SEDALIA – Horse whisperer David Frazier doesn’t really like the term “horse whisperer.”
“That’s kind of Hollywood. I haven’t even seen the movie,” he said.
He was referring to a 1998 film starring Robert Redford, who plays the role of a horse trainer with a remarkable gift for understanding horses and helps an injured teenager and her horse back to health following a tragic accident.
“But we use the term here because people understand what it means, and it communicates to the audience that we are going to train a horse in front of them.”
He did that on the first day of the Missouri State Fair in the Matthewson Center to a crowd estimated at about 400.
Organizers said attendance was good considering it was one of the first public events of the 10-day fair. The demonstration was an official state fair event and was sponsored by the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Missouri Directors of Missions Fellowship.
Frazier, 46, from Diamond, in the southwest part of the state, is a real cowboy, working on a large cattle ranch, feedlot and in a sale barn most weeks. He and his family do about 4 to 5 horse whisperer demonstrations every year as a ministry and an opportunity to share the Gospel.
Using a round pen and an unbroken horse, Frazier ropes the horse, gradually gaining it’s trust. He then saddles the horse – usually causing the horse to buck around the pen a few moments.
All this time he was speaking to the assembled crowd about issues of life, faith, rebellion, sin and trust. Issues that are of concern to a horse trainer are issues that people experience in their everyday lives, he said.
“We want to put on a show face when we go to church. But if we are real and honest, we are rebellious.” Frazier said he would give his wife a cubic zirconium ring, but she would prefer a real diamond any day.
Toward the end of the 45 minute presentation the cowboy was able to get a bridle and bits in the horse’s mouth and mounted it to ride it around the ring a few times.
“You can get a saddle on this horse, but you can’t ride him if you don’t get the bits in his mouth.” The horse needs to know who is in control and submit to that authority. Just like God and man, he said.
“God knows you are not perfect. What He wants is for us to stand still and know that he is God,” he said as he slowly mounted the nervous horse.
He concluded the demo by climbing up on the pen and speaking to the audience “eyeball to eyeball.” He told of his conversion to Christ and invited the audience to turn their lives over to Jesus. “It may not be working for you” (referring to the lives of the audience members), “but turn it over to God,” he said.
A free “cowboy Bible” was offered to the horse whisperer participants at the Missouri Baptist tent, located a few blocks away from the Matthewson Center. About a dozen people came by the tent in the next hour or so to meet the horse whisperer and get a cowboy Bible.
One little girl, attired in pink cowboy boots and a white hat, came by twice – once to get a Bible and meet Frazier and then bringing a little friend in to get a copy for her also.
The Pathway interviewed several in the crowd as the horse was being put away and the gates disassembled.
Jillian Bertz, of Mayview, said she had not been to a horse whisperer event before but liked how the cowboy shared the Word of God and his testimony. “Lots of horse lovers relate to so many of the things he said,” she added.
“I was very impressed with what the man had to say,” said Honce DeHaven, a member of Flat Creek Baptist Church, Smithton. “His message will change the U.S. in the way the Lord wants us to change if we will listen. We want government to change things, but God wants Christians to change the world.”
Steve Spear, who attends First Baptist Church, Braymer, said, “The Spirit matters. We need more of it.” Asked what it means to be a cowboy he said “It sure isn’t a city person. Country people have a genuineness about them.” He said he has watched the Robert Redford “Horse Whisperer” movie many times. He was glad he got to see the demonstration.
Jim Wells, retired MBC employee, worked with Director of Missions, Jim Chilton, of Dent County Baptist Association, Paul Posey, DOM of Texas County Association and John Brittain, of West Central Baptist Association to arrange for the event. Betty Benz-Pulliam, another retired MBC employee also helped coordinate the event. They all considered the event a success and noted they had a slightly larger crowd than the previous year’s inaugural event in 2015.