head and ears. At first Bravo was extremely insistent that no one could touch his ears, so Dudley utilized his stick and string as an extension of his arm. Eventually, Bravo tolerated the touch much better and after thirty minutes of work, Amy was able to bridle him with little problem.Dudley advised Amy to follow up with the exercises frequently to completely remove the head shyness issue. "I've seen this problem quite a bit in South Africa; ticks are horrible there, and if one gets in an ear and an infection sets in, you've got a real problem."

In summary, Dudley’s basic approach made an impression on the spectators: "We are in a relationship with our horse, and both parties have a responsibility. We must be less of a predator and more of a partner to our horse; and our horse must be less of a prey animal and more of a partner to us." He added, "To achieve excellence with horses requires a large amount of time and effort.  Too often we humans are found wanting in this regard."

For more information about Dudley Mandy’s Springbuck Horsemanship techniques contact him at 901-834-7798 or e-mail him at His website is

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