Do You Need to Keep Your Horse Calm?

I can’t be the only woman of a certain age whose parents thought she needed to be muffled indefinitely. They wanted a quiet polite daughter and look how that turned out. And I’m probably the wrong person to write this since I have a rescue dog that hasn’t stopped barking since 2014. Here goes anyway.  … Read more

Calming Signals: Thoughts About Spooking at Nothing

There are two kinds of spooking. This is the first: It was midmorning on the ranch, and we were riding out. My friend was on the best trail horse in the world, and they were helping me and my young gelding gain confidence. We usually walked through an especially beautiful ravine where the plant growth … Read more

How Horses Train Us

You are a horse trainer. It does not always give me joy to say so, but it’s true and other professional trainers agree. If you are holding the rope, you qualify whether you watch videos or not, take lessons or not, have already paid a trainer four times what you paid for the horse or … Read more

Affirmative Training: Misunderstandings About Control

You have made some changes in how you work with your horse and you’re both much more relaxed. You’ve evolved beyond the old voices that demand you show your horse who’s boss. Those debunked methods threatened and shamed you as well as your horse. Now, you believe in building the horse’s confidence and training affirmatively. … Read more

Calming Signals and Feculence

I’m responding to a request to write a few words about poop. “BM, defecation, excrement, fecal matter, the deuce, sh*t, meadow muffins, fertilizer, dung, feces, number two, crap, guano, manure, night soil, or my personal favorite, horseplop.” There you go. A few words. Get it? But alas, I’m just not willing to be all that … Read more

Calming Signals and What You Can’t Unsee.

  Our Barn Rat first met horses when she was three days old. She started earlier than some. Now, she’s tall and smart and brave and what we used to call coltish. Her mom is my friend and boarder, and her little sister is extremely cool, too. Our barn rat helps with chores, does daring … Read more

Deconstructing Fear with Affirmative Training

  Something is off with your horse, but you can’t tell what. You might be leading him or you might be riding. It could be in a strange place or in your home arena. He isn’t being resistant, but it’s not right. Then he sees something and goes very still. You try to see what … Read more

Edgar Rice Burro on Covid-19 and Physical Distancing (on World Donkey Day)

  Does Covid-19 impact my herd? The email asked, “I wonder if you’ve noticed the quieter world in your horses? Seismologists have been saying for a couple weeks the earth is vibrating less as human activity has been reduced. Air pollution is down in major cities, the water is clear in the Venice canals and … 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