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

Riding a Princely Trot

Is your horse uncomfortable in the trot? He might toss his head or maybe his strides are short and choppy. Does he counter bend or feel like he can’t seem to find a rhythm? Maybe he trots that way at liberty out in the pasture but if not, you might have a problem with your … Read more

Photo & Poem: Coyote Run

Ancient mountains send coarse sand and sharp stone down, just pebbles at a time, to leave us unsteady on our feet before rolling past us into dry washes, rough cut across this red desert. On the ebb of a cool wind, the whispers of women. Messages of hope and strength carried on the tongues of … Read more

Walk, The Queen of Gaits

  Some riders keep to the walk, a sweet sashay that’s almost a lollygag. They want their horse to stay calm, they have anxiety about going faster, or they don’t. They think the walk is the safe gait, maybe the kind gait. Hoping to not disturb the horse, the rider would rather not admit it, … Read more

Escalation: Finding the Thing Before the Thing.

It feels like you wake up in the middle of a movie, one of those thriller-action plots that have too many stunts and special effects, and your horse is the star. He is peeling out in a dead run. What’s happening? It takes a minute to recognize you might be in the saddle and in … Read more

Photo & Poem: Natural. Magic.

  The young visitor stared at the bay mare’s mane. “Would you like to brush her?” I ask. Sending the girl for the grooming bag, I haltered the mare, a visitor to the farm herself. After showing the girl about curry combs and brushing with the grain of the hair, she set to the task … Read more

The Next Horse: Remounting after the Hardest Fall of All

    This perfect horse of yours has been with you since he was young, or you got him near retirement, but he taught you the best of what you know. Maybe he was your first horse or maybe he was one of many in the course of your life, but this particular horse just … Read more

Calming Signals: Sleeping with a Reactive Dog

    I don’t mind bragging; I’ve slept with some very fine dogs in the course of my long and blessed life. Some say I can’t tell a good dog from a bad one but of course, I can. How else would this have happened? It’s been six years now since my arranged marriage with … Read more

Calming Signals: Yoga Mind/Equine Reality

The Dude Rancher and I practice yoga. We started years ago; he was having way too many headaches and my back was killing me. We each thought the other person was the problem, but we went to a Yin Yoga class at a local rec center. Our teacher, Tracey, explained in a soft voice that … Read more

Photo & Poem: Secrets

She attended church with joyless obligation, lip-syncing hymns that praised suffering, with dentures that never quite fit, never a genuine smile. A few cigarettes in the station wagon on the way home, then she made Sunday dinner; chicken, mashed potatoes with beige gravy, and army-green beans. There was plenty, but she always chose the back … Read more