Photo & Poem: Midsummer

Midsummer, the mare stands square, hooves flat and neck low, her muzzle faced into the corner of a dark stall, her tail as still as the heat. Do not disturb. Hat brim tilted for hot shade, dragging my feet in small circles, searching dusty bins for one more clamp needed to repair a gate. Water … Read more

Affirmative Training and the Rhythm Method

Remember when you first heard the term The Rhythm Method? I was almost certain it had to do with something bad and music. I was a virgin then, but I was confused about what that word meant as well, because, well, Virgin Mary. Eventually, I found out The Rhythm Method was actually something you don’t … Read more

Photo & Poem: Old Dog

A deliberate old dog pacing the yard fence with gray dreadlocks and a stiff stride. A mixed-breed badly constructed, a heavy body on spindly legs, but no longer content to nap. He has worn a path but remains a bit bewildered, not trusting his eyes or ears, his nose intent on the breeze. The distance … Read more

A Funny Thing Happened During the Euthanasia.

We’ve been having llama line dances here for over twenty years. It happens at dusk and it is boundingly beautiful. The llamas and I have hiked the trails, ground driven in harness, and competed at Llama Agility. Then we turned around and the llamas were the favorite “obstacle” when we did horse agility here on … Read more

Photo & Poem: As if Love

She declared that she loved her horse as if loving took a sort of noble skill rare to our kind. As if loving a horse was a defiant act that few achieve. Excused from the menial tasks of picking hooves and tending wounds, she claimed an instant of shared breath as the proof of her … Read more

Things My Dogs Don’t Care About.

I’m the kind of person who has big dogs. I always have been, not that my dogs care. I have no excuse for my current condition. I was trying to remember the last time I picked out a dog. That’s the thing about making friends with rescuers. Dogs just arrive somehow. Sure, you said yes … Read more

Photo and Poem: Three-Quarter-Ton

  Driving home from the feed store on a back road, easing my foot from the gas pedal, the three-quarter-ton truck coasts slower. Ahead, a teenage girl riding a horse in shorts and a helmet. The tomboy-girl twisted around but dismissed me, only a gray-haired woman in a farm truck. Would she want someone better … Read more

Long Dark Night of the Soul: Colic

Andante’s nickering. I’ve pulled the hay out of his run and swept the mats. He has a baritone voice, a make-out music, bad boy nicker. He drops a hip, under his breath, “Hay, b-baby.” No, he can’t have any for a while. I’d rather have a knife to my neck than see a horse with … Read more

Photo & Poem: Sage Under-hoof

An elder red mare and her rider babysat us as we climbed in and out of ravines, my young horse giddy on the trail, not running but not walking either. Crossing a small pond in leaps, had he ever seen so much unfenced land? His body froze to the shallowest breath, watching a herd of … Read more

Why Training Techniques Don’t Work

  It’s Sunday night and the clinic has ended, but there might be a horse or two that can’t seem to get into the trailer. That isn’t the crazy part. The owner is tired and muttering something about how happy the horse should be to get in the trailer and go home. That part is … Read more