Calming Signals and Living on the Ulcer Continuum

Forty years ago, we didn’t know about ulcers. Some horses acted crazy and we tried to train them out of it. Colic was the number one killer of horses. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. Then around thirty years ago, we began to recognize and study ulcers. Research papers came out, scopes were invented, … Read more

Affirmative Training and the Rhythm Method

Remember when you first heard the term The Rhythm Method? I was almost certain it had to do with something bad and music. I was a virgin then, but I was confused about what that word meant as well, because, well, Virgin Mary. Eventually, I found out The Rhythm Method was actually something you don’t … Read more

A Funny Thing Happened During the Euthanasia.

We’ve been having llama line dances here for over twenty years. It happens at dusk and it is boundingly beautiful. The llamas and I have hiked the trails, ground driven in harness, and competed at Llama Agility. Then we turned around and the llamas were the favorite “obstacle” when we did horse agility here on … Read more

Things My Dogs Don’t Care About.

I’m the kind of person who has big dogs. I always have been, not that my dogs care. I have no excuse for my current condition. I was trying to remember the last time I picked out a dog. That’s the thing about making friends with rescuers. Dogs just arrive somehow. Sure, you said yes … Read more

Long Dark Night of the Soul: Colic

Andante’s nickering. I’ve pulled the hay out of his run and swept the mats. He has a baritone voice, a make-out music, bad boy nicker. He drops a hip, under his breath, “Hay, b-baby.” No, he can’t have any for a while. I’d rather have a knife to my neck than see a horse with … Read more

Deconstucting Fear with Affirmative Training

  Something is off with your horse, but you can’t tell what. You might be leading him or you might be riding. It could be in a strange place or in your home arena. He isn’t being resistant, but it’s not right. Then he sees something and goes very still. You try to see what … Read more

How to Be a Safe Anchor for Your Horse

For us long-timers, if we’ve been lucky, it feels like we’re always standing in a ghost herd. They’re good company but they’re not looking over us so much as being ready if we forget and start to feel a little cocky about knowing much. Then one of the herd will push past and an airy … Read more

A Calming Signal Way of Being

  I have to credit a decent mid-life crisis for changing the course of my horse life. Not that I wanted to change; I had two great horses and we were livin’ the dream, competing like I’d wanted to my whole life, and having fun doing it. I had good friends at the boarding facility … Read more

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