Bill Dorrance? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Bill Dorrance?

I've been reading a book I got for christmas titled, True Horsemanship Through Feel (Second Edition), by Bill Dorrance. So far, I'm really like his approach and method of thought. And to be honest, I think he was completely awesome for riding well into his 90's!!!

To me, Bill is a inspirational guy. He rode horses his whole life, but he said that it took him the better part of it to figure out gain a true partnership to get the horse to do what he wanted, through feel. It makes me feel a little better I didn't start riding until I was 13, and that I can figure it out in time.
And hey, when I'm 90 years old, I'm going to find a way to escape from the nursing home and get back on a horse.

Anybody else read his book? What do you think of his methods?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 12:05 PM
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That's a book I want to get. I've heard nothing but good things about Bill Dorrance.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 12:16 PM
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^^^ Ditto!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 12:55 PM
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I believe in the gospel according to Bill Dorrance. I'm a fan - big time.

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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I was a bit skeptical when I started reading the book, because I had never heard of him before. So far I've read to the exersizes for moving the head, and I haven't found a single part I've disagreed with. And it sounds like I'm not alone! I can't wait to try out his techniques.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 03:26 PM
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I read it, though I have to admit, not every word. Bill's way of speaking is sometimes vague and hard to follow, and it was transcribed exactly how he said it by the woman who wrote the book, Leslie Desmond . Is that correct? I am writing just from memory. She still does clinics and there are many people who havve worked with Bill who carry on his gospel. He is considered to be the modern father of Natural Horsemanship. His brother Tom is also very skilled with horses, and I am not sure, but he might still be alive.

If you enjoyed that bootk, read some of Buck Branaman's books. They are less informative but more entertaining. Buck learned a ton from BD and also, Ray Hunt, also deceased.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Bill's way of speaking is sometimes vague and hard to follow
I agree with that. I think his writing would sound better spoken out loud, rather than being read silently. (i've actually read a few paragrahs that way. I know, I'm weird. )

And yes, Leslie Desmond is the co-author.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 07:06 PM
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I got the book last Chistmas and had it read by Valentines day. I couldhaveread it faster but somethings I had tore-read several times tofigure out what he meant. His brother Tom is arguably the better horseman of the two but they were both quite remarkable. Sadly all the Dorrance brothers as well as Ray Hunt are now gone but there are a few that worked closely with them that are still teaching and writing books.

Joe Wolter has an instructional DVD called "There's roping to do". Even for people that never have the desire to pick up a rope it is quite entertaining to see some very good people throwing fancy (but usable) loops. Bill was in his 90's when he appeared in the video and he could outrope a lot of young guys I see that think ofthemselves as ropers.

Martin Black was married to one of Ray Hunts daughters for a while and spent a lot of time with Ray. He is probably one of the closest to what Ray and Tom were doing many Years ago.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-13-2011, 08:45 AM
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I have that book too and love it! Don't feel bad A Knack for Horses, I had to read some paragraphs out loud too! Sometimes more than once! lol. The pictures helped too in showing what he had in mind. I used his method of teaching a horse to lower their head on a QH I owned and by the time I was done she would lower her nose all the way to the ground if I asked her too, all with the lightest touch.

Now all I have to do is convince Thia that this is a good idea, and it wouldn't kill her to lower her head when I ask. lol

[COLOR=DarkRed]Well behaved women rarely make history!
Fpzipsdreammachine "Booty" 2006 AQHA mare

Last edited by Thia; 01-13-2011 at 08:47 AM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-18-2011, 01:51 PM
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@ a Knack for Horses -- I too study this book. And... also found it difficult to read when I first got it, about 10 yrs ago I think. It gathered dust for a bit (hurts to think of that now!). After a looong search for what I was missing with a particular horse (this, ironically...), I met Leslie Desmond a few years ago. She happens to be one of those folks who "does accents" in the flow of a story, and so on occasion (to give life to the story, with utmost respect) imitates Bill's style of expression. I cannot tell you how much this helped me "hear him" when I opened the book again!!

Id thought Leslie "just edited" the book... she actually rode alongside Bill for several years as they co-authored it. Leslie is pictured throughout on the grey mare -- illustrates by DOING what Bill meant. He was particular about that, coaching as needed, to complete the work in this way. Bill passed away 6 weeks after the book was published, at the age of 93. What it took for this book to be in our hands today...

Changed everything for me is what I know.
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