Tom and Bill Dorrance

Last updated

Brothers Tom Dorrance (May 11, 1910 – June 11, 2003) and Bill Dorrance (January 19, 1906 – July 20, 1999) are considered among the founders of the modern natural horsemanship movement. Born and raised on an Oregon cattle ranch with a background in the Great Basin "Buckaroo" tradition, they promoted natural, gentle methods of horse training, emphasizing "feel" of the horse and observation of its responses to the handler.

Natural horsemanship collective term for a variety of horse training techniques

Natural horsemanship is a collective term for a variety of horse training techniques which have seen rapid growth in popularity since the 1980s. The techniques vary in their precise tenets but generally share principles of developing a rapport with horses, using methods said to be derived from observation of the natural behavior of free-roaming horses and rejecting abusive training methods.

Cowboy animal herder

A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend. A subtype, called a wrangler, specifically tends the horses used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos. Cowgirls, first defined as such in the late 19th century, had a less-well documented historical role, but in the modern world work at identical tasks and have obtained considerable respect for their achievements. Cattle handlers in many other parts of the world, particularly South America and Australia, perform work similar to the cowboy.

Horse training Methods of teaching behaviors to horses

Horse training refers to a variety of practices that teach horses to perform certain behaviors when asked to do so by humans. Horses are trained to be manageable by humans for everyday care as well as for equestrian activities from horse racing to therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.


They had a particularly strong influence on Ray Hunt and Hunt's disciple, Buck Brannaman as well as Arabian horse breeder and trainer Sheila Varian. Many horse trainers claim influence from the Dorrance brothers.

Ray Hunt was an American horse trainer and clinician of significant influence in the natural horsemanship field. He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Buck Brannaman horse trainer

Dan M. "Buck" Brannaman is an American horse trainer and a leading practitioner with a philosophy of handling horses based on classical concepts from the vaquero tradition; working with the horse's nature, using an understanding of how horses think and communicate to train the horse to accept humans and work confidently and responsively with them. One of Brannaman's stated goals is to make the animal feel safe and secure around humans so that the horse and rider can achieve a true union.

Arabian horse Horse breed originating in the Middle East

The Arabian or Arab horse is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses in the Middle East that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses have spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and strong bone. Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.

"The thing you are trying to help the horse do is to use his own mind. You are trying to present something and then let him figure out how to get there." - Tom Dorrance [1]

"When people think of natural horsemanship that could mean a lot of things. It isn't natural for a horse to be around people, and it's not natural for a person to be sitting on him either. When we use these words we speak about what's natural for the horse to do within his own boundaries" - Bill Dorrance [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn</i> novel by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, the narrator of two other Twain novels and a friend of Tom Sawyer. It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Unity Church

Unity, known informally as Unity Church, is a New Thought Christian organization that publishes the Daily Word devotional publication. It describes itself as a "positive, practical Christianity" which "teach[es] the effective daily application of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ" and promotes "a way of life that leads to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind."

Vaquero craft

The vaquero is a horse-mounted livestock herder of a tradition that originated on the Iberian Peninsula. Today the vaquero is still a part of the doma vaquera, the Spanish tradition of working riding. The vaquero traditions developed in Mexico from methodology brought to Mesoamerica from Spain and became the foundation for the North American cowboy. The vaqueros of the Americas were the horsemen and cattle herders of Spanish Mexico, who first came to California with the Jesuit priest Eusebio Kino in 1687, and later with expeditions in 1769 and the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition in 1774. They were the first cowboys in the region.

Tom Pickard is a poet, and documentary film maker who was an important initiator of the movement known as the British Poetry Revival.

<i>The Horse Whisperer</i> (film) 1998 film by Robert Redford, Patrick Markey

The Horse Whisperer is a 1998 American drama film directed by and starring Robert Redford, based on the 1995 novel The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. Redford plays the title role, a talented trainer with a remarkable gift for understanding horses, who is hired to help an injured teenager and her horse back to health following a tragic accident.

D. Wayne Lukas American horse trainer

Darrell Wayne Lukas is an American horse trainer and a U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee. He holds the record for the most Triple Crown race wins with fourteen, has won twenty Breeders' Cup races, received five Eclipse Awards for his accomplishments, and his horses have won 25 year-end Eclipse Awards.

Longeing A technique for training horses, where a horse is asked to work at the end of a lunge line.

Longeing or lungeing is a technique for training horses, where a horse is asked to work at the end of a lunge line and respond to commands from a handler on the ground who holds the line. It is also a critical component of the sport of equestrian vaulting. Longeing is performed in a large circle with the horse traveling around the outside edge of a real or imaginary ring with the trainer in the middle.

<i>Death Hunt</i> 1980 film by Peter R. Hunt

Death Hunt is a 1981 action film directed by Peter R. Hunt. The film stars Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Carl Weathers, Maury Chaykin, Ed Lauter and Andrew Stevens. Death Hunt was a fictionalized account of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) pursuit of a man named Albert Johnson. Earlier films exploring the same topic were The Mad Trapper (1972), a British made-for-television production and Challenge to Be Free (1975).

Hackamore type of animal headgear which does not have a bit, but it has a special type of noseband that works on pressure points on the face, nose, and chin

A hackamore is a type of animal headgear which does not have a bit. Instead, it has a special type of noseband that works on pressure points on the face, nose, and chin. It is most commonly associated with certain styles of riding horses.

Mare female horse

A mare is an adult female horse or other equine.

The Horseman's Word, also known as the Society of Horsemen, is a fraternal secret society operating in Britain for those who work with horses. Established in north-eastern Scotland during the early nineteenth century, in ensuing decades it spread both to other parts of Scotland and south into Eastern England. Although having largely declined by the mid-twentieth century, the society continues to exist in a diminished capacity within parts of Scotland.

Caryll Houselander was a lay Roman Catholic ecclesiastical artist, mystic, popular religious writer and poet.

Parelli Natural Horsemanship is a program of natural horsemanship, founded in 1981 by Pat Parelli. The program is headquartered in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Robert M. Miller Veterinarian, Equine Behaviorist, Cartoonist, Author

Robert M. Miller is an equine behaviorist and veterinarian, best recognized for his system of training newborn foals known as imprint training. Miller is also one of the early adopters and promoters of Natural horsemanship. His work is often referred to by natural horsemanship clinicians. He has served as a judge in the annual Road to the Horse competition, and also is a co-founder of the "Light Hands Horsemanship" concept and annual clinic.

John Lyons is an American horse trainer in the field of natural horsemanship. Lyons has been presenting training clinics and horsemanship symposia since 1980, has written several books on horses and horse training, and is the founder of John Lyons' Perfect Horse magazine. He lives and works out of Parachute, Colorado.

Wonder horses

The phrase Wonder Horses refers to the equine companions of cowboy heroes in early Western films. What makes these horses different from others that have appeared on the silver screen is their rise from trusty steed to a genuine screen personality. There have been a number of horses who have enjoyed such fame, often receiving equal or second billing with their human costars.

Tom Bass (horse trainer)

Tom Bass was an American Saddlebred horse trainer. Bass was born into slavery, but became one of the most popular horse trainers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bass trained the influential Saddlebred stallion Rex McDonald, as well as horses owned by Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt, and Will Rogers.


  1. True Unity, First Edition, Word Dancer Press, 2003
  2. True Horsemanship Through Feel, Lyons Press, 2001


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.