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

Is Your Horse Distracted?

You want the horse to focus on the task and do it. Let’s say your horse needs to stand still. He pauses, quiet for a few seconds almost before you notice, but he’s close and you can’t help but adjust his forelock. Like a horse even needs a forelock adjustment. Then he shifts to look … 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

How Horses Train Us

You are a horse trainer. It does not always give me joy to say so, but it’s true and other professional trainers agree. If you are holding the rope, you qualify whether you watch videos or not, take lessons or not, have already paid a trainer four times what you paid for the horse or … Read more

A Legacy of Homegrown Ingenuity and Bull-Headed Confidence

I am the great-granddaughter of pioneers. They traveled far, mixed their blood with those not like them, and built lives out of thin air and hard work. My farm needed a storage shelter. Not big, and a tarp would do for a roof. I saw small Quonset huts online. They were reasonably priced and just … Read more

Virtual Dressage and Girls in White Shirts

The FEI passed good rules this year, and the Olympic judging held to the high side. Dressage had things to celebrate but then the modern pentathlon debacle happened, not even an equestrian event, and we all saw the competitor crying and whipping her horse. The press failed to grasp what we all know: Horses take … 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 Problem with Pre-Corrections on Horses.

She enters the barn, looking left to right. What does she think her horse might be afraid of? First, let’s adjust everything that is out of place, just tidy the barn aisle up. No pesky plastic is visible. Start with his saddle pad. She’d better let him smell it. Sure, she’d been riding him in … Read more

Is She Still Going On About Helmets?

Yes. I’ve been writing in support of helmet use since the start. I expect I’ll go on haranguing about helmets as long as I continue to see photos of tiny kids standing on the backs of horses with no adults in the frame. And toddlers perched on fenceposts surrounded by horses who are a bit … Read more

The Dynamic Power of Consistency

We would like consistent behavior from our horses. It would be good if they took each cue with light and immediate response. But some days we climb on and don’t feel like doing much. We don’t really have a plan, not that we care. We lollygag around slouching in the saddle and banging our legs … Read more