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. Feeling his warmth near, even from the far side of the pen, his muzzle deep in hay. Awestruck, my involuntary response to his beauty. Under my breath, I barely murmur the tall gray’s name aloud but … 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

Photo & Poem: Herself

  No shy curve, she takes a direct line. The big mare trots up with authority, her ears shouting orders in all directions at once, her body dwarfed by an ageless spirit that has yet to find its limit. If she needed you, she’d never let it show. Settle your doubt and stand with equality, … Read more

Calming Signals and Implicit Bias.

The Barnies are really hitting their stride. I started an online subscription group earlier this year called The Barn. Soon after someone referred to the members as Barnies and it stuck. The name makes me smile, and in the beginning, there was a free-for-all of good intention. My training approach is very different, the focus … Read more