Tom Dorrance has been named as one of the founding fathers of what is known as the "Natural Horsemanship" movement. It is due to his teachings that we have a lot of our top horsemen and women of today such as Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman and the Parellis etc...who all credit him, and his kind and gentle horse philosophy, as pivotal to their horsemanship journeys, and after studying him for the last ten years I couldn't agree more.
Tom was a truly remarkable man that was ahead of his time in all areas when it came to horses. He was born in 1910, at a time where men were stoic, and hard, and showing very little emotion was the favoured behaviour, and coupled with this where the horse was everything....as not only were horses often mans form of transport at that time, but they were our farming aids too pulling ploughs and moving produce etc..., as well as so much more.
Despite all the benefits the horse bestowed upon mankind at this time, most people still treated horses very harshly back then, , using them as tools with fear and domination playing first fiddle to their training.
So bear that in mind when you think on how much of a challenge to the "normal" thinking of most horse people of the age Tom Dorrance would have been with his kind and gentle approach to capturing the horse's mind rather than dominating his body.
Tom , who was a small man at just 5ft6' tall and of slight stature, was often ridiculed and heckled for his gentle approach, and I sympathise so much with what he had to endure to get his message across to help the horse, as even in this modern day and age , I can say first hand it can still be a ordeal persuading people that the carrot approach is better than the stick approach, when it comes to our equine friends, though thankfully the majority of people I meet are more open minded to humane and gentle teachings with horses now, which we can part thank Tom Dorrance for.
Another thing a lot of people aren't aware of is that Tom lived a very frugal life, as despite his undisputed talents for understanding horses, and turning even the most challenging equine into a partner and co operative friend, he never exploited his gifts for personal gain. In fact he was quite the opposite, as he rarely even charged for his wisdom with horses, saying that helping the horse was all he needed as his reward :)
After a long and happy life with horses, Tom sadly passed away in 2003 at the ripe old age of 93, and yet even 13 years on his legacy still reigns on.
I for one want to thank this amazing man for all he did for horses.