Training Advice for Horses in the Spring

    “Egads, stand back! It’s spring and all those flighty chestnut Arabians are reactive nut cases. Afraid of everything. Downright dangerous. Whoa, now. Settle down, big fella!” Spring can be an unsettling time. Yes. I take blog requests and this is the big complaint. Really, year-round, but it’s especially fresh with post-hibernation hung-over indignation … Read more

Photo & Poem: Body Voice

One horse flicks his ear, still grazing, another pauses his jaw, his tail still amid flies. The mare lifts her head, intelligent brow above wide nostrils, while the elder gelding keeps his neck low, courting smells wafting on the breeze. A small movement in the distance, awareness passes through the herd, their breath in shallower … Read more

Horsewoman, A Computer Can Smell Your Fear…

  We are horsewomen. We muck 13,505 pounds of manure a year… per horse, and you know we don’t own just one. That doesn’t count stacking hay in small places or wire and twine fence repair. Do the math; we are amazons, we will not be trifled with. When my tech-person was talking about designing … Read more

Photo and Poem: Spring Thaw

  The air hung heavy, strangely moist for a desert prairie. Dense fog as rare as raindrops. The ice on the pond began to sweat; it’s been frozen silent for months but slowly water eased at the shore, the weathered gray ice giving way to a fresh surface to mirror the sky, signaling birds they … Read more

Let Perfection Go. Try Consistency.

Here is a shortlist of the things horses don’t understand: Sarcasm. Exploitation. Shaming. Guilt. Drama. These are human behaviors that come to life in the frontal cortex of our brains. It’s the place we make up stories about ourselves and others. Does some part of us relish drama? Does the idea of a scarlet letter … Read more

Photo & Poem: Two Women

I had the window seat on an early morning flight to Tucson. In the row ahead were two women. I could see through the slender gap between headrests to the dark-haired woman on the aisle. She twisted toward her companion, her eyes animated, so young. Over the headrest, I could just see the crown of … Read more

Riding a Princely Trot

Is your horse uncomfortable in the trot? He might toss his head or maybe his strides are short and choppy. Does he counter bend or feel like he can’t seem to find a rhythm? Maybe he trots that way at liberty out in the pasture but if not, you might have a problem with your … Read more

Photo & Poem: Coyote Run

Ancient mountains send coarse sand and sharp stone down, just pebbles at a time, to leave us unsteady on our feet, before rolling past us, into dry washes rough-cut across this red desert. On the ebb of cool wind, the voices of women, whispers as loud as shouts, are carried on the tongues of coyotes … Read more

Walk, The Queen of Gaits

  Some riders keep to the walk, a sweet sashay that’s almost a lollygag. They want their horse to stay calm, they have anxiety about going faster, or they don’t. They think the walk is the safe gait, maybe the kind gait. Hoping to not disturb the horse, the rider would rather not admit it, … Read more

Photo & Poem: Pride

She has no time for gentle words and soft hands primping her mane. The broad-chested mare may allow a stiff curry in the itchy season, but she would rather throw herself on the ground to rub the loose hair off on a crust of spring snow and cool mud, leaping in air to gallop away, … Read more