N O T A B L E  Q U O T E S

"We can read about it, we can talk about it, we can sing about it and we can write about it.
Until we actually experience it...we don't have any real understanding." JSR

"It is better to give a lighter aid earlier than a stronger aid later." JSR

"If we can take the time to develop our relationship with the horse, if we can set aside any finite ambition.
Then we can live and ride in THAT MOMENT." JSR



"How wonderful it is to see the joy in the faces of the human and the expression of the horse when their movement becomes as one." JSR

“The rider needs to recognize the horses’ need for self-preservation in Mind, Body and the third factor Spirit…….he needs to realize how the persons approach can assure the horse that he can have his self-preservation and still respond to what the person is asking him to do.” Tom Dorrance

“There’s a time in there; 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 just clear right up.” Tom Dorrance

"Sometimes our self-consciousness gets in the way of our learning, whether we are teaching or being taught. It is important to be concerned with what we are actually doing and not with the 'impression' we are making. If we have any hope of striving for the Art of Horsemanship we need to be free of this feeling of self-consciousness and lose ourselves in the moment." JSR

"Training a horse is above all feeling and trying, according to what you feel, to help the horse and not to force him." Oliveira


"A horse will never tire of a rider who possesses both tact and sensitivity because he will never be pushed beyond his possibilities." Oliveira

“I didn’t use 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 understanding from right in the horses’ innards. Then they could try to figure out the mental and the physical parts. Tom Dorrance

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. No one is going to get this without it coming right out of the inside of themselves. The rest of it has to come from inside the horse. Mind, body and spirit is what we are talking about here.” Tom Dorrance

"Technical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art becomes an artless art, growing out of the unconscious." Daisetsu Suzuki

"Young horses are like young children, they sometimes practice uncivilized behavior. Which if left unchecked may lead to serious dysfunction in later life." JSR

“The important thing is to think about riding the horse straight out – between your hands and your legs. Have the life come straight through his body.” Tom Dorrance

“Before you ever start to reach to ask your horse to do something you should have in mind what you are asking and where you are trying to direct.” Tom Dorrance

"For the young, the practice of equitation is a valuable lesson, as it requires the exercise of all human virtue.

If they are introduced to the practice of riding by understanding and patient teachers, then they too will develop these traits.

The young rider grows to realize the horse is a partner rather than a slave, who also deserves love and understanding." Oliveira

"It is only by rational and calm methods that are never brutal that the horse may become obedient and well balanced." Oliveira

“Sometimes when a horse has had quite a little work and kind of gets up a sweat – I like to just stay on him and while he is cooling out – drying off –just let him kind of be there to explore a little. It’s so much better than if you just unsaddle him hot. I really like to do that if I get a chance.” Tom Dorrance

“When the horse gets to yielding through the back quarters, the front end will be easy.” Tom Dorrance

"You may train for a long, long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning karate is not very different form learning to dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do." - Ginchin Funakoshi


"Centering is a quieting of motion without loss of vitality." Kenneth Beittel

"There is no transference of secrets from master to disciple. Teaching is not difficult, listening is not difficult either, but what is truly difficult is to become conscious of what you have in yourself and be able to use it as your own." Kenneth Beittel

John and Heath Ledger
in the TV series 'ROAR'.

"Do not conquer the world with force,

For force only causes resistance.

Thorns spring up when an army passes.

Years of misery follow a great victory.

Do only what needs to be done,

Without using violence." Lao Tsu

"What is essential is not to tighten the legs during dressage training, but to use them without effort while allowing them to hang softly near the horses' sides. The riders leg must adhere totally to the horse without any muscular contraction, which will insure a supple application of the legs when needed, and to which the horse responds, smoothly without either rigidity or harshness, or in rejecting the action of the riders legs...if the hands harden, they tend to keep the horse from going forward. Only the rider free from any contraction will have a horse equally free. It is this total ease and relaxation that makes the rider as one with his horse, without hindering any movements. Oliveira

“Once the horse gets to responding, then you try to get the response you are asking for with less. You try to cut down what you are applying and get more response with less pressure, until it almost gets to be just a thought.” Tom Dorrance

“Wait for his feet. No matter if you miss your lunch, just hang in there. He is trying to push and get you to yield. He is on his own pressure; you are just fixing it. Don’t try to move his feet. Leave that to him.”
Tom Dorrance

"To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that's out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He's likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he's tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up the trail trying to see what's ahead even when he knows what's ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He's here but he's not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be "here". What he's looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn't want that because it is all around him. Every step's an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant. RM Pirsig

"I'm not sure what a true partnership is between a horse and a human. But a shareholding situation where the human holds 51% and the horse 49% is a wonderful thing." JSR



Tom Dorrance 
  Art of the Garrocha