True Horsemanship Through feel…By Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond.
I have had this book recommended to me many times, but unfortunately I found that finding it for sale was a near impossible task. After months of searching I eventually found it on Alibris book site for a reasonable price considering I have previously seen the book for sale in America for over a hundred pounds.
The notes I have written are so inspirational to me, How truly amazing Bill Dorrance was.
Bill Dorrance was a legendary livestock rancher and master horseman from Salinas, California. Jan 29 1906 – July 20 1999.
Leslie Desmond April 19, 1954 Coaches horse trainers, competitors and riding instructors in the Horsemanship through feel at venues around the world. She holds a degree in journalism and is an Author and producer at Diamond productions.
I have included a small amount of content from the book as I would like you to get a “feel” for the type of book this is, I am finding it to be very inspirational and really feel that this will be a turning point for myself and my horses. I am truly inspired and feel so lucky to have found such an amazing book and although I am just starting to learn the techniques, already I have started to look at things differently.
The best horsemen say the horse is the best teacher.
Horses learn fast and learn well, they forgive readily but they rarely, if ever forget. Maybe the best horsemen are simply good students, if they gained knowledge as the horses student, then it was probably through many hours of observation and from their efforts to instruct him, that they did so. The idea of “best” is at best, subjective, it is an abstraction and it is irrelevant to the horse. Whenever I hear someone say “the best” I think, according to whom? Good horsemanship is an approach to learning that combines the flexibility of thought and actions with a willingness to experiment and to indefinitely postpone negative judgment. Judgement of the horse, of oneself, the previous owner, the last trainer – all of them.
We could try to replace the fear of making a mistake with the relaxed, upbeat approach to trial and error. If we follow the path that far, we might decide to take another lesson from the horse, who never seems to learn much when he is afraid, except to be more afraid.
Developing lightness on the ground, that will carry over into your mounted work, first teach him to lower his head, positioning the head and neck and getting the feet freed up, should be the first choice of how to invest time in a horse before sitting up there, you’d get real familiar with these exercises and get the horse operating real smooth and slow for you. Before any plans on riding a horse, you would work on the ground to teach the horse to move his feet in any direction you wanted and in any direction there’s a need for him to move.
There is complete control over the horse when this occurs and this control is no part of any contest whatsoever. One main thought you should look out for is that spot where a persons thought becomes the horses idea.
I love the way Bill Dorrance completely respects the feeling and the thought process of a horse, he has a really earthy and endearing way to relate the many wonderful ways of training with horses to the average person. I have an enormous amount of respect for someone that puts a horse first and never trying to dominate the horse as many trainers these days try to do. I have seen this happen many times usually resulting in a very unhappy stressed horse, which for me is the exact opposite to what I would like, my main aim has always been to have happy, healthy, responsive horses. How amazing then to find true masters of horsemanship to learn from, if I know one thing about horses, it is that you never stop learning.
Aim for success, but never give up your right to be wrong, because when you do, you will also lose your ability to learn new things and move forward. What we see often depends entirely on what we’re looking for.
We do not remember days, we remember moments, too often we try to accomplish something big without realising that the greatest part of life is made up of the little things. When you stay stuck in regret over the life you think you should have, you end up missing the beauty of what you do have. Live authentically and cherish each precious moment of your journey xx
Some of the above writing is an excerpt from a truly amazing book, 1000 Little Things Successful People Do Differently by Angel and Marc Chernoff. As I have been reading this, one of my favourite positive books, I became aware that a lot of the writing can be applicable to horses and our lives with them. Fundamentally, you never, ever stop learning and as a result your admiration of the true spirit of the horse is bathed in a huge amount of love and respect.