Horses Are Like Bad Boyfriends (Or Why the Wrong Answer Might Be Better)

Horses are like bad boyfriends because they only want to talk about themselves. Wait, let me explain. First of all, it isn’t a pejorative term. I’ve had enough bad boyfriends to know that I prefer them, for many of the same reasons I like bad dogs. Sure, we have to give up having “relationship talks” … Read more

Bit Contradictions: A Confused Conversation

“Slower, please.” “Here we go.” “Don’t bang…” “Almost ready.” “… my teeth.” “Good…” “Not good.” “Stand.” “Let go.” “Back up.” “Whoa.” “Whoa!” “Ouch.” “Stand. “Metal.” “Walk on, but not too fast.” “I can’t balance slow.” “Why so fussy?” “More rein, please.” “I need to feel control.” “I hate feeling controlled.” “We need a different bit.” … Read more

Is Your Horse Mentally Exhausted?

No other animal is quite like a horse; never fully wild and never quite domesticated. Engaged with us but never ours entirely. Some see horses as simple creatures and others of us hold them as a mystery we will never completely solve and we like it that way. In 2012,  a group of prestigious scientists … Read more

There Will Be No Faith Healings Today

  We’ve all seen it. Someone holding a lead rope and hyper-stimulating a young horse with a stick until he shuts down, et voila, a tame horse. Or someone in spurs climbs on a young horse in a round pen, runs him through the gaits, pulls back to get a stop, and hallelujah, a trained … Read more

On The Road for Horses: Adventure, Drama, Dog Hair.

  I hope you didn’t worry I’d get lost. I installed radar and didn’t take a wrong turn. Maybe a few alternate routes… A brief catch-up on my clinic travel. Even with the Covid shutdown, I could only overthink the situation for so long. Why not apply Affirmative Training to my work style? I could … Read more

Our Horses, Ourselves: Simple Steps to Having More Confidence

Want to do a kindness for your horse? Perhaps show your affection in a “love language” that suits horses? Did I just do that? Refer to a nineties self-help book for couples? Yes, let me give you the gist: maybe you want flowers but your partner changes the oil in your truck. Expressing love is … Read more

The Failure of Good Intentions

There was a time that I thought if I saw my horse curled to one side, itching his flank, I should run over and scratch the spot for him. That if I could acknowledge his itch and resolve it, in time I could teach him to show me where he had pain. My work with … Read more

Euthanizing and Herd Anxiety

“I’m wondering if you could address animals and grief in one of your columns. We’ve lost a horse and a dog in the last two months. The horse that was a pasture mate is still occasionally calling for Jake. Lily is really struggling with the loss of Essie Lou. I now see the value of … Read more

How to Focus Simply.

I had just finished a lesson when another woman I knew at the barn came up to me with a sour face. Through pious lips, she said, “Can’t you do something about her hands?” As if finding fault in another somehow confirmed her own brilliance in the saddle. She was referring to the novice rider … Read more

Affirmative Training: Navigating the Nebulous.

“I have a three-step process guaranteed to transform your horse into your perfect partner and it only costs ten thousand dollars!!” How many of you are thinking about what you could sell? And how many of you have fallen for some sort of snake oil training approach in the past and are more than a … Read more