Alabama ‘horse whisperer’ holds local clinic

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By Kelly Cantrall

Linda Joiner wanted to be a “better horsewoman.” Her friends wanted to brush up on skills needed to properly handle a horse.


“Everybody, if you own a horse, it seems like everybody’s got a problem,” she said.

Joiner, who worked to remedy the situation for her friends by hosting a horsemanship clinic Saturday taught by Cary Hardiman of Springville, Ala. Hardiman is a professional trainer who offers lessons at his stable, but travels for a few clinics a year.

Joiner, who became familiar with Hardiman’s career showing horses and through one of his clients, reached out to him.

“I just said a prayer before I called him,” she said.

Wendy Hanawalt sat in the clinic and listened to Hardiman’s lessons. She has been around horses  her entire life. She didn’t have a particular issue with an animal, but just wanted to hear information being shared.

“I just like to learn new things,” she said. “And everybody has something they can teach you.”

Others discussed wanting to keep horses calm in new surroundings, or drawing their attention to the owner and away from other distractions.

Hardiman has trained horses professionally for 17 years. He tries to address any issue and help owners work with their animals more effectively.

The clinic didn’t begin with riding, but with even more basic skills, such as getting horses to follow commands and show respect for its owners.

“Normally there’s no unity between (owners) and the animal,” he said.

Hardiman doesn’t promote his clinics, but travels to three or four places a year to share his skills. 

“It’s always been (by) word of mouth,” he said.

Hardiman enjoys the work because of the good he believes it does for owners and their animals, he said.

“I actually think you can impact people’s lives doing this in a positive way,” he said.

The way a person handles their horse speaks to who they are, he said.

“The horse is a mirror of the person oftentimes,” he said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.