Tunnel Vision for Problems and the Things We Don’t Notice

  The night-feed is my favorite. In the summer, the sky and clouds are as gaudy as the underwear department at the dollar store. If they have an underwear department, which I’m a little proud that I don’t know. The light loiters over the pond, as my farm exhales the day and rolls it to … Read more

Calming Signal Substitutions: Helping Your Horse

Most of us are old enough to remember what a rolled-up newspaper is for. Wacking the dog, of course. Because dogs are destructive and must be taught to behave. The dog would have something in his mouth, like a shoe or a roll of toilet paper or a measly old sock on the way to … Read more

Auld Lang Syne Horses

I’ve heard it a couple of times just today: “As we head into the third year of Covid…” It makes my lungs freeze and my feet stick to the ground. They are playing Auld Lang Syne, “Old Long Since”, and I’m re-running my last year, and dreaming up goals for the new year. Covid has … Read more

A Love Letter to Dirt.

It’s the eve of Christmas Eve and I’m worried about my dirt. Maybe the world has bigger problems and maybe it doesn’t. It’s a toasty 49 degrees with 30mph winds, with gusts to 75mph overnight. Not normal Colorado weather, but that’s seems to be the weather everywhere these days; not normal. My farm’s dirt could … Read more

Patience in Real Time

A clinic organizer was telling me about a trainer she brought in, someone whose approach was significantly more aggressive than mine. I asked how it worked to have such different approaches for the same riders and she said, “Oh no, he has the same training theory as you do. He told me that for a … Read more

Brain Science and the Art of Play

It’s cold on the flat windy treeless prairie of Colorado. The next few months will be even colder but right now, we have no tolerance so forty degrees brings out the Elmer Fudd hat. By spring, we’ll be talking trash about a North Pole expedition because the horses are wooly enough and we’ve been wearing … Read more

Thanksgiving is for the Dogs.

Here are two of my dogs, Preacher Man and Manning, guarding the back door. You’ll notice they are facing the wrong way. It’s not about who might come in; it’s about making sure SHE doesn’t get out. “Herding dogs,” my other dog, Jack moans, “have a little too much space between the ears.” He is … Read more

Gray Mares, Time, and Priorities

Do you notice that it gets a little easier to be yourself every day? Public speaking wasn’t the sort of thing I was born being good at. My first lesson: Everyone thinks it’s a good idea if the person making the presentation breathes from time to time. I listened to podcasts about public speaking, and … Read more

Is Your Horse Distracted?

You want the horse to focus on the task and do it. Let’s say your horse needs to stand still. He pauses, quiet for a few seconds almost before you notice, but he’s close and you can’t help but adjust his forelock. Like a horse even needs a forelock adjustment. Then he shifts to look … Read more

Why Don’t You Ride?

“Why don’t you ride?” It’s the question we dread. Sometimes the people who ask are neophytes who don’t understand that in the arc of a horse’s life, there are many phases, many unexpected turns that change our plans, and many mysteries that take years to unravel. Sometimes the people who ask are longtime horse owners … Read more