Forum Posts

Mona Schubert
Mar 28, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
Q: “Are there some people who will just never "get" this?” Bill: “I don´t like to criticize people who have very little to offer a horse. It´s kind of a balance [Pg: 300] you need in there, and it´s really important to remember that most people are doing the best they know how, so we wouldn´t speak about fault in any case. There are two kinds of criticism. One is constructive criticism, which I think is very valuable, and the other is hurtful or condemning and does not inspire a person to change. I´m really only interested in that first kind because it all gets down to the individual - the individual horse and the individual person. What happens between so many different horses and people makes it very hard for one set of words to be applied to everybody. But there´s a set of words that will fit just about anybody. That´s where the adjustable part of instructing comes in, and a good instructor [Pg: 331] is a really important part of getting onto this. Even when a person can really good help, there are two parts to this. You need to want that help a lot, and that help has to be available when you need it. When you´re getting started, you need to be around somebody quite a few times who is more experienced than you are. Get as much help and as many ideas as you can from other people, and then use your better judgment as to what part of it fits. You´ve got to see whether it will work for you or it won´t. You have to be the one able to do the editing. there are lots of people out there with plenty of information to offer you all right, but there are not a lot of instructors [Pg: 331] who can explain it in a way that others can understand. There´s a surplus of them who will tell you what to do, and not be able to show you how to do it. There could be a lot of reasons for this. Maybe they don´t get it, or they haven´t had an opportunity to be at the same place that the beginner is. Some fellas are just better working with horses than with people, but people ask them for help anyway because they see that these people can get results they admire. One problem that sure comes in there is when the person doing the demonstrating can´t get those ideas about how to get a certain thing done across to the people in a way that´s useful to them. Sometimes a person can get information that turns out to be really not useful at all. This can happen because that instructor [Pg: 331] is lacking in some areas. I've also seen where the person who wants to learn is really way off in what they thought they saw, or heard, or understood. but the person right next to them might understand it the way liable to get it applied straight away. That's because no two people are the same. That's the main reason why it's so beneficial to a person who's starting out to have a chance to handle a horse that's already been taught to operate real smooth, through feel [Pp: 318 - 321] . When this can happen, it reduces those feelings of doubt that come in for a person about how a horse is supposed to feel to them when he's operating that better way. And then there are instructors [Pg: 331] out there who are more interested in starting those horses and students working on up-the-line ways and bypassing all this part down at the base, where we're talking about. The place we're talking about is quite a bit further below where a lot of people are wanting to work. There are all kinds of reasons a person feels this way, but those reasons don't matter. What matters is that the horse doesn't understand it when they don't start at the beginning." Q: “What advice would you give a new horse owner?” Bill: “My advice would be to learn to feel [Pp: 318 - 321] of that horse." Q: “What if a horse rears and runs by a new owner in the beginning, and that person experiences fear?” Bill: “If that happens, then for sure that horse isn't feeling of that person. If he comes around the person that way, why then he's going to be doing some other things that aren't the best. And someone lacking experience with horses might have good reason to fear one, especially after something like this. A person will want to try to keep from getting hurt and keep their horse from getting hurt, too. So it's always nice for an inexperienced person to have some supervision at the start, from someone with more experience. When the person who's a new owner learns about feel [Pp: 318 - 321] and can get it applied to a horse, they won't be so likely to feel afraid. Until then, It's natural that they would feel this uncomfortable way. Q: “How does a new owner, or someone just starting with this approach, keep from getting discouraged?” Bill: “There's no harm in asking that one. If you're learning [Pp: 334, 335], why you wouldn't get discouraged. If you aren't learning [Pp: 334, 335], then you've got good reason to feel discouraged, and the most likely reason is that you either don't have good instruction or you've got a horse that's too far above or below where you are, and you don't know how to get with him. You know, a person goes to school for eight years just to get out of the eighth grade, and it seems like so many people think they should have things in the Horsemanship [Pg: 330] department figured out in a few sessions. They need to take the time it takes. If a person is discouraged, I'd ask them what was causing that, but I'd already have an idea that it could be several things because I've seen a lot of this. In most cases, it's either a lack of understanding of what's taking place, or else the person is short on time and likely to always be. Or, they could have a horse that doesn't fit them or an instructor [Pg: 331] that isn't fitting them real well. Why any of these things could be just caused for some discouragement. But, if they're talking to me about this problem, I'd know if it was the horse or the instructor [Pg: 331], or it could just be the person isn't capable of understanding what' taking place. And you'd be sure to stop before you said that because that would get the person even more discouraged than they were, and for sure you don't want that. Of course, the best way to answer this is to have the horse and the rider right there in front of you, and then there'd be a limit to the speculating a fella'd need to do on this subject." From: "True Horsemanship Through Feel” By Bill Dorrance with Leslie Desmond
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Mona Schubert
Mar 21, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
Q: "What do you mean when you say the horse is "lost" or "filling in [Pp: 321 - 322] " ?” Bill: “It´s quite challenging to offer the horse a fitting response just when he needs it the most. This´d be when he´s upset or seems to be "lost" or if he´s panicked and unable to make it without some support. People might be liable to hand-feed him a carrot or offer him grain if he´s riled or upset, but what he needs a lot more than handouts is some direction and support that has a purpose he can make sense of. When life is surging up through his body it has to have someplace to go. His feed needs to move when he´s upset and agitated. He tells you this. Most people want to box the horse in, or tie him up and make him stand still if he´s upset, but this goes completely against a horse´s nature. And those handouts, especially at a time like this, why lead to nothing good. This is the main reason a person wants to build feel [Pp: 318 - 321] into the foundation on their horse, and this is especially true with young or troubled horses. Get that built-in early, so when things get upsetting, the horse knows that you know how he feels. It´s good if he knows that you know what he needs. And what he needs is to know that you´ll have something to suggest for him to do in the way of movement. he needs to know that there´s a way to place his feet and position his head low enough so the very act of raising it up in the air and tightening his stomach and back doesn´t get him tense and frighten him even more. If that horse knows he can depend on you and the reliable feel [Pp: 318 - 321] of your hand, he will look to you for support when he gets into trouble or becomes unsure. you want your horse to know your mind, and for that to be possible, you have to learn quite a little about his. When you do, he´ll be looking you up, and not for handouts either. If you have a horse, this is pretty much your job anyway. It´s this commitment from the human that helps a horse prepare for the future to a point where many of them will do something called "filling in"[Pp: 321 - 322] . This is something a horse will do for certain people, Sometimes that person will be the one who prepared the horse to be able to fill in, and other times he´ll fill in for someone who´s bad hardly any experience around horses at all. Filling in [Pp: 321 - 322] can be a real good thing." QUESTIONS ABOUT EXPERIENCE AND JUDGEMENT Q: "Are good horsemen made or born?” Bill: “There´s a little of both that takes place there." Q: "What are the choices that the best horse handlers have?” Bill: “The feel [Pp: 318 - 321] from the horse tells a person what that horse is understanding and not understanding. A good horseman uses his better judgment [Pg: 331] to make choices, based on the feel [Pp: 318 - 321] he´s getting back from a horse. Another way to say this is that his choices are unlimited, but one will be the best." Q: "How do you get that good judgment [Pg: 331]?” Bill: “Well it has to do with experience. That will include a lot of trial and error. You have to experiment to see what works. That´s where a student needs support from an instructor [Pg: 331] . We have to try to get that student to understand the feel [Pp: 318 - 321] they are getting from that horse, and then judge about how much firmness [Pg: 322] to use to help the horse make a change [Pp: 305 - 306] . The horse may not show any signs of change with the first application or even the first several times. But if your judgment [Pg: 331] is practical, why that tell you whether to keep presenting the same thing or maybe put a little variation in there someplace. That´s what it means to learn from the horse, actually." Q: "Why would anyone who´s at the top of their field - for example, a winning cutting horse trainer or a Grand Prix jumper rider - have any use for this approach?” Bill: “It would certainly give them more control of their horse, and that´s what everybody´s after." Q: "Can what they call a "finished horse" benefit from this?” Bill: “There isn´t any horse that´s living that doesn´t need to be exposed a little bit to learn to feel [Pp: 318 - 321] of us. As long as that horse lives, he can learn to feel of a person and to respond to a person´s feel." Q: "My horse was trained the "old" way and I learned this way too, mostly on my own. Most of what I learned about works real well, but sometimes I get the feeling that my horse doesn´t really trust me the way I´d like him to. What should I do?” Bill: “Helping the horse feel [Pp: 318 - 321] of a person is what instills his confidence in that person. Using force or fear doesn´t lead to anything good. When a horse is brought under control through force (restraining or leverage devices, electric shock, or self-tightening gimmicks), it doesn´t build anything good into the horse. And it never will. The use of fear builds in resistance [Pp: 347 - 348] too, because it brings out the horse´s need for self-preservation, and this is the very thing you need to avoid if the horse is ever going to be trustworthy. In order for him to be trustworthy, that horse needs to be trusting of you. See, it has to start with the human." Q: "Can people overcome old habits?” Bill: “Some can. And some can´t because they just don´t want to change [Pp: 305 - 306]. If change isn´t natural or easy for a person, they won´t get much out of this. They got started the hard way and might stay there. It´s not that they don´t have feel [Pp: 318 - 321], they do. They´re using it in a way to make the horse do something instead of helping the horse do it. There´s a world of difference between making and helping. But a person who has a strong desire to learn this, why they sure can learn it, all right. They´re just going to need to be willing to make some changes." From: "True Horsemanship Through Feel” By Bill Dorrance with Leslie Desmond
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Mona Schubert
Mar 14, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
Q: “Where do you stand when you´re leading a horse?” Bill: “It depends on the situation - whether he´s a horse that wants to go way too fast or one that wants to go way too slow [Pg: 356]. If he´s too fast, then you´re liable to be a shade behind or ahead as you work to get him to feel [Pp: 318-321]of you. It can take a little while to get the timing [Pg: 361] right on this so that it´s effective for a horse that´s too quick about things. If he´s too slow, [Pg: 356] then you have to teach that horse to lead up real free [Pp: 332-334] and that´s in the first part of the book (Chapter 4, Part 2). Where you´d stand really all depends on the picture you have in your mind about leading him, and what you have in mind to offer the horse in the way of feel [Pp: 318-321] that will keep him the way he is, or change the way he handles on that lead rope." Q: “Should the horse be kept far away on the lead rope to keep a person safe?” Bill: “Get up close and get him to feel [Pp: 318-321] of you and then you´ll be able to handle him out on the end of a rope later on after he can feel [Pp: 318-321] of you up close. If he isn´t feeling [Pp: 318-321] of you up close, he´ll be even less able to at a distance, or when you´re sitting up there on his back. You need a foundation first." Q: “Is it all right to use a stud chain over the nose?” Bill: “Then you´re making him stop through pain. You aren´t teaching a horse to feel [Pp: 318-321] of you. You´ve failed in the helping [Pg: 327] part of things, and you´re trying to make him do it (whatever it is you are wanting him to do) instead. That´s not the right attitude [Pp: 299-300]. " (The same person had this follow-up question) Q: “But what if when I ride him, he does fine? We win at the shows and he´s basically a really great horse.” Bill: “He´ll do better for you over the jumps and in front of the cows if you get him better on the ground. It seems to you like he´s doing all right, but he´d do better with this other feel [Pp: 318-321], rather than responding to the pain imposed by a stud chain. But if you don´t know about reaching a horse to learn to feel [Pp: 318-321] of you, then the stud chain approach is just a mechanical solution. It won´t work as well because there´s always pressure [Pg: 346] involved, and it´s applied in a way that it´s difficult for the horse to understand. Without a release [Pg: 347] at is based on his response [Pp: 349-350] to your feel [Pp: 318-321] , he can´t really understand the meaning of the pressure [Pg: 346] in that chain - except that he knows the pain of it. That chain won´t ever bring out the best in a horse. To get a horse switched over from that takes time, and a lot of people don´t want to spend time on that." Q: “Will he ever gets soft if I continue using a stud chain?” Bill: “That really takes experience. Getting a horse to be soft with severe equipment [Pp: 316, 317], you´ve got to be an artist. You have to do so little and do it so lightly, that it just isn´t probable that you´ll get it. It´s possible. But really, it is a long shot, because if people are using that equipment [Pp: 316, 317] they´ve missed a lot, and maybe too much, down at the bottom. That´s the part where you learn about feel [Pp: 318-321] on the ground with the horse. Right on the start." Q: “What if someone hat to get a horse in a trailer and go someplace right away?” Bill: “They´ve got the wrong train of thought to start with if they´ve left the preparation [Pp: 344-345] out of it. There are some horses that you can make do this. It´s just like with two people going out here to do a job. If one fella was going to make the other do what he wanted to be done, and another pair was going toward the job helping one another get that work done, then there´d be a nicer feeling [Pp: 318-321] about the job. The result would have the feeling [Pp: 318-321] of teamwork based on some communication, rather than one fella running the show and the other toeing the line. But it´s really natural for people to want to make the horse do something because the horse is bigger and stronger. The ones who take this to an extreme, why they´ll treat a horse like he´s their slave, and this should never happen. It does in some places though. If they give it any thought at all, those people know that what they´re wanting that horse to do isn´t the horse´s idea [Pg: 339] in the first place. If it were up to the horse, why he´d be out there with other horses, instead of doing what that person had in mind for him. But, if the horse is fairly gentle and can fill in, [Pp: 321-322] if he hasn´t been thumped on and made afraid, then he isn´t going to be trying to get away from you and you can probably get him into that trailer and be going someplace right away. I think it´s amazing what a horse will do for you if he can only understand what it is you want. If he can feel [Pp: 318-321] it and understand it, the chances are good that he´ll do it. And if he doesn´t understand, then he´s lost and he´d do just about anything to get away from you. That´s where people get this idea that they have to force the horse, to overpower him and make him do it. Some people just don´t know it´s possible to help a horse find a way to do what they are wanting to be done. But, when they force a horse into a trailer before he´s prepared, [Pp: 344-345] well, surprising things can sure happen that they might wish to avoid." From: "True Horsemanship Through Feel” By Bill Dorrance with Leslie Desmond
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Mona Schubert
Mar 10, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
Q: “What if he´s good to approach and send away without a halter in your hand, but then when you have the halter, he leaves?” Bill: “On some of these horse-catching projects, you need supervision from someone who has quite a little background in this. A lot of people are ready to give advice, but you´ve got to know what part of it fits you and sometimes none of it will. Some people can get the job done on their own but there aren´t many who can really help a person avoid some of the things that can get them into more problems, if the horse is really hard to catch, I´ll say that. If he starts to move around that corral, why to blend in real smooth with that evading sort of horse, you´d want to be pretty smooth. You can tell when he´s going to change [Pp: 305, 306] direction, and you get yourself to that side where he wanted to go. If he starts to the right, then you get over there to that right side and the same way on the left. You´d be over there. We´ll assume he´s got his butt towards you and he´s turning away with his head. But with some horses, you might have to let them run around that corral quite a little bit, and it takes some knowledge [Pp: 331, 332] to do that, too. so there´s quite a little that takes place teaching a horse how to be caught. When you move and how you move and all those little things are so important to a horse. That´s where experimenting [Pp: 317, 318] comes into things. It all depends on how experienced you are and how much trouble the horse is to catch. It also depends on what sort of place he´s in where he doesn't want to be caught. Some horses will understand what to do with you anticipating their moves and wanting to blend in with them, and they will catch on right away. Others will do quite a little running around until they find out that they can´t get away from you, completely, we´ll say. So then it´s up to the person to do a little something that will attract that horse´s attention, and there´s an unlimited amount of variations in there. We´ll assume that you aren´t on a time clock to catch your horse, and haven´t any plans to trap the horse to be caught because you´re short on time. When you do that, it´s a sure thing you´ll be doing more of it later on, and that´s just what we´re trying to stay away from, is pursuing those horses. It´s usually not helpful to the horse if you´re too quick in your movements. If he wants to keep going, then you don´t try to stop him. Your better judgment [Pg: 331] will tell you if he´s ready to stop. Most horses, if they have the right opportunity won´t want to run over you or get too close to you. Of course, there are exceptions and this is where your own survival comes in. You´ll try real hard not to set up a situation where this takes place. If that horse does get in the habit of wanting to come up to you too fast, then you can hit him over the butt with the rope you have, and change [Pp: 305, 306] other things about the way you handle that horse on the ground to build in respect [Pp: 348, 349]. If you can lay that rope over his butt at the right time, then there's a lot of meaning [Pp: 339, 340] to that horse. It tells him there´s a better way to do things. And you´ll be positioned far enough away that he wouldn´t kick you, and if your adjustment [Pg: 297] was fitting [Pp: 322, 323] he wouldn´t have that thought anyway, because he´d be real busy leaving. A fella won´t rush towards the horse or threaten him in any way before he swats him on the butt, and he´d be sure to have a long enough lead rope for this Improvement. [Pg: 330] If he takes off and runs fast, then you can encourage that to a certain point, and pretty soon he´ll start to think of a better way. A person can step out in front of him and that will help to slow him down - he needs to slow down before you can catch him anyway. some horses will run into you, or surprise you in other ways, so wouldn´t do this in a way that caused an excess of pressure [Pg: 346] for the horse or a rise in his instincts of self-preservation. You don´t want him to get afraid and turn back to the fence. Getting the horse physically hurt is just one of many things that can go wrong there if he doesn´t understand your presentation [Pp: 345, 346]. It´s best to get some help on this from a person who understands how to get feel [Pp: 319, 320] applied in a way the horse can understand. From: "True Horsemanship Through Feel” By Bill Dorrance with Leslie Desmond
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Mona Schubert
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