Home The Eclectic Horseman Mercantile Horse Training DVDs Fundamentals Visits with Tom – Learning to Ride with Feel, Timing and Balance

Visits with Tom – Learning to Ride with Feel, Timing and Balance


SKU: D1570 Category:
Resources/Tom Dorrance

Product Description

This is the DVD that not only shows Toms knowledge, but his personality and his humor. Tom would always try to encourage people not to just ride mechanically but as he would express it, “Feel the whole horse”.

I think this new DVD captures this important element of his work and is a wonderful example of feeling the whole horse. — Margaret Dorrance

The contents of this DVD present the work of Tom Dorrance, an extraordinary gifted horseman.

Table of Contents:

Disc 1

Directing the Energy

Directing the Energy
Life in the Feet
In Time with the Feet
Standing Still
Using Your Legs and Feet
Head for the Wall
Making the Final Decision
Feel the Whole Horse

Using the Tires and the Bridge
Around the Tires
Across the Center
Criss Cross
Tom Talks About Ray Hunt
Across the Bridge
Tires Again

Feel, Timing & Balance

Slowing Down and Stopping
Tom’s Close Up
Starting and Stopping

Disc 2

A Little Biography

Family Working with Horses
Wade Saddle
The Mystery

True Unity

Reading True Unity
Corral Fence
Pressure Part 1
Pressure Part 2
Soaking In
Having a Job

Reflections and Poems

Recommending Someone
Do You really Want Help?
Judgement Day
Riding Schools
End Credits

Directing the Energy

In this segment Tom helps his friend and student, John Saint Ryan, to bring the life up in a horse’s body and keep it directed. The mare that John brought to the session was one that he found particularly challenging to get along with. She would bite and kick on the ground, and buck and rear under saddle. Under Tom’s careful instruction, this mare becomes much more willing and at ease with her rider.

Remember that Tom never wasted any words. His words are full of meaning and as time goes on you’ll find that they’ll carry deeper wisdom every time you hear them.

Filmed July 1999.

Feel the Whole Horse

Tom had some unusual methods to help horse and rider find unity. Here you’ll see the use of two items: the tires and bridge. It’s important to remember that these items are merely teaching aids. As Tom says, “it’s about getting those feet where you want them to go.”

These exercises have several potential benefits – it builds confidence and better balance in the horse, and the rider learns to place the horse’s feet. At this point, the rider has a large responsibility not to over-expose the horse and destroy that confidence.

Tom also shares a story about Ray riding Hondo and how he got the pair to start thinking down to their feet.

Feel, Timing & Balance

Here John Saint Ryan brings two rather different horses to the arena for Tom’s help. While both are easy enough to ride, one is heavy on the reins and the other does not start or stop particularly well. Watch as John works to find the correct feel to offer, best time to ask, and the precise balance between the two.

In a separate interview, Tom also elaborates on how to follow a foot to the ground and discusses what that might be like. Focus on how Tom presents his way of working. Realize that it’s not about fixing up that one thing; it’s about understanding the approach to fixing up many things.

Filmed September 2002.

A Little Biography

Tom visits about his early days, growing up on the ranch and family life. He gives a little insight into his ancestry, which traces its roots back to Ireland and France. The youngest of eight children, Tom credits his parents for allowing him the freedom to experiment and explore, which later on shaped Tom’s way of presenting himself to the horse.

At one point in his travels Tom was a neighbour to Cliff Wade, the man credited with the development of the wade saddle. Tom shares some of the history of the wade saddle and its origins.

True Unity

Fifteen years after its initial publication, John Saint Ryan interviews Tom about his book True Unity. The book is rich in meaning and holds many answers – it just takes time to find it. Every time you read it you’ll discover new meaning behind Tom’s words. Here John reads some excerpts and asks Tom to elaborate on what is written. They discuss topics such as:

Preparing to position for the rein back
Putting pressure on the horse
Straightness in the horse
Soaking in the mind
Having a job and fixing it up so the horse can learn

Important Viewer Note:
There are a few places where the audio track may vary in volume.
Two disk set, total running time 135 minutes

Please enjoy a Preview of the DVD!

The following poems were recited by Tom:

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Judgment Day
Once I dreamt while I was sleepin’
That the earth had passed away,
And the Boss of all Creation
Made a work on Judgment Day,
There was folks of every color
There was folks of every breed
And they cut’ em out in bunches
“Cordin’ to their race and creed.
Top hand angels done the cuttin’
They knowed how to handle things,
Some would change and help the others
While they’d smoke and rest their wings.
And I seed a bunch of fellers
They was holdin’ on the side.
Grazin’ soter loose and easy
And the angels workin’ wide.

He judged and classed the others
By a book of rules he used,
Then he called to an angel
“Now bring on the buckaroos!”
Angels bunched and shoved them forward,
Some surprised but not dismayed.
Amblin’ up to face the judgment
Came that grizzled wild brigade.

Some was young and some was older,
Some walked with a limpin’ stride.
Some still had the high heeled boots on
They were wearin’ when they died.

Each one stood in line to answer
For the way they’d spent their days.
And they faced the Boss of Heaven
With a cool and level gaze.

I turned and asked an angel
Why the judgment book was changed,
That they judged that bunch of cow boys
By the laws that rule the range.
And he answered very solemn
That the reason was because
You can never judge a cow boy
By another person’s law.

Reprinted with permission from Classic Rhymes by Bruce Kiskaddon, Cowboy Miner Productions, 1998

Riding Schools

They say in riding schools
They have a regular book of rules.
The man that wrote the book explains
The way to sit and hold your reins,
And other lessons facts reveal
About your elbows and your heels.
You read and practice then decide,
If you have really learned to ride.
A cow man doesn’t give a care
How you ride just so you’re there
Nor how you hold your hands and feet
The main thing is to hold your seat.
You can learn more from a buckin’ hoss
Than any school you’ll come across.
For you and him can sung decide
What’s underneath each other’s hide.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Visits with Tom – Learning to Ride with Feel, Timing and Balance”