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jlreyes
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 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2007 03:57 pm
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With considerable trepidation, I'm asking all of you to help me understand something...
For months (maybe years), I've been reading and re-reading True Unity. But then, last April, I picked up True Horsemanship Through Feel. Through the Bill Dorrance book, I began to understand what "feeling of each other and feeling for each other" means to my horse and me - I could get what to do and what I'm working for, and sometimes even, what to feel (I can't stop counting foot-falls...) 
 
I am concerned, though, that I'm missing the heart of True Unity because I don't understand what to do!  True Horsemanship Through Feel is easier for me to understand, but I do not believe my limitations are a sufficient reason for me to favor one over the other. Do I need to favor one over the other? Is one a how-to manual for the other? Are they both going to the same place? What are the similarities and the differences between the approaches of Bill Dorrance and Tom Dorrance? Am I being a willful or unfaithful student of the ESI because I'm not "getting" True Unity?

Charity
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 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2007 05:29 pm
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    What good timing on this question! I was at Harry Whitney's clinic over the weekend (just returned yesterday!) and he spent a good chunk of time at dinner one night answering one of the auditor's questions about the differences between Tom and Bill's books. From what I understand, as readers we should take a look at the editing job as much as the actual words of the two men. Harry seems to think that the books are fairly representative of the personalities and approaches of the two men--Tom being of relatively few words and lots of observation, and Bill being the more talkative and story-telling of the two. Of course, I have no idea about this, but I tend to trust Harry quite a bit. Here's what I can say--the further I go along in my journey, the more I gravitate toward Tom's book. When I was starting out with all of this stuff years ago, I found more solace in Bill's, because it seemed more instructional. At this point, Tom's causes me to think deeper and reflect more, instead of more specific exercises. Both are useful and interesting, I'll grant you that!

Miriam could chime in here as well, since I know she heard a lot of this conversation (unless she was playing her guitar and singing us good songs!)

Sam
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 Posted: Fri Jul 27th, 2007 07:15 am
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Hello there,

I have only ever briefly seen Tom's book so really have no idea about that one, but I love Bill Dorrance's book, True Horsemanship Through Feel.  The way its written as though you were talking to him face to face is just lovely.  The book also so full of forgiveness for us humans who just don't know what we need to know yet!  This is the book I pick up when I am feeling lost, it heartens me and returns me to my horse much improved.  Enjoy your reading it doesn't matter if you don't get it yet but you are certainly on the right forum to ask this question.  I am just re reading the Birdie book, there is sooooooo much stuff in there I couldn't 'see' during any other readings it is blowing me away! 

Kind Regards

Sam I am

Kim L
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 Posted: Fri Jul 27th, 2007 08:45 am
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Don't give up on Tom's book. The best part of his book is when he is talking. Dr. Deb can explain parts of his book very well I've heard her. She was the one that made me want to read it. It could be that, his book was the first one of the two that I read, is why I am drawn to it more deeply than Bill's. Though I enjoy very much Bill's book  too. When I read Bill's book it brings fondly to mind voices from the past. It makes me burst out laughing remembering things that happened. (although at the time they were happening, I wasn't always in the mood for laughing) When I read Tom's book I remember horses. And the conversations I had between me and the horse. ( I can't say these conversations were very verbal but they were definitely conversations.) When I rode it was Tom's words that came to mind. I felt like my communication with my horse was much clearer when Tom's words came into my mind. I don't know quite how to explain this but I find it very helpful not to read the two books the same way. When I read Bill's book I think in words. When I read Tom's book I think of horses. I think of how their ears would look, what their nostrils are doing, what position would their feet be in, what position their haunches are in, when he is suggesting what he would do. ( a word to the wise do what he suggests)

jlreyes
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 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 05:20 am
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Thank you for the insight and encouragement: I'll keep working through True Unity. Just to clarify, though, both books are aiming for the same results, right?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 05:22 pm
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J.L. -- The response you received from Charity, where she reports what she heard Harry Whitney say, is correct. I knew both men also, and I would say the same. Bill reminded me of (what in my generation would have been) an old-fashioned High School teacher -- the kind of tall, skinny guy you might get in a biology-101 class, where he comes in there wearing a boiled shirt and a bow tie. That kind of teacher is absolutely master of the information that needs to be conveyed in that class, and he prides himself on his ability to not only answer any question, but to do that in a way that is pleasant and clear.

Tom was not like that at all. His teaching approach was structured, sometimes with extreme subtlety, to get the student to figure out every answer themselves. As he said to me, "Debbie, I did it that way because I wanted you to learn this all the way down in your guts."

These are the two universal teaching approaches -- all over the world, and throughout history -- the teacher can either "tell" the student in plain language -- and that sometimes is very helpful indeed -- or he can fix the whole situation up so that the student runs smack into their own ignorance on their own, and then has the joy of a revelation or change of heart that comes entirely from within. Bill acknowledged in my hearing many times that he felt that Tom was the greater man. But I also liked Bill very much. Ray Hunt also credits him again and again with having taught him what he needed to know when he needed to know it.

So as to whether they are getting at the same thing -- that all depends, honey. It all depends on what YOU think the "same thing" is. It is certainly about horses and how people could be around horses. But all the Dorrance brothers are gone now, and so, as with any author of any book, the book becomes what the READER makes of it.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

 

mtell
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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2007 06:30 pm
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Harry also said that both those Dorrance bros stated that their other brother (can't remember name) was better than both of them! Both men seemed to be the type of teacher that didn't put themselves on a pedestal.

In my experience with those books, as a person with a burnin' desire to get this better way, Bill's 'mechanical' book gave me more than concepts, it gave me physical assignments to do to actually experience the goodness of the approach.  Here you SEE the soft eye, SEE the learning frame of mind, SEE/FEEL the willingness/try in the horse, experience the proof that people really can connect with the horse. Perhaps I'm the type of learner that needs that approach at first. The conceptual part which I feel Tom's book more represents, can be a bit of a far reach in the beginning. Now, 6 years after beginning this 'new' journey (after a lifetime with horses), I find re and rereading Tom's book to be very enlightening and Bill's book...well I'm done reading it except to refer back to the knot tieing chapters.

And Charity, yes I heard some of that conversation but always do get a bit carried away by the music (and why not?). When you're intertwined in the musical experience you can block out the environ until wafting back...and coming back to Harry Whitney and a four day clinic with such great people is as good as reality can get! You can bet that I'll be processing this one for years to come!

jlreyes
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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 12:51 am
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Does anyone know, has anyone ever met, Beaut? Is she still alive? I love the pictures of her loading into the little trailer when he's using his cane to support her.  

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 05:41 am
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Yes, J.L., lots of people met Beaut. There was a period when Bill was doing some public horsemanship clinics. He used to do them at the arena at Pebble Beach, and he would bring her to ride her. I also saw her right after he first got her and she was still trying to kill him.

And yes, it was indeed a pleasure to watch Beaut -- after Bill and she had gotten some things working. Stories about what I saw in Beaut -- and Bill -- are in the Birdie Book. -- Dr. Deb

jlreyes
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 Posted: Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 06:47 pm
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What do I make of “it”? This makes me smile because the “its” distract me sometimes when I’m reading True Unity – “can’t teach it to you, you might get it, sometimes I get it, thought I’d never get it, you know it when you feel it …” 

So, after being empowered by Dr. Deb (thank you) - I believe that the books are getting at the same thing – How to manage space and energy with consideration and grace. 

I guess it's Birdie Book time now - I suspect I'm in for another stimulating read...

Thanks again for sharing your personal stories!

Last edited on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 06:48 pm by jlreyes

jlreyes
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 Posted: Thu Aug 16th, 2007 04:38 am
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Dr. Deb:
Thank you so much for transcribing the Ray Hunt clinic - What a fabulous link between the Dorrance books. Thank you again, Jennifer


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