Fear, Shame, and Affirmative Training

  This is a photo of when you first fell in love with horses. Maybe you dreamed it and it took another fifty years to come true, or maybe you’ve had a horse every day since then. This is also a photo of the first time a horse frightened you a bit. Those two experiences … Read more

Be-Here-Now: Focus on Safety (Helmets and Response Time)

  You’re standing in a tennis court just behind the baseline, being mildly uncomfortable in your tennis togs because the glare off your legs, like any good horsewoman’s, is near blinding. Right about then, a bullet whizzes by your ear. You know it was a tennis ball, point to the server. Taking a few strides … Read more

The Thing About Geldings

I’m the sort of horse-person who hears about a castration and pops a cork for a toast all around. I celebrate the gelding, both the verb and the noun. I’ve known some great stallions, but it can be a hard lifestyle in this country. My home barn is filled with a majority of geldings, mine … Read more

Be-Here-Now: Focus on the Task

Does your horse get restless or bored when standing with you? Does he pull the rope, trying to graze when you are busy? Am I going to blame you for that, too? I was asked to share a pet peeve, which seems like inviting a donkey to a dinner party, but I’ll try to keep … Read more

Photo & Poem: Asking for Her Eye

  She knows my presence before I see her. Under the tree in the far corner of the pasture, no real shade but she stands there, hip cocked at rest, a prairie breeze weaving her tail. Approaching her slowly, regretting what I am but trying to downplay the plain truth, walking an arc, pausing. Has … Read more

Leading from Behind and Green Grass

*Public Service Announcement* Your horses pay me a small stipend to remind you of things so obvious to them that they doubt the human ability to reason. They want me to mention that it’s spring in the northern hemisphere. The spring grass is very tender and sweet. The aroma is intoxicating. They say even humans, … Read more

The Argument for Curiosity: From Fear to Courage

I rarely have any idea where I’m headed. I get in a car with a stranger outside of baggage claim and go to a horse facility I’m not familiar with. I don’t know the participants or the horses, their histories or skill level. It’s fine though, I’d wind up giving a different clinic each time, … Read more

Calming Signals and Holding a Grudge

Sometimes your horse isn’t forward and it’s frustrating. Or he doesn’t like the trailer, and now neither do you. Maybe your horse gets cranky when you take him out alone when all you want is to take a walk. And by that, you mean he’s the one walking and doing it badly. And of course, … Read more

Calming Signals and the Thing We Call Stubborn

In celebration of Edgar Rice Burro’s birthday, he’s asked me to rant a bit about the thing humans call stubborn. Donkeys call that same behavior common sense. Are you in a hurry to find out what this is about? Edgar Rice Burro says in good time. He has had it with donkeys being referred to … Read more

Calming Signals and Preacher Man: Still “Reactive” After All These Years

Bear with me, please. I miss my dogs, one in particular. I’m in Dunedin, and he’s 12,620 km away. It sounds even farther in Newzealandish, doesn’t it? It’s National Pet Day back home, I know he is keeping an eye on the door. The Dude Rancher¬†takes good and kind care of the dogs while I’m … Read more