Calming Signals. You Can’t Save ‘Em All. Cat Version.

I walk in my pasture. Women of a certain over-thinking age do well to put a few miles in a day. Here on the high prairie, it’s scrub weeds, intermittent wildflowers, and big black beetles. It’s a win to see birds or salamanders. The high desert land fascinates me but we’ve been in the “historic … Read more

How Horses Train Us

You are a horse trainer. It does not always give me joy to say so, but it’s true and other professional trainers agree. If you are holding the rope, you qualify whether you watch videos or not, take lessons or not, have already paid a trainer four times what you paid for the horse or … Read more

What Does Having a Connection With a Horse Mean?

What does it mean to have a connection with a horse? You just know I’m going to be a loudmouth party-pooper on this topic. It’s like T-ball. The topic sits still, just begging me to wack the bejeebers out of it, because I am a killer of romance and anthropomorphism. If you are on the … 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

Your Horse’s Memory is Your Best Training Aid.

Our memories of horses haunt us in all the best and worst ways. We remember childhood horses and horses we met in books or at the movies.  We love our friend’s horses as we love our own, marking when they came and the day they died, so we can say their name to our friends … Read more

Does Leadership Mean Domination Now?

From a Reader: “Anna, you articulate the dance between horse and human so very succinctly. I wish it were easier to “just be” with horses, but it’s a constant struggle to eliminate formerly learned patterns of behavior. I started to learn about horses with a woman that spoke of partnership with horses and that has … Read more

A Book Report and What We Know Now.

A bit of explanation: I grew up on a farm without a bookshelf. We were not readers. Once we finally got a television, there was only one channel but it had Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, disappointingly black and white in our house. I mention this because Walt’s photo is in the dictionary next … Read more

Boundaries: Whose Space Is It?

Horses gallop on pounding hooves that cut the ground and then melt to a stop, whiskers floating in the light. A masterpiece of contradictions, horses frighten easily but are forever curious. Wilder than a dog, much bigger than a cat, with a certain animal magnetism that drew you beyond childish reason. Can you remember your … Read more

The Dynamic Power of Consistency

We would like consistent behavior from our horses. It would be good if they took each cue with light and immediate response. But some days we climb on and don’t feel like doing much. We don’t really have a plan, not that we care. We lollygag around slouching in the saddle and banging our legs … 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