Listening is Acknowledgment: A Gray Mare’s Message

I pulled down the drive to a farm for a Calming Signal intensive. Meeting new horses and people who care about them is always special and honing our listening skills is the best gift we can give horses. I parked my trailer near a pen with three horses close to the barn. One of the … Read more

How to Stop Taking Your Horse Personally

Bhim is a one-of-a-kind, I surely hope. People might say he’s still with me ten years after he came for halter training because I couldn’t get it done. Does he look cute? Tell that to the humans he’s taken out. And to be clear, he’s here because Edgar Rice Burro asked if he could have … Read more

How to Attend a Clinic

Gray Mare memories: It was one of the first clinics I ever attended. The clinician was famous; I signed up for three fifty-minute lessons that came to more than I paid for my horse. It was a huge amount of money to me. The night before the clinic was to start, we all went to … Read more

Calming Signals: Thoughts About Spooking at Nothing

There are two kinds of spooking. This is the first: It was midmorning on the ranch, and we were riding out. My friend was on the best trail horse in the world, and they were helping me and my young gelding gain confidence. We usually walked through an especially beautiful ravine where the plant growth … Read more

Horses Are Like Bad Boyfriends (Or Why the Wrong Answer Might Be Better)

Horses are like bad boyfriends because they only want to talk about themselves. Wait, let me explain. First of all, it isn’t a pejorative term. I’ve had enough bad boyfriends to know that I prefer them, for many of the same reasons I like bad dogs. Sure, we have to give up having “relationship talks” … Read more

Is Your Horse Mentally Exhausted?

No other animal is quite like a horse; never fully wild and never quite domesticated. Engaged with us but never ours entirely. Some see horses as simple creatures and others of us hold them as a mystery we will never completely solve and we like it that way. In 2012,  a group of prestigious scientists … Read more

Our Horses, Ourselves: Simple Steps to Having More Confidence

Want to do a kindness for your horse? Perhaps show your affection in a “love language” that suits horses? Did I just do that? Refer to a nineties self-help book for couples? Yes, let me give you the gist: maybe you want flowers but your partner changes the oil in your truck. Expressing love is … Read more

A Barn Visit and a Fresh Reminder About Predator and Prey

It’s a thing called a Barn Visit. I offer them to clients mainly, those I’ve worked with online through the pandemic. I’m an expensive visitor but on the other hand, it’s a private clinic that kind of redefines intensive. Training is so individual that meeting the horse and rider on their own land can be … Read more

“Why is Everything With Horses So Hard?”

“Can Competition Horses be Trained Affirmatively?” she asked. I know why she asks. This rider has been trained to think that it’s hard to be good enough, that the work is hard so you have to ask your horse in ways that are hard. She has seen trainers claim that force is justifiable to win, … Read more

Being the Railbird: Anniversary Edition

A reader gave me a writing assignment. She asked me to write something from the perspective of a railbird. This won’t be fiction. I was at the National Western Stock Show. It would take me two more years to get there with a horse but showing was the dream since I was a kid. Over … Read more