Horsenetwork.com - Full Article
by Tim Hayes
April 27 2017
In 1996 I participated in a Natural Horsemanship clinic given by the late Tom Dorrance.
Even though he was a cowboy, well over half of his students rode English. Tom was a creator of miracles when it came to helping people with their horse problems (he called them: “people problems”). His message was simple: “humans and horses need to get along better.”
Tom was not only acknowledged as a great horseman but the father of a revolution in horse training…what is now referred to as Natural Horsemanship.
When the clinic was over I asked Tom what books he would recommend I read. I was expecting him to say a book with a title like, “Lessons From The Ranch.” Instead he simply said read Dressage by Henry Wynmalen. I had heard of dressage. I knew riders with English saddles practiced it. However, it was the last thing I thought a California cowboy would know about much less be recommending.
In the spring of 2001 I attended Equitana USA in Louisville Kentucky.
It was a four-day event held in two buildings each the size of New York’s Madison Square Garden. One was totally devoted to English, the other Western. On the fourth day, I listened to a wonderful talk on the benefits achieved in competitive equine events with something called Cross Training by a 28-year-old rodeo star named Ty Murray.
Two years before Ty had received the award of World Champion All Around Cowboy. It was the seventh time he received it. No one has ever done it since. Ty began his talk by saying: “When I began training for the rodeo, I realized that at 5’8” and 150lbs, there was no way I could ever control a 2,000 lb. bull. But I could learn to control myself and how I reacted and responded to them.”
Ty went on to say that he began to practice martial arts and use a trampoline to master his equine reflexes and balance. He called it “cross training.”
As I listened to Ty, I thought back to Tom Dorrance recommending I study and practice Dressage. I began to think that maybe one way to become good at one sport was to practice a different sport that has similar physical skills. I remembered years ago reading an article about professional football players who used ballet exercises in their practice to improve their agility...
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