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

Does it Feel Like Everyone is Watching You?

It’s you and your horse. Sometimes people looking at him think he isn’t much but that’s because they don’t know horses. Anyone can see the beauty of mustangs galloping the rocky terrain or a team of Friesians pulling an antique carriage in a PBS show, or a foal cavorting circles around his dam. Beyond the … Read more

Training Your Horse: Spring Fever and Fluid Goals

Ants in your pants. It was a childhood affliction constantly mentioned by adults when we couldn’t sit still in church or school or at the dinner table. Pervasive, chronic, and most of us didn’t grow out of it. I was certain that all the dull talk about patience was just a flimsy defense put out … Read more

Finding the Ground But In a Good Way

Our T’ai Chi master told us to drop our weight? I was barely legal and my fledgling art career was doing so well that I didn’t own a car. The class met in a church gym, he stood in front with his back to us and the small class mimicked his slow-motion movements. He told … Read more

Human Calming Signals: What Counterfeit Means

Back in the day, there was a word used when talking about a stoic horse that who seemed almost too good to be true. It appeared nothing was amiss; the horse worked well enough but something didn’t feel right, and with hindsight, the feelings were confirmed. These horses were called counterfeit. I don’t know that … Read more

Calming Signals and Why the Second Time’s a Charm.

Want to know the smallest thing you could change in training for the biggest improvement? I usually say doing a logical, effective warm-up, but it’s more specific because that smallest thing happens before the warm-up, thru the warm-up, and until the halter comes off at the end. Have you ever noticed that the first of … Read more

Does Leadership Mean Domination Now?

From a Reader: “Anna, you articulate the dance between horse and human so very succinctly. I wish it were easier to “just be” with horses, but it’s a constant struggle to eliminate formerly learned patterns of behavior. I started to learn about horses with a woman that spoke of partnership with horses and that has … Read more

The Best Horse Conversations Start With “No”

Imagine that each time you climbed on your horse, he began to move in a slow canter, so rhythmic and balanced that you can just close your eyes. Never a wrong step, never a moment of confusion. Your horse knows the routine so well, you don’t need to cue him. You let yourself be lulled, … Read more