The Horse Whisperer is a true-story based on an American horse breeder and trainer who can “talk” to horses. And Nigeria has it’s own Horse Whisperer.
Mr Dare is a strong man, regularly lifting weights, and works at a club as a bouncer, but he has a surprising soft spot – he’s a lover of animals, especially horses.
“My friends call me ‘Horse Power’, because I am strong like a horse and I love the animals,” says Mr Dare.
Keeping animals in the mega-city of Lagos is unusual as many people can often neither afford them, nor find the space to keep them. However, that has not stopped Mr Dare who has a large compound and a small area of green at the back in his area of Lagos.
“I love animals so much, especially horses and dogs. I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. I started with dogs, but later I wanted more,” explains Mr Dare. “And now I am a breeder of animals.”
Horses are used for a multitude of purposes in Nigeria: including polo, agriculture, ceremonial and cultural, and also for work.
Photo of Hausa in Northern Nigeria using horses for their traditional durbar ceremony.
At the moment, Dare has four different horses, including a mare to breed colts. He has also treated hundreds of dogs, birds, ostriches, and even helps people buy snakes. So far he’s had up to 25 horses, looks after them everyday and takes them to the beach for tourists to help earn some money.
However, it is not easy raising animals in Lagos – where people sometimes eat dog or horse meat – “Sometimes I think I will stop this business – I bought a horse and someone tried to cut some of the flesh even though the horse was still alive. Maybe it was for a ritual,” says Dare.
Photo of a Yoruba rider on a horse highlighting the long history of Yorubas in SouthWest Nigeria with horses that goes back centuries. Original horse breeds in Nigeria include: Bhirum Pony, Bornu, Hausa, and the Sulebawa.
Do you love horses? Gist us in the comments – what do you think of Dare’s horse breeding and desire to be a horse whisperer?