Life Coach: The Goat Version

It was a beautiful end-of-summer afternoon, just about feeding time. Cupid had been with us for almost a year by then. He was an elder foster horse having a great summer in that precious way that makes you quiet inside. Cupid never expected much or asked for special treatment. He’d been used hard and not … Read more

Photo & Poem: Holiday Place

  You had a plan for how this would go when you left home. Longing for a thing different than how it was. Maybe a career or a husband. Maybe the perfect sofa because you wanted to rest, blanket around your feet and a tortoise-shell cat like the one when you were a kid, lounging … Read more

Calming Signals and Color: Do Horses Understand Laughter?

  Every week new research comes out, some more ethically tabulated than others, about science proving horses are intelligent; an article about horses reading our facial expressions, or responding differently to human emotion by changing their own facial expressions, or a million other things that come as no surprise to equine long-timers. I think chickens … Read more

Photo & Poem: Tea

  Stomping in the back porch to knock the dirt off my boots, there’s too much wind to work outside on this gray day, clouds hurrying in from the north. I make tea thinking you might be having some about now. Mine has little flavor and the color is wrong. Picking up a book, I … Read more

What is an Ethical Ride?

  We are great horse owners. We love our horses. Some of us compete and some stroll around the pasture, but we’ll own these horses all their days and we want only the best for them. Sadly, we aren’t all great riders. Most of us could improve our hands and do better with our legs. … Read more

Photo & Poem: Goodnight

  Leaning on the gate. Checking water tanks at dusk, one last glance at the herd before heading in. I feel his eyes soft on me, from the far side of the pen, his muzzle deep in hay. Awe, my involuntary response to his beauty. Under my breath, I barely murmur the tall gray’s name … Read more

The Advantage of Less Time

It’s the second big freeze here on the farm and it isn’t even Halloween. Much too early for such polar cold. No autumn colors. The leaves froze to a green-black and high winds stripped the trees in a day. No color at all on this flat windy prairie. The horses don’t care. They have what … Read more

Calming Signals and the Myth of Desensitizing

  This chestnut mare is all that. Alert. Intelligent. Willing. And in possession of the quickest response time of any domestic animal; seven times quicker than us. Each of her senses is better than ours by a good bit, but then we hardly use the senses we do have. We’re so unaware of our surroundings, … Read more

Calming Signals: A Vow of Silence

By now you should snort out loud when someone says their horse is ignoring them. Really, is there a more ridiculous thing to imagine? How could it be possible for a prey animal to ignore anything? Their survival depends on being situationally aware in every moment. You can make fun of a horse for staring … Read more