Author Topic: Kevin Morrell AKA GaWaNi Pony Boy  (Read 23920 times)

Offline lizditz

  • Posts: 5
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Kevin Morrell AKA GaWaNi Pony Boy
« on: March 18, 2005, 10:39:30 pm »
Is this person for real?
GaWaNi Pony Boy is mixed blood Tsa-la-gi, full blood human. After attending college in Boston, MA, he spent three years traveling the United States with a Native American drum group. It was during these on-the-road years that he was able to seek the advice and council of Tribal Elders from many different Nations and backgrounds to learn about the beliefs and methods used by this Nation’s first great horsemen. By weaving the “old ways??? with his own already successful training methods, Pony has developed Relationship Training™.

GaWaNi Pony Boy is an accomplished horseman and trainer. He is recognized throughout the country as the authority on Native American Horsemanship™ and is considered an innovative educator in the field of Native American history.

He and his equine partner, Kola, travel to schools, universities, and equine and other events in an attempt to enlighten those who have an interest in the history of the great horsemen of the Plains.

When not writing, Pony can be found presenting clinics to help people get more understanding and enjoyment from the companionship of their horses. GaWaNi Pony Boy is the author of the highly acclaimed Horse, Follow Closely, Out of the Saddle, Time Well Spent, Of Women and Horses and Horse, Follow Closely: Relationship Training, the Foundation: GaWaNi Pony Boy Video Package. Pony divides his time between Pennsylvania and Arizona.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 04:45:20 pm by educatedindian »

Offline educatedindian

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4538
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2005, 04:19:24 pm »
A Cherokee claiming to teach Lakota ways...and I don't know about that regalia he's wearing. Plus the warrior cut for his hair in some photos. I'll leave it to the Cherokee here to say what they think about those.

I'm not a horse trainer so I have no idea about the value of what he teaches. But some of the discussions I found of trainers who met him say they were pleasantly suprised he was nothing like the cornball romanticized image his promoters use. It may just be that his agent or publicity people figure the romanticized stuff sells better.

Did anyone else find his last name unintentionally funny? Did you think he got it from The Outsiders? Because I doubt he intended the other meaning. (A ponyboy or ponygirl in S & M slang is a submissive type.)

Offline lizditz

  • Posts: 5
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2005, 06:57:12 pm »
I am a reasonably educated horse person, but I haven't seen this fella's presentations.

The web site is pretty good, though, and I can agree with most of what he says.

The  presentation -- face paint, particular hair arrangement, etc. -- sets off my BS-o-Meter though.

And I do wonder about the "pony boy" -- it is also a designation in the furry, fuzzy and play worlds ( for folks who are sexually stimulated by wearing suits, playing with folks in suits, and in general pretending to be an equine).

Offline ravenhair

  • Posts: 8
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2005, 10:00:26 pm »
Pony boy hu!!!I am full blooded lakota the only real horsemen i know from my tribe is young man afraid of his horses..His blood line were the best for horse training and they will go to there grave before they share it with any one.3 years traveling with singers i would like to know with what singers there isnt many i dont know personally.Oh well just another white fraud..

Offline NanticokePiney

  • Posts: 191
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2008, 02:00:48 am »
  He's Italian, and the training methods he uses were developed in England ( Linda Tellington Jones or some crap). The bridle he sells was invented by a man named Leon Manchester.
  I use the original Manchester bridle and people ask me all the time if it came from "Pony Boy". I tell them no, it came from my dressage instructor.
  He also named his horse "Kola" which can only be used for people not pets because of it's sacredness.

Offline Defend the Sacred

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3384
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2008, 05:32:24 am »
Tribal Elders from many different Nations and backgrounds

Looking at this thread again after someone in another forum asked about him. That dreaded invocation of "Tribal Elders from many different Nations" ... none of whom ever have names. Or in the rare case they have names, they're names so common as to be uncheckable. And it's only (no pun intended) outsiders who think the "many different" is a selling point.


Offline Kevin

  • Posts: 182
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2008, 11:58:46 am »
I sure would like to know what constitutes "  native american horsemanship" - sheesh! as if a horse would care other than being gently treated and respected. I'm going to buy a herd of old nags, set up a web site and advertise them as Indian horses that have been blessed and counseled by the elders of many different tribes to allow white people on their backs for the ride of their lives and cultural attunement in the process.

Spirit Ponys now available from Dances With Ponys for $3999.00.
Blessed and conditioned by Indian elders for your riding and spiritual pleasure
Free delivery within 50 miles.

Whataya' think???

Offline Defend the Sacred

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3384
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2008, 07:49:16 pm »
Whataya' think???

Do it in Sedona. Or anywhere where bored white people with lots of money think they can buy spiritual growth, and you'll make a killing. That's why there are people who sell out (and sell their souls).

Offline chiefytiger

  • Posts: 75
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2008, 01:08:10 pm »
 Im A First Nation's person ,and Im a horse person as well,as for what this man is doing I Think its shameful .... I was given a right to perform Horse ceremonys and its only done in a sacred way. I have been to alot of areas that dont know about horse ceremonys . But i dont think it should be allowed to be a spetical for Non/Natives to see. As for his suit he should be ashamed of himself tryin to be NDN ,when he's not .
I asked around and nobody has heard of him .must only be in the eastern areas ....

Offline Old Horsewoman

  • Posts: 1
Re: GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 05:01:32 pm »
I worked for the company that created Pony Boy. His story is completely fictitious. It's all a public relations ploy. He's an Italian from Boston named Kevin Morelli, which he changed to Morell. His books, talks, etc. are complete BS.

Don't get me wrong. He's a nice guy. Just not what he claims to be.

Offline educatedindian

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4538
Re: Kevin Morrell AKA GaWaNi Pony Boy
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2016, 05:08:57 pm »
Couple different accounts online.

Pony Boy was known as Kevin Morrell before he discovered his great great great great grandmother was Cherokee. In 1993 he applied for a Cherokee council card.

Previously he played professional jazz (he attended the Berkeley College of Music). He was also an excellent artist, specializing in drawing animals. In 1993 his plans were to get a major in zoology and a minor in cinematology and then to have a career making documentary films.

He discovered his remote Indian heritage while reading an old book written by a cousin which traced family lines.

I really don't know much more than this, which was taken from a recent posting on the Morgan List.
Laura Behning

Kevin Anthony Morrell officially became GaWaNi Pony Boy Morrell in a Carbon County courtroom Monday.

Known by schoolchildren throughout the area for his storytelling ability and dramatic Indian costumes, Morrell, of Penn Forest Township, told Judge Richard Webb he wanted to change his name for professional reasons.

"I've used the name for five years," he said on the witness stand. "It's my pen name" and performance name, he said.

Outside court, the pony-tailed 32-year-old said he'd been called Pony his whole life.

Pony Boy has performed in schools, festivals and public facilities from Quakertown to Easton to Carbon County, throwing tomahawks, shooting arrows, showing his horse and lecturing on the legends and lifestyle of the Native American.

Pony says he grew up on a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina and his Indian heritage can be traced through his mother's line. But his ancestral roots never arose as the motivation during testimony.

"This isn't a big change for me," he said while waiting in the hall outside the courtroom before his petition was heard. "It's just for the court" and to "get my ducks in a row."

He would not talk about his lineage.

Nor would his father, Tony Morrell, owner of Tony's Place, a steak and sandwich shop on Route 903 in Jim Thorpe.

"You'll have to talk to him," the father said. "He's running his business. I'm running mine."

His father said he will still call his son Kevin.

The judge asked Pony how he got the name.

"GaWaNi is the Cherokee translation of Kevin," he said. "Pony Boy was given to me by an elder."

Allison Finch Super Moderator
What Ponyboy does is decent training but it has absolutely nothing to do with any Native American heritage. He learned it from present day trainers, but puts some stereotyped "mystical" Native American spin on it. It bugs me when people trade on their heritage simply as a way to sell their ideas.

 He's your basic Natural Horsemanship Guru using the "Native American Ways" as a marketing twist. 
The marketing "Native" aspect.

His name was Kevin Anthony Morell until he had it changed in 1998.  He's of Italian and "can trace his Cherokee heritage through his mother's line" but claims to use Lakota horsemanship and the Lakota language.  He's from Pennsylvania (where his dad's Italian restaurant is and where he had to go to legally change his name) and says he also grew on a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina. He sells pretty pictures of himself and horses all dressed up in misappropriated and misused mixed up bits and pieces of various Native regalia.  He has appropriated "Native American" culture to mean ANYTHING Native and uses significantly spiritual symbols or symbols that need to be "earned" as marketing techniques. As far as I know he studied marketing in college and is good at it.  People who have seen him in person say he is VERY into his "role-playing" of Native-Shamanic-Guru and gets lots of middle aged white women fawning all over him.

And the actual training bits.
Most of his "method" is a mix of Linda Tellington-Jones with round-penning.  I've never seen him in person but the general opinion of folks who have is that he has little to no sense of timing or ability to read a horse.  The reviews I found were older so perhaps he has improved.  Other reviews say he wasn't bad and wasn't teaching anything wrong per se but was just your average Natural Horsemanship person and they wouldn't pay money to go back to a clinic with him.

He uses a cross-under bitless "gentle and Native" bridle (similar to the Dr. Cook but an earlier model) basically the same as the "Spirit Bridle" you can buy.  However he sells and markets his own super special version under his own brand (similar to the Parellis et al). 

Oh and he apparently founded an online equine university where you too can earn your Bachelor's in Horsemanship.  And he's the editor and president of Women and Horse's Magazine.  He sells bridles, saddles, clothing, DVDs, and CDs, and probably leadlines and buckets all unders his name. 
Not to mention you can spend several 1000 and get a Pony Boy Certified Horse (is that like a pre-owned certified car?)

Feb. 11, 2010, 10:54 PM
Didn't I read on this board that he was from New Jersey? Lots o' Native Americans in that state for sure.

He is not Native,, I heard he is Jewish.. and yes he is from NJ..
...who was it that said marketing is everything....

He sat on his throne across the aisle from my friends at Equine Affaire Mass. one year, while the women swooned. It presented many hours of amusement... some that lasted years...

saigh_allaidh8/26/08 05:48 am (UTC)

Morrell (his legal name, according to records of his donations to Bush's campaign in 2004, is now GaWaNi Morrell, he was originally Kevin) did get registered as a Cherokee, but was never raised in the culture and, supposedly, he only had contact through joining a drumming group in the Boston area. He was a Berklee School of Music student and then got a BA in animal behavior. There is some indication he never was around horses much until he decided to make a career of them. It is implied that he got his card for marketing purposes...I suppose that comes out better from those who were reservation raised than from me, but I'm just passing it along.

One of the most, um, interesting, things I've seen him do is in a book for kids that he has out he notes that hand prints on a horse are indicative of a warrior's kills. And there he sits in many photos on a horse with hand prints all over him. As far as I can tell he's never served in the military (I may be wrong, but...) so....