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The Banker and His Zebra **Revised** June 19, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in People.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kent is a banker. He also owned a zebra.

He didn’t get saddled with the zebra when some zoo went bankrupt.  He actually bought the critter.  I think the idea was that he would drive it in some of the community day parades.

My daughter, who has trained her own horse to cart and saddle, told me he would never succeed. Zebra’s just aren’t trainable, she said.

The daughter was wrong.

Kent partnered with David Skipworth, a master trainer who set up shop in the area a few years ago. David is what many folks would call a horse whisperer. He’s studied the body language and sounds made by lead horses in the wild and uses that knowledge in his training. He doesn’t “break” horses, he gentles them, quickly and effectively.

Skipworth had the chance to make similar studies of zebras in the wild and he’s learned to “zebra whisper” as well. It turns out that zebras can be trained, but they have to be trained differently than horses.

So, Kent’s zebra, Zimba, did learn to pull a cart. Here is picture of the two of them together.

Kent and Zimba

Kent and Zimba

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see Zimba in the Chief Wapello Days parade July 18th. As you’ll see in Kent’s comment, Zimba has been sold and now earns his living helping people learn how to teach autistic children.



1. Kent - June 25, 2009

David is the Equine Whisperer. He has studied the behavior of wild horses and developed a program he implemented in the prison systems to have prisoners gentle horses taken from the wild. He whinnies at them, blows, uses his arm and head to turn them, just like a lead mare. He studied the Zebras the same way and once was riding a never handled 5 year old within 12 hours. Most amazing person. Zimba is also broke to ride and was doing some jumping. We sold Zimba to a gal from California that runs educational seminars about autistic child behavior. She is using Zimba to demo how although Horses and Zebras are both equine they are taught and learn much differently the same as children with autism aren’t taught or learn the same as other humans.

Wapello Warbler - June 25, 2009

Kent, thanks for adding these details. They really add to the story.

Sebrights Farm - October 19, 2009

Kent, Do you know if David is still training? I have been searching for his info and this story came up.. I have a zebra in need of training.

2. Jen - July 2, 2009

For the record, I never said that Zebras couldn’t be trained. I said that conventional horse training methods wouldn’t work because they hadn’t had as many years of selective breeding in domestication.

So there. 😛

Wapello Warbler - July 2, 2009

I wrote it the way I remember it, but thanks for your comment.

P.S.: I got a kick out of the monster WordPress’s monster maker created for you.

3. A Question for You « Wapello Warbler's Louisa County - August 24, 2009

[…] to Wapello Warbler’s Louisa County you’ve had the opportunity to read stories like The Banker and His Zebra or Meet the New Medicine Woman that are about interesting people. There have been stories about […]

4. Kent - October 20, 2009

David is in the circus. Barnum and Bailey, I think. Is doing well with the animal training, but don’t think the vagabond lifestyle is permanent. Believe he’s networking and beginning to be known in the animal world.

5. carlena - November 5, 2009

I am in Jones county Iowa and have a baby zebra. does anyone know how to get ahold of david skipworth

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