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

Spring and Horses That Fly Like Kites.

When people hear I live in Colorado they often get a romantic look on their faces. I shake my head, “It’s not that Colorado.” It’s February on the High Plains of Colorado. Due to low precipitation and an elevation of almost 7000 feet, the High Plains experience gusty winds and extremes in temperature. But at … 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

Calming Signals: How to Show Love

“How do you show your love for horses, then?” A clinic participant asked me at the end of a long day of listening to each horse tell us that we stood too close, that we were too loud, that we tried too hard. Horses are dependably honest and listening to their calming signals is not … 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

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: What is a “Hard No?”

  I worry that humans are losing the ability to carry on a polite conversation. I’m talking about civility of the sort we learned in sophomore French class. Sure, it’s a bit canned in the beginning but it had give and take. “How are you?” “I am fine.” Want to know the part of this … Read more