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To Say Farewell to Disrespect . . . Say Farewell to Disrespect

The appy lady clearly connected with the thoroughbred parallel, but remained stuck in her strife against her own mare, reiterating the story once more about how disrespectful she was. She just needed to say it again was all, in a bid to offload the weight anyone might experience in what felt to her like a personal attack from her mare.

It was time to start the session.  Some stood up to clear the table. The appy lady remained seated, across from me, as if struggling with the ‘eject’ button for the’ bad egg story’ about her mare.  “She is a good horse, I know she is a good horse” she said. “I always focus on the good in her”. I couldn’t help thinking of how she had offered the mare up for the demo seconds after I arrived, announcing her as the sure winner of the ‘bad egg’ award. I had hoped this was just an expression of nerves, had just smiled and replied that I didn’t have such an award, and left it there.  “Well she’s an appy… and a mare!” she had persisted. “Well, what do you expect!” a friend had chimed in, meaning to offer support. One might think she meant there was no hope for them. Then again, there she was, signed up for their first clinic.

At any rate, the words she used now were leading to the right place. I offered quietly that if she could make the jump and switch tracks, she had a real opportunity to launch to a different spot with her mare that day.  “I realize I haven’t even seen her yet, but I am willing to bet she is seeking to work with you, not against you”.

Bill Dorrance is adamant that it is in a horse’s nature to get along. I believe this too, though it can be challenging at times to see past the illusion. It’s a bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass, where everything is opposite, until you realize it’s just a strange sort of dream. Then you wake up and see that it is just as Bill said.

Mark Rashid

RashidBookCover

"I see an 'opening' as anything that allows us to help guide, however briefly, an individual in the direction we ultimately would like to go. An 'opening' can be, and often is, a very subtle form of communication between horse and rider that can easily slip past us if we're not paying attention. 'Openings' can and do work both ways. [...] It amazes me just how small an 'opening' can actually be, whether working with horses or with people, and how easy it can be to create an 'opening' when one is needed."

Mark Rashid

"I truly believe developing the ability to see and use 'openings' effectively is only one piece of what one might refer to as the 'harmony in horsemanship' puzzle. When this idea of understanding 'openings' is brought together with the understanding of two other simlar ideas - making a connection with another indvidual, and the role distance plays in overall communication - I believe it is then that harmony in horsemanship becomes a much less daunting concept for us."

Mark Rashid

Leslie Desmond

LDaudiobook

"Bill knew about a place I did not know existed, or could exist, between a horse and a human being [...] Bill included each one of my horses in that information exchange. Over the course of many months,... he took each one by its lead rope and, later, by the bridle reins. Using what he called his 'better feel', Bill showed me and each of them exactly what he meant by what he did [...] It was not long after I made the switch from force when needed (often) to always customizing the feel I offered to a horse, that two tough horses I had misunderstood for years developed into my most reliable mounts."

Leslie Desmond

The lightest hands carry intent that is recognized instantly by the horse, as seen in the maneuvers he chooses to make with his feet. Whether that horse is ridden or handled, the lightest hands can purposefully influence the speed, direction and sequence of each foot with accuracy, in a manner that is reflected in the horse's body and on his face.

Leslie Desmond

Bill Dorrance

bilsbook

"The Real Masters Understood Feel [...] For example, De Kerbrech, (French officer in the cavalry of Napoleon III) really understood horses. He had it fixed up so the horse could succeed. [...] The first time I read Beudant's book was in the 1950s. The way he explained things, there was no doubt in my mind about what a person needed to do to get these little things working for them and their horse."

Bill Dorrance

“Feel, timing and balance: sometimes it’s best to talk about feel, timing and balance separately, and to learn how to apply each thing separately on the start. But when you apply these three things a little later in your training, then you see that each one of these things supports the other. They are interconnected and all three are real important. You really can’t get along without all three.”

Bill Dorrance

Faverot de Kerbrech

FaverotBookCover

“...plus le deplacement du poids est facile dans tous les sens, plus l'equilibre est parfait. En vertue de ce principe, on dit que le cheval est 'en equilibre' quand de simples indications suffisent au cavalier pour modifier a son gre la disposition du poids sur ses colonnes de soutien”

Faverot de Kerbrech

[Translation: ...the easier it is to shift the weight in any direction, the more perfect the balance. By virtue of this principle, the horse is 'in balance' when a simple indication from the rider is sufficient to modify the distribution of weight across the columns of support (four quarters) accordingly]

Duke of Newcastle

CavendishBookCover

"You must in all Airs follow the strength, spirit, and disposition of the horse, and do nothing against nature; for art is but to set nature in order, and nothing else."

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle

"A confrontational approach ‘Astonishes the Weak Horse […] makes a Furious horse Madd; makes a Resty Horse more Resty […] and Displeases all sorts of Horses’. The alternative however is not ‘to Sit Weak […] but to Sit Easie’, in the understanding that ‘The Horse must know you are his Master’"

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle