Calming Signals and Living on the Ulcer Continuum

Forty years ago, we didn’t know about ulcers. Some horses acted crazy and we tried to train them out of it. Colic was the number one killer of horses. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. Then around thirty years ago, we began to recognize and study ulcers. Research papers came out, scopes were invented, … 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

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

Deconstucting Fear with Affirmative Training

  Something is off with your horse, but you can’t tell what. You might be leading him or you might be riding. It could be in a strange place or in your home arena. He isn’t being resistant, but it’s not right. Then he sees something and goes very still. You try to see what … Read more

Affirmative Training and Corrections You Regret.

People tell me that when they’re with their horses, they aren’t always perfect. They sound apologetic, you’d think I wore a clergy collar. Whatever they say after that is drowned out by my ghost herd nickering and snorting, bucking and farting, and rolling around in the mud. The equine afterlife has perfectly placed mud baths … Read more

Edgar Rice Burro on Covid-19 and Physical Distancing (on World Donkey Day)

  Does Covid-19 impact my herd? The email asked, “I wonder if you’ve noticed the quieter world in your horses? Seismologists have been saying for a couple weeks the earth is vibrating less as human activity has been reduced. Air pollution is down in major cities, the water is clear in the Venice canals and … Read more

Photo & Poem: Aged-Out

Aged-out with his horse, he said, like a sell-by date in the grocery store. We all stop riding, just a day at a time until we hit to a wall. Surviving cancer knocked the wind out of him, he said. The pain echoed for days and eventually, his body was forced to answer. He came … Read more

How to Be a Safe Anchor for Your Horse

For us long-timers, if we’ve been lucky, it feels like we’re always standing in a ghost herd. They’re good company but they’re not looking over us so much as being ready if we forget and start to feel a little cocky about knowing much. Then one of the herd will push past and an airy … Read more

A Calming Signal Way of Being

  I have to credit a decent mid-life crisis for changing the course of my horse life. Not that I wanted to change; I had two great horses and we were livin’ the dream, competing like I’d wanted to my whole life, and having fun doing it. I had good friends at the boarding facility … Read more

Affirmative Training and Trust During an Emergency

  You started with horses the same way most of us were taught. You tried to show them who’s boss, not that you ever felt good about it. Maybe you eventually got fed up with fighting. Maybe you saw one too many frightened horses in the hands of aggressive riders. Maybe your horse let you … Read more