Interior Design: Do It for Your Horse

Imagine your brain is a room. Stand in the middle and slowly turn to take it in. Would it be a cathedral with beautiful stained glass? Maybe bookshelves all around and an oversized bathtub in the middle. Sleek and contemporary or antiques and overstuffed sofas. Would it have a balcony over your horse pasture? Is … Read more

Nube: What If This Isn’t Wrong?

My first ex-husband used to tease me about my frantic love of shortcuts. I was always up early, on the run, impatient as a kindergarten class five minutes before recess. My multitasking skills were nothing short of genius, I thought. I did the work of a dozen in half the time. When my plans derailed, … Read more

Nube. Dark Clouds and Questions With No Answers

Nube (Nu-bay) was particular. He required my undivided attention in the saddle and on the ground. My focus had to be laser sharp. Most advanced horses require it and it was something I’d learned to do. Odd for such a young horse, but I decided it was good. It meant he would be a sharp … Read more

Horse Training Means Affirmative Waiting

Humans, aren’t we swell? Compared to horses, we have dim, frail senses, we’re seven times slower in our response time, and we have the focus of a toddler in a toy store. Horses might give us a paternalistic nod at this point, except for our biggest failing. We have that pesky prefrontal cortex. So, we … Read more

What It Means to Love a Horse

I’m talking to a new client who contacted me for help, asking them to tell me about their horse. They begin by explaining to me that they love their horse. I want to stop them already. I know it’s bad, but I am the very last person on the earth that anyone needs to explain … Read more

Euthanizing Your Horse: How to Trust Yourself

It’s colder now. The leaves are gone. The wind charges at us from the north, and the temperature drops ten degrees at three pm and keeps falling. We’ve had snow, the tank heaters are in. One of my horses has grown so much chin hair that I had to let his halter noseband out. It’s … Read more

Horses Measuring Intelligence in Humans

It’s my fault for asking for blog topics. She writes, “Can you possibly do a blog post on why your horse isn’t your therapist/best friend/ emotional support, etc etc etc? I am constantly inundated with rubbish “feel good” toxic positivity meme things.” Well, I will take the challenge, but I think I’ll come at it … Read more

Peaceful Persistence, a Horse Training Manifesto

  What does “not conceding” mean? Oh, I can’t wait to bray about this, says this trainer whose spirit animal is a donkey. We train with Peaceful Persistence which means we are: Not aggressive, Not conceding, and Not emotional. This week I’m writing in response to a reader’s question. We met at a clinic in … Read more

Calming Signals: What Are You Really Afraid Of?

What are you afraid of? Maybe this question. Take a breath and check your shoulders. Are they down where they belong? Move your jaw and tilt your head. Walk an arc. It’s OK, give yourself any calming signal you want. It’s how horses and humans self-soothe and return to the present. Now, can we have … Read more

1,354th Friday Morning and Not Bucked Off

  No, I’m not dreaming of a career as a hand model. My hands have looked like an elderly mechanic’s since I was a Goldsmith in my 20s. Scars, big joints, and apparently, the drought here includes hand lotion. It’s just that they told me in the emergency room to keep an eye on my … Read more

Cleaning Out the Toolbox

If it weren’t for manure frozen into the ice, we’d have no traction at all and it’s only the eleventh week of January. It’s been dark with below-freezing temperatures outside for so long that I can’t remember. I’m standing in front of the fridge, seriously considering cleaning it out. I can see a jar of … Read more

Calming Signals: Repeat after me, “Not that I care…”

Because they’re doing construction down the road. His previous owner says he once spooked at a llama. The wind is blowing. There are strange sounds in the woods. The neighbor is mowing their lawn. There are kids playing just outside the arena. Motorcycles might go by. Dogs are barking behind the fence. The farrier was … Read more

Helmet Safety and the Ability to Buy Hay

If my horses could see the big picture, they’d still say my job is hay. They have not read one of these blogs over the last dozen years or attended any of my clinics. They don’t care about how I brilliantly jabber on. It’s the hay. Boarded or at home, that’s what your horses care … Read more

Are You Having a Midlife Horse Crisis?

I got an email from a reader last week. She had a hard question. She acknowledges she was naive, but she adopted an Off-the-track Thoroughbred. He was a bit complicated, as I remember him, but she’s done an excellent job. He’s a solid citizen in the barn and on the ground. He’s been to professional … Read more

The Failure of Good Intentions

There was a time that I thought if I saw my horse curled to one side, itching his flank, I should run over and scratch the spot for him. That if I could acknowledge his itch and resolve it, in time I could teach him to show me where he had pain. My work with … Read more

What’s Love Got To Do With It? [Horse Version]

We love horses. We love to say it loud and proud. We love the ones we grew up with and the ones in stories that we only dreamed of. Famous horses, of course, but we love the ones our friends own and the ones we drive by. We love them when they are alive and … 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

What Does Having a Connection With a Horse Mean?

What does it mean to have a connection with a horse? You just know I’m going to be a loudmouth party-pooper on this topic. It’s like T-ball. The topic sits still, just begging me to wack the bejeebers out of it, because I am a killer of romance and anthropomorphism. If you are on the … Read more