35+ Tom Dorrance Quotes

“Horsemanship is an art, a dance of understanding and connection that extends beyond the reins and the saddle. This ancient bond between humans and horses has been celebrated and studied for centuries, but few have delved as deeply into its nuances as Tom Dorrance. Renowned as a pioneer of ‘natural horsemanship,’ Dorrance’s philosophy was not just about riding or training, but about forging a genuine partnership with the horse. His teachings emphasize empathy, patience, and intuitive communication, underscoring the profound lessons that horses can teach us about ourselves and our world. The following quotes, inspired by Dorrance’s wisdom, offer glimpses into the heart and soul of this timeless dance, revealing the depth of understanding possible when one truly connects with a horse.”

  1. “Take the time it takes, so it takes less time.”
  2. “Be as gentle as possible, but as firm as necessary.”
  3. “The horse is a reflection of the rider’s ability.”
  4. “You need to do less sooner; you’re always doing a little too much, a little too late.”
  5. “Try to do the least you can do and have it mean the most to the horse.”
  6. “When the horse and the rider are truly one, there are no obstacles that can’t be overcome.”
  7. “It’s not about making the horse learn, but letting him learn.”
  8. “The horse knows when you know and knows when you don’t know.”
  9. “If you use force, you might get something done, but it’s not a partnership.”
  10. “Feel what the horse is feeling and operate from where the horse is.”
  11. “To help the horse through something he doesn’t understand, you need to get a feel of the horse, and he needs to get a feel of you.”
  12. “You need to turn loose, as much as the horse does.”
  13. “Get with the horse, try to see, feel, and think like a horse.”
  14. “You can’t teach feel, but you can experience it.”
  15. “Ride the horse, not the equipment.”
  16. “Every horse is unique, just like every person is unique.”
  17. “We start a conversation with a feel, then wait for the horse to answer. The feel becomes a suggestion, request, then it might need to become a demand.”
  18. “You can’t show a young horse too much of the world. But you can show him too fast.”
  19. “If you’re going to have success in teaching a horse, or a child, you’re going to have it because of your approach.”
  20. “Horses teach you a lot, very little of it has to do with horsemanship.”
  21. “There’s no end to learning when it comes to the horse.”
  22. “Approach every horse with an open heart and an open mind.”
  23. “The best tool in working with a horse is understanding.”
  24. “The soft feel you’re looking for in a horse begins in your own body.”
  25. “A horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care.”
  26. “The best trainers listen more to their horses than they talk to them.”
  27. “There’s no room for ego when you’re working with a horse.”
  28. “The answer isn’t in the bit, the spurs, or the whip; it’s in the relationship.”
  29. “Your horse can only be as relaxed as you are.”
  30. “When you listen to your horse, you’re hearing more than just his hooves.”
  31. “A good horseman doesn’t prevent problems; he prevents the cause of the problems.”
  32. “Horsemanship begins with partnership, not dominance.”
  33. “The truest communication with a horse is often silent.”
  34. “The key isn’t just to get the horse’s feet moving, but to get his mind engaged.”
  35. “The best lessons are those the horse gives us.”
  36. “Every moment with a horse is an opportunity for a dialogue, not a monologue.”
  37. “Each horse brings a lesson in humility, patience, and understanding.”
  38. “Your horse isn’t a tool; he’s a partner.”
  39. “When you respect the horse, the horse respects you.”
  40. “True horsemanship isn’t just about riding; it’s about understanding.”
  41. “Connection with a horse is more than reins and ropes; it’s the language of the heart.”
  42. “Every horse has a lesson to teach; it’s up to us to listen.”
  43. “In the dance of horsemanship, let the horse lead every once in a while.”
  44. “A horse doesn’t follow your commands; he follows your intentions.”
  45. “Understanding a horse is a journey, not a destination.”
  46. “If you want to understand a horse, first understand yourself.”
  47. “With each ride, aim to leave your horse better than when you started.”
  48. “Your hands can control a horse, but your heart creates a partner.”
  49. “Horsemanship isn’t about control; it’s about mutual respect.”
  50. “The greatest tool in training a horse is time.”
  51. “A quiet mind speaks louder to a horse than the loudest voice.”
  52. “When you’re in tune with your horse, the rest of the world fades away.”
  53. “A horse is a mirror to your soul, reflecting back your strengths and weaknesses.”
  54. “Before asking more from your horse, ask more from yourself.”
  55. “In the heart of every horse is a story; the best horsemen take the time to read it.”
  56. “Patience in horsemanship is measured not in minutes or hours, but in the trust you build.”
  57. “The magic of horsemanship is found in the silent moments of understanding.”
  58. “True leadership with a horse isn’t dominance; it’s guiding with empathy.”
  59. “Every challenge with a horse is an opportunity to deepen the bond.”
  60. “To find balance on a horse, one must first find balance within.”


“In the intricate ballet of horsemanship, every movement, every gesture, and every breath carries meaning. Tom Dorrance’s insights illuminate the path for those seeking a deeper, more harmonious relationship with their equine partners. His teachings, rooted in mutual respect and intuitive understanding, transcend traditional training methods, reminding us that true connection arises not from dominance, but from genuine partnership. As we reflect on these profound lessons, it becomes evident that the dance with our equine companions is not just about mastering skills but about embracing a journey of the heart and soul. Through Dorrance’s wisdom, we are invited to see the world through the horse’s eyes, discovering in the process not only the essence of the horse but also the depths of our own humanity.”

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