How to See It Like a Horse

My friend was tracing her Arabian’s family tree. She’d driven north of Denver to see her horse’s sire and ran into a pathetic spotted colt that somehow reminded her of me. I was a self-employed artist barely making my bills, my relationship was failing, and I had a list of personal quirks that were entirely … Read more

What Horses Want to “Talk” About.

  What is it about the snout of an old horse? Especially a pink and black muzzle? How can it seem so wise to me? Or is it that over thirty years with this horse, I finally got wise to him? I confess that I disregarded his opinion in the early days. Disregarding the opinions … Read more

Is Affirmative Training Denial?

It was during a meeting in an online class called Back in the Saddle. We’d shared videos of the week’s work, each participant moving ahead at their own pace and level, and each person paired with a unique horse with a history of his own. Some were bringing horses back from time off, some of … Read more

What Will Happen if You Don’t Ride Today?

It’s really hot here. How hot is it? I’m not saying. People get competitive. You’d just say it’s hotter where you are and then I’d have to recite our altitude, I’m much closer to the sun. You’d have a retort and the places on my body that are clammy would only get clammier. I’d still … Read more

Calming Signals and Living on the Ulcer Continuum

Forty years ago, we didn’t know about ulcers. Some horses acted crazy and we tried to train them out of it. Colic was the number one killer of horses. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. Then around thirty years ago, we began to recognize and study ulcers. Research papers came out, scopes were invented, … Read more

Deconstucting Fear with Affirmative Training

  Something is off with your horse, but you can’t tell what. You might be leading him or you might be riding. It could be in a strange place or in your home arena. He isn’t being resistant, but it’s not right. Then he sees something and goes very still. You try to see what … Read more

Photo & Poem: Aged-Out

Aged-out with his horse, he said, like a sell-by date in the grocery store. We all stop riding, just a day at a time until we hit to a wall. Surviving cancer knocked the wind out of him, he said. The pain echoed for days and eventually, his body was forced to answer. He came … Read more

A Calming Signal Way of Being

  I have to credit a decent mid-life crisis for changing the course of my horse life. Not that I wanted to change; I had two great horses and we were livin’ the dream, competing like I’d wanted to my whole life, and having fun doing it. I had good friends at the boarding facility … Read more

Photo & Poem: Soundness

Centering myself behind the horse as he walks away, bent forward with my hands on my knees, staring his hips for unevenness. Listening to his footfalls. Knowing he isn’t quite right, I follow a few steps behind. He’s off but it doesn’t show every stride. The gelding knows I’m watching and the awareness changes his … Read more

Training Advice for Horses in the Spring

    “Egads, stand back! It’s spring and all those flighty chestnut Arabians are reactive nut cases. Afraid of everything. Downright dangerous. Whoa, now. Settle down, big fella!” Spring can be an unsettling time. Yes. I take blog requests and this is the big complaint. Really, year-round, but it’s especially fresh with post-hibernation hung-over indignation … Read more