How to Focus Simply.

I had just finished a lesson when another woman I knew at the barn came up to me with a sour face. Through pious lips, she said, “Can’t you do something about her hands?” As if finding fault in another somehow confirmed her own brilliance in the saddle. She was referring to the novice rider … Read more

Forging a Path: What to Do Next With Your Horse.

It’s that time of winter when you half-think spring isn’t real. Are you frustrated with how you and your horse are progressing? As if it’s even warm enough to take his blanket off. Do you ride in the same place in the same way? Do you do the same groundwork in the same order? Do … Read more

Calming Signals and Why the Second Time’s a Charm.

Want to know the smallest thing you could change in training for the biggest improvement? I usually say doing a logical, effective warm-up, but it’s more specific because that smallest thing happens before the warm-up, thru the warm-up, and until the halter comes off at the end. Have you ever noticed that the first of … Read more

Beyond Legal Whiskers

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports unanimously banned horse whisker trimming, effective 1 July 2021. Horses snort and rub their noses on their knees with relief. Clipping whiskers has been a habit passed down among most riding disciplines, in 4-H clubs and breed shows, as well as international competitions. Hooray, times are changing. I’m betting … Read more

Take a Cue from Your Horse

He was a bright young gelding. Alert, athletic, and so willing. One day he would become the kind of breathtaking dressage horse that his sire was, I hoped. It would be years before he’d be started under saddle, but it was the perfect time to start arena work. Did you just seize up a bit? … Read more

Real-Time Communication: The Land of What-If

My horse always pulls his head away. My horse never wants to go first on the trail. My horse always fusses during vet calls. My horse never likes arena work. Humans love to show knowledge and predict an outcome. It demonstrates that we know our horses, have been in the situation before, and lived to … Read more

How a Legend is Born

What is it about horses? I think I might have drawn them on cave walls at the beginning of time, already a legend to deserve the honor. Horses have been with us ever since, our lives depending on them much more than they needed us. Nothing about that has changed. We are hooked and we … Read more

Confidence Lost and Found

  We thought having a horse would make everything perfect. It’s a dream most of us were born with; we were drawn to horses in some way that we can’t explain in polite words. We were a bit frightening to our mothers. We begin to lose whatever meager social skills we had for small talk … Read more