Variety Club with Horse Whisperer Malan du Toit

IRC Q&A: Malan du Toit

“One never stops learning from horses, stay humble!”

MALAN du Toit has risen to prominence in South Africa and elsewhere due to his remarkable success with problem horses, from Thoroughbreds to Saddle horses to Lippizaners. Self-taught by way of trial and error and applying the skills gleaned from relevant study material over 30 years, he now has a formidable success rate and his services are in high demand, locally and internationally.

Malan’s natural affinity with horses, coupled with his confidence, knowledge and incredible patience is not something acquired overnight. His experience gained working with a number of the legends among South African thoroughbreds including Dynasty, Variety Club, Jay Peg and more recently Legislate, Abashiri, Hawwaam and Do It Again, speaks volumes.

“If a problem horse is treated the same every day, your results will stay the same,” he says. “I change methods to suit the horse after assessing it, and I change again until I see results.”  (See

Here is our snap Q&A with Malan:

  1. Full Name: Daniel Malan du Toit
  2. Date of Birth? 11/3/1960
  3. Steak or Sushi? Sushi
  4. Superstitions? If I take a bet (not often), I don’t bet on horses I have worked with
  5. Fav Holiday Destination? Onrusrivier near Hermanus
  6. Beer or Wine? Wine
  7. Who inspires you the most? My wife, Finnie
  8. Thoroughbred or warmblood? Thoroughbred, less complicated
  9. Left-handed or right-handed? Right-handed
  10. Rolex or Breitling? Tag Heuer
  11. What annoys you the most? People without the necessary expertise and experience selling themselves off as “horse whisperers”.
  12. Any hidden talents/party trick? I get very vocal and philosophical after a glass or two of wine, and start telling stories.
  13. Funniest person you have ever met? Andrew Fortune
  14. Monty Roberts or Own Principles? My own
  15. Favourites Sport? Rugby
  16. What is your biggest phobia? Snakes
  17. Most embarrassing moment? In my early years I worked with a horse called ‘Big Appetite’. After my first sessions with him he finished a short-head second. In his next run, I thought I had him taped, he’d win easily. But he refused to jump. And then he kicked me. One never stops learning, stay humble!
  18. Biggest influence? Dr Andrew McLean
  19. Quick fixes or slow, progressive work? There are no quick fixes, as often portrayed in the media. Training is a slow, logical and step by step process. A horse’s brain can only process a certain amount of information in a single session.
  20. Would you rather be a psychologist or a horse therapist? Horse therapist, no doubt
  21. Most famous horse ever worked with? Variety Club, also a difficult horse on his day.
  22. Most troublesome horse ever worked with? Kenzo, an Arabian stallion, in Belgium 2012.
  23. Business class or economy? Another superstition. I sit at the very back of the plane, in economy.
  24. Your star sign? Pisces
  25. Single or Taken? Taken!
  26. Bath or Shower? Shower
  27. Read or Netflix? Read
  28. Would you rather ask for permission or ask for forgiveness? Permission
  29. Who would you nominate to these? Candice Bass-Robinson, Mike de Kock and Adam Azzie.

Who is the most promising up-and-coming horseman in your field of expertise?
Mike Shaw, who has a natural feel for it and works using scientific principles.

Favourite charity: I donate to Animal Shelters.


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