I've returned to the book, True Unity: Willing Communication Between Horse and Human, by Tom Dorrance, to read and interpret his message from this new lens of progress Leah and I have made. I can't say enough how important his first chapter, "Feel the WHOLE Horse," is to having a real relationship and partnership. I'm reading it again and again and trying to let it all soak into my mind.
Here are a few quotes that really speak to me, and maybe they will speak to you, too.
"The rider needs to recognize the horse's need for self-preservation in MIND, BODY, and, the third factor, SPIRIT. He needs to realize how the person's approach can ASSURE the horse that he can have his self-preservation and still respond to what the person is asking him to do."
"It's just as well not to crowd the horse if he isn't ready for it. You keep offering, trying to help as much as you can, without troubling him too much about it. Then, there will be a day when it will all just clear right up."
"Generally, people have no idea what I'm talking about, so we need to try to figure out some way to understand this thing the horse is so full of, and that he has such a strong desire to get from the person in return. It has to be togetherness."
"The important thing is that it doesn't matter if it comes out real good or real bad. The important thing is to try to understand what took place that caused it to be good or not so good. There's something about that: if a person can understand what took place, then maybe he can help the horse get in a position that will come out better, that will help him avoid getting into a position that's not so good."
"People have to rely on themselves. I tell people that it has to come right out of the inside of themselves, the end result. There can be some direction, or support and encouragement, but the feel itself can come from no one but themselves."
"I'm not 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 with a horse."
"Sometimes the horse doesn't seem to understand, but it doesn't seem to bother him too much. Other horses, if they don't understand--they get bothered all over."
"I like to work from where the horse is, to get him to be able to operate wherever and whenever I need him."
"The longer I live, the more I see in animals--about how they operate. No horse wants to be hurt. They will do things that will cause themselves to get hurt, but they usually don't head for that--that isn't what their intention is. They are no different from the rest of us. They have a strong sense of self-preservation."
"If the inside of a person or a horse is bothered, it's for sure that the outside is going to show it."
"I didn't used to elaborate on the third factor, spirit; I only just mentioned it. But I've begun to wonder about it in the last few years. Maybe if people got to realizing the importance of that part of the horse, they could get more feel and understanding from right in the horse's innards. Then they could try to figure out the mental and the physical parts."
"I've felt this in horses all my life, but I don't think I realized how important it was to try to calm that inward part down. I was always working on the surface, both mentally and physically--not getting right down to the inside of the horse."
"Riders may want to get an answer to their questions right early--on the surface. I want them to try to figure out something; I want them to work at figuring out the whole horse--his mind, body, and spirit. Maybe they will figure out what they are missing."