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

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

Photo & Poem: Horse Trailer Conversation

Horse Trailer Conversation She takes me from the herd, pulling me to the box. Her hand is thick, there is no air in her feet. I want to run, fast and far, instead dragging my hooves, looking away. No, stand and fight, she says with dread in her spine. Standing next to the box makes … Read more

Creativity and the Problem with Training Techniques.

We were standing around the barn after the vet had left, a group of trainers and riders and horses, telling stories and laughing. I can’t remember what I said now, but the European trainer got suddenly serious with me, saying “You know there is only one right way to train that, don’t you?” I don’t … Read more

Calming Signals and Boundaries

A request to write about boundaries, in which the Loudmouth Party-Pooper returns. Am I allowed a pet peeve? I’ve began seriously disliking the “Incredible Bond” photos, the ones where someone is lying on the ground next to their horse, the one where someone is sitting on a naked horse without a helmet, or the photo … Read more

Does Your Horse “Respect” You?

I’m just the sort of old-fashioned cowgirl/dressage queen/dork that loves the concept of respect. Philosophically and in real life, I care more about respect than love in most situations. Love can be fickle and misguided, but respect is a sacred trust. Sadly, as a trainer and writer, I avoid using the word. The word “respect” has been kidnapped … Read more

Calming Signals and Ambivalent Horses.

Humans are impatient worriers. On the high side, it means we care but we want to know everything immediately. Perhaps a predator way of thinking; we’re always on the hunt, stalking the perceptions that elude us. The more we chase, the more understanding hides. We crave control and we’re better at fighting than waiting. Gaining … Read more

Change: A Virtual* Barn Raising!

No, I’m not building a real barn. That would be easy. I’m handy with tools and I’ve been known to use my truck in some unusually creative ways. This new barn is different. It’s a “website with an online membership group” but I think it’ll be more comfortable if I just call it The Barn. Most … Read more