Calming Signals: Adjusting the Volume of Quiet

It’s been quiet here. Winter is good for that and we haven’t had a day above freezing in a while. Fewer people are out driving and no tractors or lawnmowers are chewing things up. It’s too cold for the dogs to supervise from the yard. They are literary dogs anyway, much happier sleeping on dog … 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 afer 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

The Thing About Dimensionally Succinct Horses

I’ve written “The Thing About” essays on Mares, Geldings, and Donkeys to dispel untrue myths and sing their praises. These essays were all better received than this one will be. Loudmouth Party-pooper warning… I’m humorless about diminutive horses. Refusing to use their common moniker, I get my attitude from them. This pinto gelding prefers to … Read more

An Invitatition to a Clinic in Your Home

I have a problem. I’m a clinician who loves her job and at the same time, wonders if there are better ways to do it. I’m obsessed with evolving clinics to be easier for horses and less stressful for riders. We love the camaraderie of a clinic weekend, if it isn’t our horse in a … Read more

Loafing in Limbo: Hibernation as a Training Aid

We are in Limbo. It’s that week between Christmas and New Year when nobody knows what day it is. Not that it matters because that’s the point of limbo. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere you are in-between storms. Entire states seem to have traded places. Some of us have ice rinks, and some … Read more

Silent Night: The Truest Words Aren’t Words At All.

I was standing outside of a hotel at five in the morning waiting for my limo. Obviously, several things had gone wrong and it wasn’t even dawn yet. I was pacing, wondering if the limo would cost more than my flight home when I saw a horse sculpture. It was not quite abstract or realistic. … Read more

Things We Should Refuse to Train Horses To Do

Warning: Loudmouth Party Pooper Rant. I think we all know whose side I’m on in this horse training reality show. As an early holiday gift to my favorite four-legged friends, I thought I’d lob a few ideas to folks who actually like their horses. In a world where we normalize fear-based training, I hope to … Read more

Nebulous Lameness. Nebulous Anxiety. And a List.

Your inner monster screams, “Just Kick Him!” but you don’t. You aren’t that person. You don’t use spurs or whips. You are so frustrated, so confused, so unhappy. Your horse doesn’t want to go forward and you’re at your wit’s end. This isn’t about one of my clients; this is about more than I can … Read more

Best Advice for Loading Horses on Trailers

I had a clinic stop in Flagstaff where the organizer was a long-time client and hero of mine, Barb. The clinic itself was at a facility a few miles from her home, but my dog and I were hooked up in the field behind her house. In the morning she and I were each driving. … Read more

You Know I’m a Small Business, Right?

Do you like the writing I share? It’s free, and it always will be. That’s my gift to horses, hopefully. But do you know I have six published books, and three of them are award winners? If you’d like to read more, consider these. Stable Relation is a memoir and Horse Prayers and Horse. Woman. … Read more

Thank You, Mother: an Ode to a Farm

It’s late afternoon as I drive along the front of my farm to the gate. The field fence is shrouded with a bumper crop of tumbleweeds, some of the arena fencing has blown down, and only the wind hasn’t changed over the weeks I’ve been gone. It’s one season when I leave and another when … Read more

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

Listening is Acknowledgment: A Gray Mare’s Message

I pulled down the drive to a farm for a Calming Signal intensive. Meeting new horses and people who care about them is always special and honing our listening skills is the best gift we can give horses. I parked my trailer near a pen with three horses close to the barn. One of the … Read more

“Why Don’t You Post Training Videos?”

  It was at the dark ages of VHS, long before the dawn of cyberspace, and I’d heard there was such a thing as a horse training DVD. A few barn friends and I watched one, and were horrified at the techniques and laughed at the backward sales pitch. But the only reason that was … Read more

When Horses Can’t “Do” The Clinic…

Lena was elegant in that special way that Thoroughbred mares can be. Her face had long planes and gentle curves with a classically simple beauty. She made her bay color look like burnt honey. There was no question about her intelligence. But her flank was tight, and she was in a bit of trouble. Sometimes, … 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

Leading Horses with Spatial Kindness. What?

The exercise was to halter your horse thoughtfully, asking the horse’s permission for each step of the process, and acknowledging his calming signals. A teenage girl was with her recently off-the-track thoroughbred, a tall dark gelding unsettled in new surroundings. We know how track horses are [not] taught to lead and she was using a … Read more