My Dad grew up with horses. When he was a kid he rode Western and was a pretty good stunt rider. Later he switched to English. He was gentle and patient with horses and always left them better than when he got them.
I grew up on my Dad's horse farm. As a kid I rode all kinds of horses in various stages of training. I've now ridden for almost fifty years. And like with my Dad I've always been able to take pride in the fact that I've been, for the most part kind and gentle to horses; and left each one in a better place than where I began with it. So I was drastically unprepared for the results of some reading I did last winter and where it has left me today.
Last winter I picked up Tom Dorrance's book True Unity. Then I read Ray Hunt's Think Harmony With Horses. These books are truth and wisdom! Never before have I seen articulated so well the potential of horses and how we complicate their ability to learn with our ignorance, lack of awareness and over use of pressure, when what we should be doing is getting ahold of the horses feet, asking with the least amount of pressure that yields a response, look for the littlest try and reward it by immediately taking off the pressure and build out from there.
Tom Dorrance was a thinking cowboy and his thoughts were on horses and how to make life better for them. Other horsemen in the West called him the Horse Lawyer. Ray Hunt was his best student and went on to develop Tom's methods for himself and to teach others what he had learned from Tom.
Ray Hunt taught another horsemen named Buck Brannaman. Buck now passes on in clinics what Ray taught him. I just finished watching Seven Clinics With Buck Brannaman. Never before have I felt so sure that I am on the right track. The results I have seen with Pickle and Dusty already are baring out the strength of this method. I will now reread these books several times to digest them and watch all seven clinics over and over again.
The information collected in this treasure trove is enough to last me the rest of my life trying to apply to myself and my horses/mules. I feel again a beginner though I have taught. I am sure now that what I knew was not all right. I am learning again and though the ego doesn't like it the mind knows that this new path is right and will lead to higher ground. I wish I could share this information with my Dad. He'd have liked to know but he's gone so I will share it with you. The sooner you can know it the sooner you can check it out for yourself and the more time in life you will have to apply it to the horses and mules you work with. This is a real big gift! Pass it on when you get it.
Above is the dedicated work of three great horsemen and cowboys. They have changed me.