The award-winning Galloway Country Fair is to play host to horse whisperer Grant Bazin for his only Scottish appearance for 2016 in a spectacular equestrian showcase.
Practical horseman specialist, Grant, who worked closely with American horse trainer Monty Roberts who changed the face of handling horses with his specialised techniques and was part of the inspiration for the 1998 film The Horse Whisperer starring Robert Redford.
During his appearance at Galloway Country Fair, which will take place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August at Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate, Grant will be working with local horses that have a history of problems, with the aim of demonstrating how, by using an understanding of natural horse instincts, he can change their behavior even in a very short space of time.
Grant commented: “During the show I will demonstrate just what it is possible to achieve with horses with a little patience and understanding. It is a shop window into what is achievable if the owners and riders present themselves in the right way, with the right manner. Sometimes the solutions are so straightforward, but without knowing the techniques the owners simply don’t realise it.”
A former jockey, Grant also knows how to entertain an audience with his skills having been a successful bull rider, working the circuits of rodeos in the USA and Australia before riding for Monty Roberts.
He has travelled the world from America to the Middle East, Sweden to Singapore, helping young and troubled horses overcome all manner of behavioural issues, fears and phobias from racehorses who are terrified of the starting stalls to the best show jumpers with issues being ridden in company as well as all other manner and types of horses with behaviour problems.
Grant continued: “We make it as entertaining as possible so whether or not you have a horse, we put on a display that you’ll find both funny and fascinating, making it interesting for everyone.
“I worked directly with Monty Roberts for the best part of ten years assisting with riding the horses for demonstrations. I re-joined him on a European tour in April, this time doing the handling of some horses rather than the riding.
“Monty has been a huge inspiration – he was the guy that first brought these concepts to light. You never stop learning and the concept has since evolved but he set the ball rolling.”
During his time at the Fair, which was award Best Traditional Event at the Scottish Event Awards 2015, Grant hopes to demonstrate that communicating correctly can make a significant difference in the reaction from each horse.
He explains: “Often problems in life come from poor communication, and by simply communicating more clearly – perhaps with family and friends – issues can be resolved. When there are communication issues between two separate species obviously it throws up even more problems.
“The solution is all about reading each horse. There is never a fixed programme or method.
“Often during one session I can assist a young horse which maybe is refusing to accept a rider on his back. By taking things in small steps and presenting things in a different manner, I can have him trotting around with a rider in a short space of time with no problem at all.
“I can also assist with horses that maybe take between two and five hours to get into a trailer. Again we can show the owner that the problem could be resolved by presenting things in the right way – by the end of a short session the owner can walk onto the trailer with no lead and the horse simply follow. That is the kind of thing we hope to be doing at Galloway Country Fair.”
Anna Fergusson, Visitor Services Manager added: “It is a real coup for us to welcome Grant to Galloway Country Fair for his only Scottish appearance of 2016.
“Using an understanding of equine behaviour, a great blend of love for horses and sense of fun, Grant delivers a truly unique display that will wow the audience, from the layman to the expert equine enthusiast. From speaking to Grant and getting a glimpse of his work, his show is a highly educational, fun and exciting display that is not to be missed.”
Galloway Country Fair takes place on Saturday 20 August 9am–6pm and Sunday 21 August, from 10am-5pm.Tickets are priced at £13 for adults or £24 for a two day ticket, £5 for children aged under 16 years (valid for both days), £10 for concessions and £30 for a family pass (two adults and two children). Under-fives go free.
Tickets are now available to purchase at www.gallowaycountryfair.co.uk.