Calming Signals: A Vow of Silence

By now you should snort out loud when someone says their horse is ignoring them. Really, is there a more ridiculous thing to imagine? How could it be possible for a prey animal to ignore anything? Their survival depends on being situationally aware in every moment. You can make fun of a horse for staring … Read more

What to Do When You See Cruelty

It was a sadly normal week in the larger horse world. Horses got hurt and humans waged war with each other about it. If you love horses, it’s easy to blame everyone in sight, easy to scream with vitriol and make sure everyone knows you are better than the haters who hurt horses. Social media … Read more

Calming Signals: Do You Tease Your Horse?

There was a time that I had a basset hound named Agatha and a bunch of friends with toddlers. It was hell. See it from Agatha’s side. Toddlers are short and take uneven steps, moving more like a prey animal than a human. A tipsy bunny. And they are sticky-sweet, sometimes wearing a soiled diaper. … Read more

Brain Science as a Training Aid

  It was a two-day-long science class and we were promised a brain dissection. I signed up immediately and have had the weekend marked off on my calendar for months. I can’t imagine you don’t want to hear all about it. Our instructor was Dr. Stephen Peters, (Psy.D., ABN, Diplomate in Neuropsychology) a neuroscientist, horse … Read more

Affirmative Training and Spoiling Horses

Most of us hear voices. We might be working with our horses on an issue and floundering in the moment, because we hear a threatening voice in our heads. It could haunt us from the past; a trainer from decades ago, something said on a video or written. For some of us, the harsh threat … Read more

The Thing About Mares

When Larry McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove, he gave Woodrow Call’s gray mare a blunt name that was rudely respectful, in a close-as-kin way. Being a sort of gray mare myself, the name stuck in my memory. Some folks hate mares so much they refuse to have them on the place. Others praise them to the … 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 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

Behavioral Euthanasia of Horses

  “Anna, do you have any articles that touch on behavioral euthanasia?” It’s from a question about a rescue horse in trouble. Initially, things went well enough but now there is unusual pasture activity, unprovoked aggression toward other horses, and the issues continue to escalate. A horrible fit of extreme bucking resulted in the rider … Read more

Calming Signals and Boundaries

A request to write about boundaries, in which the Loudmouth Party-Pooper returns. Am I allowed a pet peeve? I’ve began seriously disliking the “Incredible Bond” photos, the ones where someone is lying on the ground next to their horse, the one where someone is sitting on a naked horse without a helmet, or the photo … Read more