Top Banner
In this issue: Burning Questions 2 That Thought Thing 3 Trails, Tears & Thoughts 5 Happenings in Harry-ville 6 Harry Whitney’s website has gotten a makeover ! Please take a peek to enjoy new features and the very-Harry “Bunkhouse Wall.” Word of warning, however, it is only the website that got a makeover. Harry can still be found in the same straw hat you saw him in last week, last year...well, last time you saw him. gets makeover  This newsletter is an all-volunteer effort designed to reflect the horsemanship approach taught by Harry Whitney. While Harry will offer his thoughts and ideas, he does not take personal responsibility for the content of student contributions.     T    h    e    A    l    l      v    o    l    u    n    t    e    e    r     n    e    w    s    l    e    t    t    e    r     S    u    p    p    o    r    t    i    n    g     t    h    e    h    a    r    r    y     W    h    i    t    n    e    y     h    o    r    s    e    m    a    n    s    h    i    p    C    o    m    m    u    n    i    t    y     B    e    t    w    e    e    n    T    h    e    R    e    i    n    s Disclaimer  Spring, 2012  Further along the trail is released!  Equestrian author and journalist, Tom Moates, returns with more lively and thought provoking adventures in his ongoing odyssey to improve his horsemanship with the patient teaching of his mentor and friend, celebrated horsemanship clinician, Harry Whitn ey. This anticipated follow-up to Between the Reins digs deeper into understanding Whitney’s great skill at seeing things from the horse’s point of view through Moates’ own trials. Familiar characters return to the page al ongside new folks and horses, as Moates reveals the latest lessons he has gleaned from clinics across North America, horses at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and other equine experi- ences encountered Further Along the Trail . www.tommoa for ordering information.

BTR Spring 2012

Apr 05, 2018



Sarah O'Brien
Welcome message from author
This document is posted to help you gain knowledge. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about it! Share it to your friends and learn new things together.
Page 1: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 1/7

In this issue:

Burning Questions  2 

That Thought Thing  3 

Trails, Tears & Thoughts  5 Happenings in Harry-ville  6 

Harry Whitney’s website has gotten a makeover! Please take a peek to enjoy new 

features and the very-Harry “Bunkhouse Wall.”

Word of warning, however, it is only the website that got a makeover. Harry can still be found

in the same straw hat you saw him in last week, last year...well, last time you saw him. 

W w w . h a r r y w h i t n e y . c o m g e t s m a k e o v e r  

This newsletter is an all-volunteer effort 

designed to reflect the horsemanship 

approach taught by Harry Whitney. While 

Harry will offer his thoughts and ideas, he 

does not take personal responsibility for the content of student contributions. 

   T   h   e

   A   l   l  -   v   o   l   u   n   t   e

   e   r 

   n   e   w

   s   l   e   t   t   e   r 

   S   u   p   p   o

   r   t   i   n   g 

   t   h   e

   h   a   r   r   y 


   h   i   t   n   e   y 

   h   o   r   s   e   m

   a   n   s   h   i


   C   o   m   m

   u   n   i   t   y


   B   e   t   w   e   e   n

   T   h   e   R   e   i   n   s

D i s c l a i m e r  S p r i n g , 2 0 1 2  

F u r t h e r a l o n g t h e t r a i l i s r e l e a s e d !  Equestrian author and journalist, Tom Moates, returns withmore lively and thought provoking adventures in his ongoingodyssey to improve his horsemanship with the patient teachingof his mentor and friend, celebrated horsemanship clinician,Harry Whitney. This anticipated follow-up to Between the Reins digs deeper into understanding Whitney’s great skill at seeingthings from the horse’s point of view through Moates’ owntrials. Familiar characters return to the page alongside newfolks and horses, as Moates reveals the latest lessons he hasgleaned from clinics across North America, horses at home inthe Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and other equine experi-ences encountered Further Along the Trail . for ordering information.

Page 2: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 2/7

Dear Harry-ville,

I have just returned from a

tour of the east — Moscow to

Shanghai to Phenom Penh to

Saigon and back home to DC.

My horse-friends are never

far and in Cambodia they had

a small breed of pony that was used primarily for hauling

 goods and people. As I watched one man put his pony into a

small stable at the back of his home I was impressed by the kind

nature of them both. But most impressive, was how the pony 

calmly walked into his small paddock appearing no worse for

the wear, in spirit or demeanor, after being unhitched from his

cart. Made me think of a Harry-ism, ‘perhaps our goal should

be to leave them feeling no worse than when we took them out

of the pasture this morning.’ Even on another continent, I still

have Harry’s voice in my head and his lessons close to my 


I leave for Tennessee in a few weeks to enjoy some oppressive

heat, laughter and friends. Maybe learn a few more lessons

about horses, too.

With joy,

Sarah O’Brien, Editor

L e t t e r f r o m t h e E d i t o re t t e r f r o m t h e E d i t o r  

Burning Questions 

Q: An instructor told a student that her horse was

"disobedient". Would some of you old timers comment on

this if you have time?

-Georgia on my Mind

Dear Georgia,

The concept of disobedience assumes there is fore

knowledge of right and wrong behavior and that a choice

is made to behave badly. Horses don't see things that way 

- they don't have the ability to judge between right and

wrong. Horses see the world as a variety of choices that

are either going to work out well- or not so well. If a

horse makes a choice it is because, to the horse, that

choice is the best choice available. It may not seem that

way to the human, but for one reason or other, in the

horses mind, it's the best choice.

Rather than make a value judgment and characterizing a

horse's behavior in a pejorative way, it would be more

productive to ponder what the human could do to help a

horse make the choice the human desires. I think often

horses have no idea what a person is asking. They just do

what they think the person wants them to do, or they do

what they think is best for their own welfare. Today, I

understand characterizing a horse as disobedient doesn't

help me or the horse. If things don't work out the way I

thought they should, I ask myself what I can do to help the

horse understand what I want, and I find ways to help

make it easy for the horse to do what I want.

Moscow in the spring 

 Answer courtesy of Rita Riddile, a

long-time student of Harry and the


She and her husband, Andrew, live

on a peaceful farm in St. Leonard,

MD where learning is encouraged 

and fostered:

Page 3: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 3/7

That Thought Thing by: Tom Moates

This amazing horsemanship journey I’m undertaking (althoughsometimes I’m pretty sure it’s undertaking me) leads me to some

quite profound connections in life. One is the interaction I enjoywith readers who have found my writing helpful, or at least enter-taining. Every once in awhile one even learns about Harry and his

clinics through my books or essays.Linda Davenport is one of these folks. Linda’s story is

exceptional to me in part because she had the great fortune tobegin her horsemanship journey years ago, and it included sub-stantial exposure to two of the most respected horsemen ever:Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. She attended clinics with both of them (even clinics with the two of them together) and has workeddiligently for a good chunk of her life to get better with horses,putting what she has learned over the years into practice.

Linda corresponded with me after reading my books, AHorse’s Thought and Between the Reins. A year or two later she went

and rode with Harry. I’m grateful she agreed to continue e-mailing me to share some of her thoughts andexperiences both during and then follow-ing her first clinic with Harry. I findher impressions are unique because shealready was well versed from first handexperience in the horsemanship of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt and hadbeen actively pursuing getting betterwith her horses — a time span of 25years or more, so a very serious horse-woman — yet, she had no previous experi-

ence with Harry.

Linda has agreed to let me share some of the impressionsshe had and e-mailed to me. Other than deleting entire lines of extraneous exclamation points (!!!!!), the quotes are as she putthem down.

“As for Lily and me and the ‘dust clearing,’ wow, wow,and wow again!” Linda exclaimed in the first post-clinic e-mail. “What an amazing breakthrough. I have to keep checkingto make sure I'm riding the same horse! I feel like she's feeling,‘Thank God you now 'get it,' so now I don't have to worry aboutanything anymore.’ She's just like butter, really. She just exudespeace. I don't know how else to explain it. She feels good in-side! She looks at me different. When she sees me she just getsthis wonderful, soft, mushy look on her face and she stares atme. If I die tomorrow, I will die a very happy person, having ac-complished something I've been chasing all my life! Thank you,Harry Whitney!” 

Okay, so Linda is a little excited here. But what struckme when I read this e-mail from her is that this very strong posi-tive reaction is coming from a woman who has worked seriouslyfor more than a couple decades at actively improving her horse-

manship. It grabbed my curiosity that in a single clinic she hadsuch a profound breakthrough, especially one she had been chas-ing for many years. I bugged her for more details of just whatwent on to get her this joyful.

And here’s a whole letter that gets deeper into it: 

Hi Tom,

I NEED to tell you a couple of things that have absolutely amazed me

since attending Harry's clinic in Montana!

I continue to be beyond grateful and completely blown away by what I'm

discovering with my horses since the dawning of "teaching a horse to leave

a thought!”  

 Just briefly, THE SOFTNESS that's there. I've been getting a "soft feel"  for, what, at least 25 years. It's NOT THE SAME THING! Getting a

soft feel is "mechanical." The soft feel that

comes through automatically when you have

a horse's thought, well, how can I explain

it — it's a thousand times softer! Wow,

wow and wow again! It is really unbelieva-

ble how good they feel when they are that

"with you."

I just got back from challenging myself and 

Lily to riding in a place waaaaay out of 

"our" comfort zone. It's a trail that runs alonga river that is thick forest with lots of underbrush. In addition, that par-

ticular area is known as "Fruitvale" because of the wild apple, pear and 

nectarine trees that grow there. There are an inordinate number of bears

that frequent that area, as evidenced by the frequent bear sightings and 

bear dung every 20 feet or so alongside the trail. So, I can imagine that

with the horse's sense of self-preservation, sense of smell for wild creatures,

etc., it is a place they would most certainly be on "high alert." Of course,

Lily's thought would go here or there along the trail, but I was right there

with her and could bring that thought back immediately. It was amazing

how soft she would immediately get and how calm she would become when

her thought would come back to me . . . like butter. She never got tight

once through her body. A first, a real first!

My only regret, why didn't I get this a long time ago!

God Bless!

Linda Davenport 

...Continued page 4

The soft feel that comes through

automatically when you have a

horse's thought, well, how can I 

explain it — it's a thousand 

times softer!

Page 4: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 4/7

Then Linda shared an example with a very different kind of horse she has.

“I have also been working with Lily's full sister (Sunshine, age8),” She wrote.  “They are night and day in many respects, but

the most amazing thing withSunshine is — and I did talk toHarry about this — she's a veryconfident horse, a very boldhorse, and mentally a verystrong horse, with definitethoughts of her own. In otherwords, an issue I've always hadwith her is, if you don't keepyour focus with her, she'll takeover in a nano-second! If you

ask for one step, before you feelher foot leave the ground,you've got three steps. Do youknow what I mean?

“I have to really tonedown my thoughts and aids forher, or you get toomuch. Anyway, I've discoveredwith Sunshine that her head isFULL OF THOUGHTS NONSTOP,and, generally speaking, her thoughts

are waaaaay ahead. If her feet can't get up with her thoughts,then she gets crooked, again in a nano-second. This isespecially evident when I ask for the canter/lope. If youconfine her at the lope, she bunches up and gets terriblycrooked because her thoughts are waaay ahead; yet, if you askher for the lope and don't confine her, she's straight as anarrow and soft.

“Playing with her thoughts has just had amazingresults! In fact, I just got back from a 1-1/2 hour ride withSunshine, and, for the first time ever (just as a simpleexample), she did not dive-bomb for a bite of food along the

way. She's so darn quick, that it was always hard to catch herbefore she did that, but now she's more focused on where Iam. I purposefully rode in the tallest grass I could find alongthe way, and kept asking for her thoughts. Just amazing!

“Like I said, THIS IS JUST IMMENSE, this thoughtthing!” 

This thought thing, seems to be what connected thedots of horsemanship for Linda. It was the missing linkbetween the many pieces she had worked with to build abetter relationship with horses — those parts certainly would

be things like picking up a soft feel, knowing right where allyour horse’s feet are when riding, and timing releases justright. All those kinds of things are certainly aspects of gettingbetter with horses, but I really believe that if you get a horse’s

thought with you, then you get all those things and everythingelse besides. The particularscan be a by-product of a horsethat is truly with you. Get thehorse’s thought with you andbe able to direct that, andyou’ve got the whole horseright at your fingertips.

It is Harry’s uniquepersonal understanding of thisand his willingness to try and

impart it to others, that gets tothe very core of bettering therelationship andcommunications betweenhorses and humans.

“It is so interesting tome, having been skirtingaround the outside precipice of this ‘thought thing’ for quite a

while now,” Linda said, “and nowactually falling over the edge and seeing

it with my own two eyes and, consequently, feeling it with mywhole being. Ahhh, the layers of the proverbial onion!” 

Ahh, those layers indeed!

T h o u g h t T h i n g , c o n t ’ d .h o u g h t T h i n g , c o n t ’ d .  

“This is a picture of this formerly-fractious horse calmlydragging one of my fellow participants on a sled asif she had done that every day of her life!” Linda sharesabout this photo. “For the record, there was a doe andfawn hiding in the trees just ahead of us, and Lily neverfaltered a step!” (Nick Davenport) 

This is an excerpt from Tom’s new book “Further

Along the Trail” ( page one).

Tom Moates and his wife,Carol, live in Floyd, VA

with an assortment of horses

and solar power to ensure

there is never a dull mo-


Page 5: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 5/7

Tom Moates' latest book arrived in my mailbox today. During a fastmoving torrential downpour this afternoon, I was given the neededtime out to open it up and start reading. Tom has a way of makingHarry's words come alive in a powerful and inspiring way. I took amoment after reading the opening pages and the first chapter to hop

skip and jump my way through a few of the chapters. I stopped afterreading about how we can set up a horse to search.

The storm had passed and the sun had returned. I pulled on my bootsand headed out to see which horse would greet me at the paddock gate.I had my halter in hand, I waited at the gate, eyeing Redman, Spirit andAri. I looked at the fresh piles of manure calling my name to be pickedup and put in the wheelbarrow. I brought my mind back to my bodyand watched Ari approach me. No surprise there, Ari is a curious-in-your-face horse always anxious to see "what is in it it for him". Iremember a couple of years ago Harry saying in so many words thatwhen something was Ari's idea life was good for Ari. I have seen theflip side of this, lived it for years, Ari is often one not to feel good aboutsomething that is not his idea.

"Training horses is discovering a communication appropriate for eachindividual horse whereby we can most agreeably influence their thoughtto believe that they are desirous to do the very things we know we wantto do" - Harry Whitney (Introduction page ix in the new book Further Along

The Trail by Tom Moates)

How do I get my idea to become Ari's? As I stepped into the paddockwith my rope halter in hand, I thought about the feeling in me that Iknow Ari would feel when I presented the halter to him. Would helower his head and accept the halter? Would he grab at it with hismouth, would he get a dull eye and maybe turn away? How would Imake the simple process of haltering this horse something that would

feel right and good between us? My thoughts went over; taking thetime it takes, being clear, being confident, having a softness in me. Arilowered his head for me to put the halter on....

I lead him around the puddles and headed to the round pen. He wasforward in his thinking ready to get in the pen. I had grabbed some flyspray to spray him and rub it on his ears and around his eyes (flies areterrible right now). I closed the gate removed his halter and sprayedhim. He was all for this. I walked off to the middle of the pen andpicked a panel in the shady side to go climb on. Would he come withme, would he busy his mind with other thoughts in an effort to avoidme? Would he get uptight feeling the pressure of being askedsomething that was not his idea? As I was heading towards the panelmoving away from him, tears welled up in my eyes and there was a

hitch in my breathing as I thought about how important this horse is tome, how much I want things to be right between us. How much he is amirror to me. I sucked it up and climbed up on the panel to wait andsee how he felt about our time together.

He meandered around half heartedly checking out some grass sprouts,he looked off into the empty field next to us. I sat there and thoughtabout what it is I was offering to him, an invisible thread that said, “HeyI am a good deal” or one that said, “Crazy human steer clear at all costs.”Ari was very aware of me, but eventually I did let the lead rope dropagainst the metal panels softly as a request for him to consider me. He

looked over at me and came over. I scratched his itchy ears and climbeddown on the outside of the pen and walked to another panel. Hefollowed along on the other side. I climbed up and sat with him. I didthis a few more times, I climbed into the pen and noticed how andwhen my touch felt good to him or felt like an annoyance to him. I put

the halter on him. I thought long and hard about how sensitive thishorse was and how he very much resented being asked with too muchpressure when less would do. I played around with backing him fromenergy in my body to just a slight feel on the lead. I found his tippingpoint, when the pressure was more than he needed. I kept going backto what was it in me that I was offering to this horse. I found within methe importance of offering him clarity and confidence.

I backed him to the gate then asked him to stay ground tied while Iopened the gate and tied it back so it would stay open. Then I backedhim out of the gate, took his halter off and he followed me down to theyard gate. Overall the entire backing exercise was soft and thoughtful.Moments of his “un-okay-ness” drifted in and out of him, a stomp with ahind foot, his head moving towards me, these moments were justmoments of information, he was trying to communicate to me the onlyway he knew how. I could not take those moments personally. I let himknow I recognized his miniscule “fitties,” and I offered to him the onlything I knew to offer him, that it was truly ok between us, that wecould do these tiny things together that I was not going to ignore hisangst, but instead I was going to help him. (Every day when I go out tothis horse I feel like I have to put my big girl boots on and know thatexpanding my comfort zone has a great capacity to increase my personalpower. Some days, those boots stay by the porch door and I go findanother horse to play with....)

There are times when my idea will be the one he has to go with, no if ands or buts. Though right now I feel like this experimenting on

helping Ari discover the good deal with/in me (I have long been a notso good deal for this horse) may lead me to a better understanding onhow to get this horse operating in a way that feels good for both of us.Ari in many ways is still an enigma but I am also discovering he hasmany gifts to share with me along this journey.

I have found a young woman who is willing to accept my tutelage andride Ari, it should make for an interesting summer!

Amazing what reading a few pages of Tom's new book leads to!

T r a i l s , T e a r s & T h o u g h t sr a i l s , T e a r s & T h o u g h t sr a i l s , T e a r s & T h o u g h t s b y : K a t h y D a v i s B a k e ry : K a t h y D a v i s B a k e ry : K a t h y D a v i s B a k e r  

Kathy is the moderator of 

What Would the Horse have

us Do (WWHD)? A Yahoo!

Group for followers of Har-

ry. To subscribe: WWHD-

Page 6: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 6/7


H a p p e n i n g s i n H a r r ya p p e n i n g s i n H a r r ya p p e n i n g s i n H a r r y - v i l l ei l l ei l l e  


CLINIC SCHEDULE:  July 28 - 31, 2012 - 4 day clinic.

 Auditors welcome.

Hosted by: Suzy FitzSimmons in Eagle

Lake, MN

Contact: for

available openings and directions.

Special guest, author Tom Moates, will be attending

the MN clinics this year!


August 4 –7, 2012 For more informaon: 


Page 7: BTR Spring 2012

8/2/2019 BTR Spring 2012 7/7 the reins

Between the


Dates of the week-long camps:

MAY 21

MAY 28

 JUNE 11

 JUNE 18

First three weeks are full and we are filling the

week of June 18th (and beyond, if needed).

Additional info:

Have a Harry related event you would

like featured? Please send an email

with the details and photos, if available,


HARRY WHITNEY will be back, of course.

As always, we are so pleased to be involved in

these intensive week-long camps. If you are

looking for lots of one-on-one hands on

assistance with plenty of time for questions and

discussion, this is a wonderful experience.

This year, Harry will also do a DEMO before

the actual clinics start. Though we have a

strong crew of serious and dedicated students,

we are hoping that some of the more local

folks will take this opportunity to see what allour enthusiasm is about.

DEMO Saturday, May 19th from

8:45 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Harry will work

with one young horse and one riding horse.

$15 fee includes demo and discussion period.

U p c o m i n g E v e n t s i n T e n n e s s e e  

The Harry Whitney 



Harry Whitney 

Mailing address