Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 50 - The Horse Forum
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post #491 of 1971 Old 09-27-2016, 10:44 AM
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@bsms


Still pondering. I'm leaning toward the notion that the fact that Tom Dorrance was raised around 150 horses and many experienced horse people does not in any way account for the degree or level to which he could interact and work with horses. And people.

I'm thinking that it seems much of that had to come somewhere from within, who he was, inner core, or something along those lines.

I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #492 of 1971 Old 09-27-2016, 11:43 AM
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Have you ever met someone briefly in say a store or a bar that just the proximity of them raised the hairs on the back of your neck and you just knew deep down they were bad news? Not at all based on appearances, but on feel. Perhaps the opposite has happened where you saw someone and you just immediately knew they were a person of the best kind?

I ran into a man in a Wal-Mart once that had that latter effect on me. We met in line as a hurricane approached us and we were all in the scramble of buying last minute supplies. People tend to get really self centered in times of crisis. His "vibe" was so different than anyone around us.

I went home and told my husband that I thought I had just spoken with what felt like an angel on earth. There was just some kind of light that shone from him that I cannot explain.

That was decades ago but it must have made an impression on my husband because recently he came home and said he just had a similar encounter in the equipment rental line at Home Depot.

I think that same instinct that we have so long buried as humans is what horses use to see us from the inside out.

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer


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post #493 of 1971 Old 09-27-2016, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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I think there are people who like horses and want to work with them, and people who like riding horses and who care about obedience first and foremost.

I think some of it came from inside Tom, but I don't know how many years of trying were involved before he began to pick things up, and I'm 100% certain that a large part of his actual ability to DO things with horses had its roots in his large experience.

Philosophically, after 8 years with 2 horses, I'm headed in some of the same direction - independently, having read nothing by the Dorrance brothers or Hunt until last week. I've obviously been helped a great deal by people like Tom Roberts, but some of it has simply been watching the horses and trying things. I've been influenced, unfortunately, by other approaches as well - and I tried them, and rejected them because they did not work for me.

The first time I realized that horses are not straight-line dominance, and that a horse could back down and still be a leader, was from watching Mia & Lilly interact just a few months after I got Mia. There are people with decades of experience who tell others to never back down, that you can never let the horse win - and I think that comes from inside them, their need to dominate others, combined with a refusal to watch horses.

But I'd bet Tom Dorrance could do in minutes what might take me months, because my interaction with horses is less sure, and I miss a huge number of opportunities that he would respond to without thinking. I simply cannot have the feel he had, based on 8 years and mostly with 2 horses! And I never will!

That is why much of my thought runs to how a NEWBIE needs to interact and train and ride a horse. A genuinely good rider, for example, with ample experience, may never have a problem keeping the stirrup on using the ball of foot position. Harry Chamberlin, a genuine expert rider, recommended the home position for a beginning rider because a beginner needed the stirrups more, and could keep them on better when things got wild if he used the home position.

Over time, my stirrups have moved forward some, but I'll always ride deeper in the stirrups than a lot of people say. I think it works well for someone who rides a few hours a week, and who needs to anticipate things getting rambunctious at times. What an expert does is irrelevant to me, because I'm NOT an expert and never will be. That was a point Littauer made. He said new riders shouldn't imitate great riders, because great riders had better balance than average people, and they rode more in a day than average riders ride in a week - so they COULD do things well that average riders could not do.

I think that applies to training as well. I'm 58. If Bandit stays healthy, I may never own another horse. I don't enjoy riding every day, and I don't enjoy riding for 3+ hours - just as well, because there is no water around here for a horse! But I will never, ever be an expert.

Just as Littauer taught an "Elementary Level of Control" for new riders - and thought many regular riders ought to stay at that level for their entire lives - I think many of us need a simpler approach to training and working with a horse. Maybe cruder. Maybe less effective. But horses are forgiving creatures if you care about them, and slow but steady beats trying to bite off more than a newbie can chew.

An approach to teaching newbies must also be something they can read and understand, or, at most, watch a short video on and understand. If I'm going to fault Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance, I would fault them for failing to communicate their ideas. I really believe an "HF Annotated Guide to the Dorrance Brothers and Ray Hunt" would be hugely valuable to new riders - with the understanding that Littauer had, that many of us will ALWAYS be "new riders"!

My approach to riding and training is like a 5 Ingredient Cookbook. No one becomes a master chef using 5 ingredients a meal, but some of us NEED to know how to make something edible. Period. Because edible is an improvement over what we would get otherwise.

Riding position. Use of reins. Basic training of a horse. If I can find a way to make me and my riding "edible" to the horse, then I'll be happy. I won't ever be a gourmet rider. I know that and my horses understand that. They will be happy with me if I can be a good 5 Ingredient Rider. And FWIW, I think a "good 5 Ingredient Rider" would still out-ride and out-train a lot of very experienced, life-long riders! Simply caring and being willing to listen to the horse can put a 5 Ingredient Rider ahead of many of the life-long riders I see (and read and hear and view).

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #494 of 1971 Old 09-27-2016, 01:58 PM
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I just re-read the introduction to True Unity.

In the introduction Bill Dorrance describes how Tom was a "peacemaker" from an early age when any of the brothers got into an argument. That may well have been the basis on how he approached horses and why he was so successful with them.

And based on what RCD said, "I think that same instinct that we have so long buried as humans is what horses use to see us from the inside out", part of it may just have been what the horses saw when they looked at Tom.

Ray Hunt had a horse named Hondo! Awesome! And my middle name happens to be Ray. And my son and grandson's middle name also.

I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #495 of 1971 Old 09-27-2016, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Ray Hunt had a horse named Hondo! Awesome! And my middle name happens to be Ray. And my son and grandson's middle name also.
I've always wants to ask you how Hondo acquired his name? It seems an odd sort of name for a horse, though nice if you consider the meaning of Hondo in Spanish (which I presume is its origin). Hondo means deep, which just like in English can be depth of water or depth of philosophical thought, or anything in between referring to depth. Seems appropriate for the lines this conversation is running along now.
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There is nothing more peaceful than watching a horse eat.
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post #496 of 1971 Old 09-27-2016, 07:18 PM
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Cool! I'm liking the name Hondo better now.

As the story goes, Hondo was purchased at an auction that was held at the onset of the GREAT recession. He came with the name Hondo and the new owners did not change it. Nothing is known about his background other than the lady who sold him more or less had him in her backyard and the new owners said from the sound if it, he was a pet.

There were people frequently at that time offering the ranch horses for free. People losing their jobs, their house, their little acreage and so on. Horses were dirt cheap at that point I'm told.

They liked the looks of Hondo and brought him home. He was a fully developed treat hound. But he knew cattle as it turned out. Knew side passing to gates etc. So they used him a few years until he almost got out from under the owner at a gallop chasing cattle. Yep, spooked at a gallop. Her youngest daughter, born and raised on the ranch and now in her early thirties said Hondo was the only horse that ever got out from under her. That was at a walk down a wash.

When I was first here feeding 23 horses night and morning, my first impression of Hondo was when I looked over and saw him on his knees, head turned sideways and flat on the ground and slid under a pipe panel straining to reach a single pelled he had spied in a locked pen.

Some time later I was trying to get a piece of baler twine on a horse to lead him to the pens where the others would normally follow. But they were on the South side of the house where they always acted spooky for some reason and no one wanted me to put a rope/string on them.

And then up strutted Hondo, right up beside me and almost touching my shoulder, with a look on his face that I interpreted as saying, "Here, take me. The rest will follow". I did and they did. He knew he wasn't getting anything to eat until everyone got in their pens and he was hungry.

Even though not particularly popular on the ranch, every person agreed that Hondo had personality.

Below is a picture of when I was going to start riding Hondo on roundups as a trial to see how I did. They did not want to sell him to me unless it was a match. They also decided to have me sign a waver hee hee.

The next picture is several months later after I had his fecal tested and finding him loaded with small and large strangles had been treated and put on a few pounds. And I've lost 20 pounds since that picture. Can you guess from where?

IMG_0101.jpg

IMGA0067.JPG

Sorry, you asked a teenie question about Hondo but once I start talking about Hondo it takes me a while to rein myself in:):):)

I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"

Last edited by Hondo; 09-27-2016 at 07:26 PM.
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post #497 of 1971 Old 09-28-2016, 01:04 AM
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And then up strutted Hondo, right up beside me and almost touching my shoulder, with a look on his face that I interpreted as saying, "Here, take me. The rest will follow"....
Sorry, you asked a teenie question about Hondo but once I start talking about Hondo it takes me a while to rein myself in:):):)
It sounds like Hondo chose you - perhaps he wanted to go back to being somebody's pet again instead of one ranch horse amongst 23. These are the sorts of stories I love reading about people's horses

He's a nice-looking fellow. Funny I realise that although I've studied umpteen photos of his hooves, I haven't seen many of his whole handsome self.
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post #498 of 1971 Old 09-28-2016, 09:00 AM
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On a cold winter morning when the sun and breakfast rendered him unable to stand.


just sittin' in the mornin' sun.JPG

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.JPG

I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #499 of 1971 Old 09-29-2016, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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...According to the introduction in the book, he recommended the one mentioned and "Dressage" by Henry Wynmalen. It also said when asked if there were any books to read, he replied, "There may be, but I have not read it yet."...
If anyone was thinking of reading Henry Wynmalen's book...don't. Unless it is free. And then read it looking for an occasional nugget of goodness lurking in the BS.

For example, only the most highly trained horses can move under control on a loose rein. "Normally, the horse is in a sense a prisoner, enclosed between the effects of hand and leg." And, "So, in any serious riding, we use both hands; there is not the slightest merit in trying to do with one hand that which can be done infinitely better with two."

Spurs and whips are essentials for riding. Not to punish, of course, but as necessary ways of communicating. And without a spur, one is left with just a clumsy heel - which I suppose may be clumsy, if your goal includes keeping the horse a prisoner between your hand and leg!

Discussions of center of gravity are utterly meaningless, he says, since on cannot know exactly in advance what the horse's center of gravity will be - as though we cannot feel it and do not, in fact, almost instinctively try to match it with our own.

The loin of the horse, BTW, cannot carry any weight, since the spine functions to carry weight, and the spine is reinforced by the ribs. So where the ribs are not, the horse cannot bear any weight - regardless of the fact that they undeniably do - just as I can carry an 80 lb sack of pellets on one shoulder, well offset from my spine.

Perhaps the greatest divergence is revealed in a section where he and I are also strongly in agreement:

"In training a horse, we are in reality trying to form a partnership, wherein the horse shall supply the motive power and the rider the directing power or brain. But the horse is possessed of a brain himself, and this cannot be short-circuited...the horse and the rider must learn to think alike, in order to be able to act alike."

The first underlining highlights were I disagree, and where I in fact dislike much of traditional or classical dressage - the horse is the muscle and we are the brain. Fundamental to how I wish to ride - even if it means I will never go beyond being a 5 Ingredient Rider - is that I believe horses can be taught judgment, and SHOULD be taught judgment, and that the secret of good riding is to truthfully convince the horse that he WANTS to do what the rider also wants to do - normally. But it also includes the concept that the horse can and should refuse the rider at times, and that is what makes horse and rider a real team and not a phony one.

But I also agree that all our work is done through the horse's mind, and that "the horse and the rider must learn to think alike, in order to be able to act alike".

I can see some nuggets of goodness, but I find them overwhelmed by a lack of understanding about how a horse moves and how a horse carries weight.

But in fairness - he writes with a very different goal in mind. He views dressage riding, which he says needs to be done in a level, controlled arena, as the pinnacle of riding. I view any riding that must be done on level, smooth ground as circus training. And while I believe some dressage riders manage to make their horses full participants - I think the current Olympic champion has done it - I also think it takes a truly gifted rider to do so.

And in fairness, I really like what Harry Chamberlin wrote about position and balance, but dislike his approach to reins and spurs as strongly as Chamberlin disliked western riding and riders! But this is NOT a book I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't consider Haute Ecole the supreme goal of riding. And even then, too much of what he writes simply conflicts with what I have watched and ridden and done. I do not understand how anyone can reasonably expect to train a horse in movements if one does not first understand what the horse DOES to get that motion.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #500 of 1971 Old 09-29-2016, 09:14 PM
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...According to the introduction in the book, he recommended the one mentioned and "Dressage" by Henry Wynmalen. It also said when asked if there were any books to read, he replied, "There may be, but I have not read it yet."...
I have True Unity and just re-read the introduction which is by Bill Dorrance. There is no mention of Henry Wynmalen or the "I have not read it yet" quote in my book. Mine is Seventh printing March 1994 but there is no indication of a different copyright other than the original in 1987.

The prologue by Milly Hunt Porter does mention the "I have not read it yet" quote but again does not mention Henry Wynmalen.

About where in the introduction did you see Henry WYnmalen? I've read it twice in the last few days without seeing it but still, I could have missed it.
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I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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