In the 2007 movie “Wild Hogs” four middle aged suburban men take a motorcycle road trip to California on a search to find themselves. Along the way the four biker wannabes get into a mess of trouble when they run into the Del Fuego motorcycle gang whom they believe are the ‘real deal.’ The wannabes stand up to trouble and find the men they want to be. They also discover that the Del Fuegos are posers.

Before the action starts we meet Paul, the owner of the local image bar where Doug, Woody, Dudley and Bobby hang out to fulfill their motorcycle fantasy. Paul is a wannabe who became a merchandiser making his livelihood off the dreams and images of other people. He sells the atmosphere and the lines. The wannabes wear Wild Hogs patches made by Paul’s wife.


Everyone starts out as a wannabe. Doug (Tim Allen), Woody (John Tavolta), Bobby, and Dudley dream of riding for the joy of freedom of the open road, but life keeps them grounded until their lives becomes so dissatisfying they step out of their comfort zones.


On the second morning of their road trip the Wild Hogs stand on the side of the road in awe as a biker gang rides past. These men have the look, the attitude, the bikes and the image the wannabes can only dream about. Doug’s voice is filled with admiration when he says, “That’s the real deal.” When they run into the Del Fuegos their leader tells Doug that his group of four guys, the Wild Hogs, have no place among them because they are posers. 


A poser is someone who pretends to be something they’re not. They act the part and use the image without being the real deal. They want you to think they’re genuine and often they believe it themselves.

The tables turn when Doug realizes the Del Fuegos are the real posers who use their image to terrify people  so they can take what they want.

Arrival of the Real Deal

When Peter Fonda arrives the real deal needs no introduction. He rides alone and without the trappings of identity, but everyone knows who he is. His love of riding and the freedom of the road define him. It’s all he needs.

When Fonda tells the Wild Hogs to “Ride hard or stay home” he’s telling them that the real deal has nothing to do with what they see, but has everything to do with what’s inside the man.

There are a lot of wannabes, merchandisers, and posers. There are only a few ‘real deals.’

Kleenex anyone?

The world of horse whispering is no different. The term horse whisperer is tossed around the same way Kleenex is used for any tissue, or Crocs was used for generic squishy plastic shoes. There are lots of brands of Kleenex in the world of horse whisperers. And just like the “Wild Hogs” movie, the world of  horse whisperers has wannabes, posers, merchandisers and the real deal.

Wannabes flock to horse whisperers thinking everyone’s the real deal. They attend clinics, buy the correct halter and rope, videos, the brand, and take courses. The merchandisers in the horse world thrive on the wannabe and it’s where posers are born. The poser adds tricks he learns and the image he wants to his own methods and becomes a horse whisperer merchandiser himself. Most just adopt the trappings without having what it takes inside to be the real deal.

What Does it Take?

A person doesn’t need a large fancy facility or a string of incredible horses to be the real deal. They don’t need to be able to stand on a horse’s back and crack a bull whip or even wear a cowboy hat. When you have a gift it seems like a normal way of life. There are far more posers and merchandisers in the world than there are real deal horse whisperers.

Life is full of wannabes, posers, and merchandisers. Be the real deal.

What’s your gift? Are you brave enough to share it with me?

Thanks for reading this. I’ve added a clip from “Wild Hogs” at the end.  Enjoy!

Barbara Ellin Fox


Lifetime horsewoman, Barbara weaves her extensive background with horses and their people into exciting stories about happily ever after for men, women, and horses. Barbara also enjoys helping others with horses and writing.

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