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

Photo & Poem: Dwindling Light

  His swayed back so warm in the late afternoon but he doesn’t lie down. His shoulders bear his weight without rest. When predators come, he can’t be helpless to run, not that his buckled knees could carry him far. He ambles in for his dinner alfalfa, belly soft, and while the other horses tuck … Read more

Confidence Lost and Found

  We thought having a horse would make everything perfect. It’s a dream most of us were born with; we were drawn to horses in some way that we can’t explain in polite words. We were a bit frightening to our mothers. We begin to lose whatever meager social skills we had for small talk … Read more

Photo & Poem: Hand

  One draws attention, standing by a tolerant gelding and playing the horse whisperer, tickling withers, teasing his whiskery muzzle. Passive violence in the guise of a scratch, demanding an involuntary response ripped with conflict, pulsing with agitation. One demands sweaty perfection, the mare never exactly good enough, but rewarded at last, one ringing slap, … 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

Be-Here-Now: Focus on Safety (Helmets and Response Time)

  You’re standing in a tennis court just behind the baseline, being mildly uncomfortable in your tennis togs because the glare off your legs, like any good horsewoman’s, is near blinding. Right about then, a bullet whizzes by your ear. You know it was a tennis ball, point to the server. Taking a few strides … Read more

The Thing About Geldings

I’m the sort of horse-person who hears about a castration and pops a cork for a toast all around. I celebrate the gelding, both the verb and the noun. I’ve known some great stallions, but it can be a hard lifestyle in this country. My home barn is filled with a majority of geldings, mine … 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

Be-Here-Now: Focus on the Task

Does your horse get restless or bored when standing with you? Does he pull the rope, trying to graze when you are busy? Am I going to blame you for that, too? I was asked to share a pet peeve, which seems like inviting a donkey to a dinner party, but I’ll try to keep … Read more

Photo & Poem: Asking for Her Eye

  She knows my presence before I see her. Under the tree in the far corner of the pasture, no real shade but she stands there, hip cocked at rest, a prairie breeze weaving her tail. Approaching her slowly, regretting what I am but trying to downplay the plain truth, walking an arc, pausing. Has … Read more