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

Horses and Common Sense.

Not long after I moved to the farm, a friend brought her two young kids out. We all walked the pens, petting and learning the names of llamas and goats. Were both boys younger than four? I saddled up my safest horse and climbed on. The horse was tall, and it was a hoist as … Read more

Photo & Poem: Soundness

Centering myself behind the horse as he walks away, bent forward with my hands on my knees, staring his hips for unevenness. Listening to his footfalls. Knowing he isn’t quite right, I follow a few steps behind. He’s off but it doesn’t show every stride. The gelding knows I’m watching and the awareness changes his … Read more

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

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