A Short List of Unfair Things to Ask a Horse

Old mares have a constant dilemma. They get stiff and stove-up. They’re stoic so they don’t whine about it, but they have small feet in proportion to their large body. They lose muscle over the years, their necks are arthritic, their joint fluid turns to sandpaper. The human said she should go for a walk … Read more

Gray Mares, Time, and Priorities

Do you notice that it gets a little easier to be yourself every day? Public speaking wasn’t the sort of thing I was born being good at. My first lesson: Everyone thinks it’s a good idea if the person making the presentation breathes from time to time. I listened to podcasts about public speaking, and … Read more

Calming Signals: Planning for Stress

Calming signals are an animal’s emotional response to their environment, expressed in body language, sometimes in increasing anxiety moving toward a flight, fight, or freeze response and sometimes decreasing anxiety while returning to a relaxed or restive state. It’s the most natural thing in the world for a horse to feel stress. It might be … Read more

Affirmative Training and the Rhythm Method

Remember when you first heard the term The Rhythm Method? I was almost certain it had to do with something bad and music. I was a virgin then, but I was confused about what that word meant as well, because, well, Virgin Mary. Eventually, I found out The Rhythm Method was actually something you don’t … Read more

Affirmative Training and Corrections You Regret.

People tell me that when they’re with their horses, they aren’t always perfect. They sound apologetic, you’d think I wore a clergy collar. Whatever they say after that is drowned out by my ghost herd nickering and snorting, bucking and farting, and rolling around in the mud. The equine afterlife has perfectly placed mud baths … Read more

Let Perfection Go. Try Consistency.

Here is a shortlist of the things horses don’t understand: Sarcasm. Exploitation. Shaming. Guilt. Drama. These are human behaviors that come to life in the frontal cortex of our brains. It’s the place we make up stories about ourselves and others. Does some part of us relish drama? Does the idea of a scarlet letter … Read more