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I don't really know where to start on telling my story on the horses and how it has been such a big part of my life... where I grew up I was so lucky to be exposed to some incredible horseman who were kind enough to take me in and share their knowledge and experience with me. It changed my life and I owe them so much and cherish the time I spent with them more than mere words can say. I've been asked by a few to write all this into some kind of book form and I toy with the idea a lot... and really need to do it. But for now I will give a short version.

When I was a teenager I started working for Roy Forzoni. A man who was greatly shaped in his horsemanship approach by Tom Dorrance. Tom really enjoyed helping Roy and did so for many years. They were great friends and it was there I first met Tom and got the opportunity to watch him and work on horseback with him... it was fun.

That led me to Bryan Neubert who got me a job working with him in Nevada at The Spanish Ranch for Bill Kane. Bryan helped me so much and I would go to his parent's house and ride colts with him there too. That also was fun!

I lived with Bill Dorrance at his ranch and he became a major influence on my life... he helped me with the horses, cattle and roping and I would say Bill was the best teacher I ever had. I would always come back to him for more and we remained close friends until he passed. There's so much here that I could write the book about my experiences with Bill and the horses alone.


Cowboying in Montana and Nevada

One highlight was a steer outfit out of Deeth, Nevada — 10,000 steers. The cowboss was Bryan Neubert and the crew included Byran, Joe Wolter, Billy Askew and Troy Tueller. Did I mention we had fun? Wow! Great place to make a dog...we had a bunch there.

Another highlight was Madison River Cattle Co. Mike Thomas was the ranch manager and Ray Hunt had a bunch of horses turned out there... so Ray did quite a few clinics there and in Montana at that time. If there was a Ray Hunt Clinic within 500 miles Mike Thomas would send me and Buck Brannaman, who also worked there, with company horses to start at Ray's clinics. It's been amazing to see what Buck has gone on and done with his life's work and the influence Ray had on him. That was 2 years, 1979 - 1980.

My Horsemanship Clinics

After riding colts for ranches and having a school at my place in Montana... a local gal in Carmel Valley asked me if I could come help her with her horse. She saw me starting a colt with Tom Dorrance at a clinic he held. That led me to start sharing with other interested people some of these things I've learned and am still working on... 16 different states and 6 foreign countries later... dressage horses, jumpers, cowboys, driving horses, trail riders, whatever. The horse is the same everywhere you go, he's looking for the same things, he needs the same things to believe in no matter what he's used for or what part of the world he lives.


So I play music for my living... and still do go help folks with their horses, where they need it and if they are interested. I enjoy it... and I feel I have an obligation to share and pass along what some of these great teachers have given me. I keep my clinics to no more than 6 horses and riders, for no less than 2 days... that way I feel I can actually have the time to get into each horse and rider and really help them on their level, no matter where that is.

You can watch a couple of videos that may give you a better feel for my clinics...

You can also read more about my background and experience in this article from the April 2012 edition of Western Horseman.

Mike and Bill Dorrance
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