Horses Are Like Bad Boyfriends (Or Why the Wrong Answer Might Be Better)

Horses are like bad boyfriends because they only want to talk about themselves. Wait, let me explain. First of all, it isn’t a pejorative term. I’ve had enough bad boyfriends to know that I prefer them, for many of the same reasons I like bad dogs. Sure, we have to give up having “relationship talks” … Read more

Is Your Horse Mentally Exhausted?

No other animal is quite like a horse; never fully wild and never quite domesticated. Engaged with us but never ours entirely. Some see horses as simple creatures and others of us hold them as a mystery we will never completely solve and we like it that way. In 2012,  a group of prestigious scientists … Read more

How to Focus Simply.

I had just finished a lesson when another woman I knew at the barn came up to me with a sour face. Through pious lips, she said, “Can’t you do something about her hands?” As if finding fault in another somehow confirmed her own brilliance in the saddle. She was referring to the novice rider … Read more

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