Reverse Anthropormophism: Building A Better Relationship

Do you ever go to the barn and pretend to be a cowboy? You’d wear the shirt that matched your saddle pad and put on a Hell Hat. You’d take a deep seat and a faraway look, you’d make out over the land for the herd, whether you have one or not. Horses can like … Read more

Calming Signals: What Normal Looks Like

Do you ever think about what horses give up in living with us? Humans have a way of always seeing ourselves as the solution, resting confidently in the knowledge that we are their saviors. We have a bank account to prove it. We talk about what they do for us, but rarely consider the cost … Read more

Calming Signal Substitutions: Helping Your Horse

Most of us are old enough to remember what a rolled-up newspaper is for. Wacking the dog, of course. Because dogs are destructive and must be taught to behave. The dog would have something in his mouth, like a shoe or a roll of toilet paper or a measly old sock on the way to … Read more

Brain Science and the Art of Play

It’s cold on the flat windy treeless prairie of Colorado. The next few months will be even colder but right now, we have no tolerance so forty degrees brings out the Elmer Fudd hat. By spring, we’ll be talking trash about a North Pole expedition because the horses are wooly enough and we’ve been wearing … Read more

The Best Horse Conversations Start With “No”

Imagine that each time you climbed on your horse, he began to move in a slow canter, so rhythmic and balanced that you can just close your eyes. Never a wrong step, never a moment of confusion. Your horse knows the routine so well, you don’t need to cue him. You let yourself be lulled, … Read more

How Humans are Different from Horses

In the beginning, a filly is born. In the hospital, a baby girl human is born.  The filly stands almost immediately. The girl breathes and cries. In less than one week, the filly gambols laps around her mother on long legs at breakneck speed. She is champing, a calming signal sending a clear message, and … Read more

Calming Signals: How Do You Listen To a Horse?

What is your first memory of listening to a horse? Not standing next to a horse and being certain he loved you. Not daydreaming about galloping him on the beach or burying your tear-drenched face in his mane and hiding. None of these things are listening. They are moments we might feel a connection because … Read more

She Said Her Horse Was Pensive.

L. and her gelding, Andante, are boarders here. I always ask how the ride went as they return to the barn. One day L. tilted her head and said he’d complained about her hands. Horses are always right about hands. It’s frustrating when you listen to your horse and hear something you don’t like. Recently, … Read more

Calming Signals: How the Farm Says Thank You.

      It’s Thanksgiving time and I should write something special, but I feel kind of ordinary. All I can think about is how dry it is. Last week a fire started on a neighbor’s property. They got it under control quickly, but I stood with my mouth open watching. I was frozen, knowing … Read more

A Calming Signal Way of Being

  I have to credit a decent mid-life crisis for changing the course of my horse life. Not that I wanted to change; I had two great horses and we were livin’ the dream, competing like I’d wanted to my whole life, and having fun doing it. I had good friends at the boarding facility … Read more