Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Just received a book by Tom Dorrance. I doubt I'd recommend it. It costs quite a bit for a slender volume, and I don't think it is written very clearly. However, I'll post a couple of quotes:
Tom Dorrance "True Unity"
"Many people don't realize how easy it is to destroy this confidence the horse has built up in the human - the closeness between the horse and the person. If the person will allow the horse to use this confidence and closeness, it will be strong in the horse. But the person generally doesn't realize what the horse is trying to apply - what it's really wanting the person to grasp. That is very seldom recognized by the person, but the horse is chuck full of it...We are searching for, and trying to find, some way to get this into print, so people will be able to out it to use for the benefit of themselves and their horses. It has to be a togetherness...Without that understanding we might just as well throw the whole thing in the creek." - page 11
"Some people feel the rider makes a mistake when the pressure isn't released AFTER the horse comes through. It is released when the horse is going to yield - that is the time when you ease the pressure, BEFORE it happens. IF YOU SEE THAT IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, I'd say you withdraw your pressure BEFORE it happens, because if he is starting to do it, and the pressure is still there, it's in the way of the horse. He is trying to use his own mind and body to do this, and if the person won't allow that to happen, he interferes with the process." - page 20
I've just started skimming thru the book, and I may be taking this wrong. It is easy to read one's preconceived ideas into something.
But it seems to me he is talking about what I've called 'The Power of We' - that seemingly innate desire of the horse to be part of a team, and the way we humans can offer them a form of teamwork that other horses rarely do.
It seems to me if you set boundaries, and tell the horse there are certain things you cannot tolerate, and then give him freedom and real choices within those boundaries, you allow the horse to come to you. By genuinely making the horse a part of the team, you give him something the horse craves - but in return, you have to listen to him and honor choices made within your boundaries.
"Some people will ride a horse as long as the horse lives and they will never get what I try to get just as early as I can, for a foundation. I don't mean that I'm trying to get everything completed, but to get enough there to where if the horse gets troubled he will come to me; or to where I can get him to come to me for security and cover. Without that foundation I feel very insecure on a horse...
...The best thing I try to do for myself is try to listen to the horse. I don't mean to let him take over. I listen to how he is operating; what he's understanding or what he doesn't understand; what's bothering him and what isn't bothering him...
...Usually, the horse is supposed to do everything the rider decides to do. I LIKE TO WORK FROM WHERE THE HORSE IS, TO GET HIM TO BE ABLE TO OPERATE WHEREVER AND WHENEVER I NEED HIM." - page 13
I have come to feel very insecure on a horse who won't talk to me. If they won't talk to me, then they can end up feeling trapped. Then they explode. But my daughter is right, "Horses are very practical creatures. The reason more horses don't talk is that so few people listen - and horses see no value wasting time talking to someone who refuses to listen."
That doesn't mean you let the horse take over, but you do allow him to seek a compromise that works for you both, so you both can then act as a team. From what I've seen so far, and I'm experimenting with it...if you make a suggestion (not command), and the horse accepts it and takes responsibility for performing it, then you HAVE removed the pressure before the horse has acted. You DO get out of the way, and the horse performs because you and the horse are a team, and the horse wants his team to win!
Anyways...it is another slender volume, and I can already see how many would get frustrated reading it. I already have in spots. He jumps around and switches gears a lot. OTOH, he may be discussing what I'm trying to learn. But not entirely, certainly! I've read some pages where I have no clue at all what he is saying or why. It is entirely possible he is often writing about things beyond me, so I can understand the part my horses have taught me, but not the stuff we haven't ever gotten to...yet.
But like Ray Hunt's small book, it seems to be very much about the mutual teaching that should go on between horse and rider - and can go on when the rider listens to the horse. It is pretty obvious to me that horses listen to us FAR better than we listen to them!
BTW - winds are 30 gust to 45. I've no desire at all to ride today!
Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"