A Different Leg Cue

“My horse won’t go forward!” the rider says. Many trainers respond with the traditional battle cry, “More leg!” What does that mean exactly? What part of our leg does the horse need more of? Surely not more thigh? Have you seen me in white breeches? Are my knees supposed to flap in and out? How … Read more

Forging a Path: What to Do Next With Your Horse.

It’s that time of winter when you half-think spring isn’t real. Are you frustrated with how you and your horse are progressing? As if it’s even warm enough to take his blanket off. Do you ride in the same place in the same way? Do you do the same groundwork in the same order? Do … 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

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

Homeschooling Your Horsemanship

  In one online class this week, a woman in Maine said it was 90 degrees that day and her black mare wasn’t coming out of the shelter. New York was no better. Two women in the class said the heat in Texas was just as high. Last month the mud ate their homework. Before … Read more

Advice? Take a Deep Seat and a Faraway Look…

My young horse was lame, so my mentor asked if I’d like a lesson on her horse. It wasn’t a rhetorical question; we all knew the barn rule. Even if I was green -lime green- I knew if you were offered a horse, you said yes. My mentor watched as I climbed on her impeccable … Read more

A Short List of Things Horses Don’t Need Us to Teach Them.

If Edgar Rice Burro were to title this Bev Doolittle-like photo, he might call it Beauty and the Beast. He lives with this mare, but she is always fussy about something. She’s a huge control enthusiast and it wears him down. The mare has no ears to speak of and an overly dramatic tail. She … Read more

Contact: Wait Too Late… Then Panic

  Dear Fellow Primates: It is our instinct to grab. It is our instinct to talk in imitation-semaphore with our hands, to eat with our hands, and react to fear or alarm with our hands. We start when we’re babies being offered a finger to grab and we never let go. We use our hands … Read more

Who’s Risk-Averse?

This week a stranger asked for my prayers. She posted a photo of an incredibly young girl with a crushed skull in the ICU. She was injured by a family horse. You’ve seen these heartbreaking posts, too. People say accidents happen. Did her mom take that photo? A prayer for her, too. I can’t imagine … 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