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

The Dynamic Power of Consistency

We would like consistent behavior from our horses. It would be good if they took each cue with light and immediate response. But some days we climb on and don’t feel like doing much. We don’t really have a plan, not that we care. We lollygag around slouching in the saddle and banging our legs … 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

Calming Signals and Whiskers

I always thought of grooming as part of the warm-up for the ride. It’s the price paid up front, a thank you in advance. I spent hours currying and brushing, trimming fetlocks and conditioning tails. My horses stood quietly ground-tied to get their ears clipped and their chins trimmed. I cared for them as a … Read more