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

Leading from Behind and Green Grass

*Public Service Announcement* Your horses pay me a small stipend to remind you of things so obvious to them that they doubt the human ability to reason. They want me to mention that it’s spring in the northern hemisphere. The spring grass is very tender and sweet. The aroma is intoxicating. They say even humans, … 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

Photo & Poem: Birds and Horses

  Fences mended with twine until there’s more time. Scrubbed water tanks filled fresh, drank down to half by noon. Shoveling muck into the cart, I would be done by now, but for the meadowlark aerials just above. But for the Canada geese inspecting the tall weeds at the edge of the pond. But for … Read more

Calming Signals and Holding a Grudge

Sometimes your horse isn’t forward and it’s frustrating. Or he doesn’t like the trailer, and now neither do you. Maybe your horse gets cranky when you take him out alone when all you want is to take a walk. And by that, you mean he’s the one walking and doing it badly. And of course, … Read more

Can You Feel Your Hand?

  Can you feel your hand? How about your fingers? Literally, can you feel them if there isn’t a paper cut or a hangnail? When I was just settled into riding lessons, back at the dawn of time when I was still riding a Wooly Mammoth, I had a problem with my right hand wandering … 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

Photo & Poem: Flight

So still the herd, taking rest with soft flank to muscled shoulder, as the light shifts cooler. One nose lifts to the scent of rain coming on the breeze, the slow boil of clouds forming dark to thunder. Beyond the tree line, a slow crush of fir needles, padded footfalls and hushed birdsong. You cannot feel the … Read more