It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing on July 20, 1999 of Bill Dorrance, 93, famous horseman and horsemanship instructor from Salinas, California. Born January 19, 1906, during the homesteading days, he was an active livestock rancher and horseman throughout his entire life. Bill helped people from all over who had trouble with their horses, including Buck Brannaman, a horseman from Sheridan, Wyoming. Bill's straightforward and logical approach to horsemanship was unmatched. His methods were inspirational and enlightening, pointing out the subtle things about people and horses. His encouragement to find a deeper level of insight into our horses and ourselves was, and still is, very refreshing.
At the age of 93, while still an active horseman and rancher, he completed a marvelous literary work with the help of Leslie Desmond, entitled True Horsemanship Through Feel. This comprehensive volume on horsemanship brings a timely message to riders and trainers who work with all breeds and equestrian disciplines, and are searching for an alternative to the conventional techniques that sometimes make use of force and fear to get a horse under control.
Whether it is for show or just for pleasure, Bill's message fits the person who is intent upon finding a way to work with and around horses that truly fits the horse. His approach to horses and people reflects his origins and reveals many important lessons that he had learned from the horses and people in his life. (In issues 3 and 4 we featured a two-part article adapted from this recently released book.) Bill and his ways will live on in this wonderful book.
As Bill himself said, "I've always liked horses and I've always wanted to help them do their job better, whatever it was they had to do. I'm happy to share what I've learned. When you've passed on, especially, it's always nice to leave something useful for others."
He was truly a great man and will surely be missed.