Walk, The Queen of Gaits

  Some riders keep to the walk, a sweet sashay that’s almost a lollygag. They want their horse to stay calm, they have anxiety about going faster, or they don’t. They think the walk is the safe gait, maybe the kind gait. Hoping to not disturb the horse, the rider would rather not admit it, … Read more

Escalation: Finding the Thing Before the Thing.

It feels like you wake up in the middle of a movie, one of those thriller-action plots that have too many stunts and special effects, and your horse is the star. He is peeling out in a dead run. What’s happening? It takes a minute to recognize you might be in the saddle and in … Read more

Calming Signals: Yoga Mind/Equine Reality

The Dude Rancher and I practice yoga. We started years ago; he was having way too many headaches and my back was killing me. We each thought the other person was the problem, but we went to a Yin Yoga class at a local rec center. Our teacher, Tracey, explained in a soft voice that … Read more

The Future for Horse-Keepers: Isolation or World Change?

It’s what we do: We keep horses. Sometimes a foal too young to be ridden, so we show patience and keep them. Sometimes it’s adult horses with flawless training and good minds, and while we practice the art of riding, we keep them. Too often we get horses who have been damaged by harsh handling, … Read more

Part One: The Future for Horses, a Different Narrative about Herd Dynamics

The first story I remember about herd dynamics was that stallions lived on the rise above the valley to watch for danger and protect the herd. The mares and foals grazed like idle, hapless creatures while the business of the herd went on between a dominant stallion and young stallions fought to take his place. … Read more

How To Spoil Your Horse

Will we ever stop telling long-winded horse stories? No chance. We are besotted with horses; we need horse friends because who else could stand the ongoing chatter? We talk about how we found them, and how far they have come. We tell stories about epic trail rides and how they came apart at a clinic. … Read more

Calming Signals and Color: Do Horses Understand Laughter?

  Every week new research comes out, some more ethically tabulated than others, about science proving horses are intelligent; an article about horses reading our facial expressions, or responding differently to human emotion by changing their own facial expressions, or a million other things that come as no surprise to equine long-timers. I think chickens … Read more

The Advantage of Less Time

It’s the second big freeze here on the farm and it isn’t even Halloween. Much too early for such polar cold. No autumn colors. The leaves froze to a green-black and high winds stripped the trees in a day. No color at all on this flat windy prairie. The horses don’t care. They have what … Read more

Calming Signals and the Myth of Desensitizing

  This chestnut mare is all that. Alert. Intelligent. Willing. And in possession of the quickest response time of any domestic animal; seven times quicker than us. Each of her senses is better than ours by a good bit, but then we hardly use the senses we do have. We’re so unaware of our surroundings, … Read more

Calming Signals and Implicit Bias.

The Barnies are really hitting their stride. I started an online subscription group earlier this year called The Barn. Soon after someone referred to the members as Barnies and it stuck. The name makes me smile, and in the beginning, there was a free-for-all of good intention. My training approach is very different, the focus … Read more