Don’t Touch My Horse!

Amy Skinner runs Essence Horsemanship and is a frequent guest columnist for our sister site, NickerNews. Read her columns here. Here, she writes about the need to understand horses’ sensitivity to touch: People who come to my barn are probably befuddled by my posted sign: […]

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To Master Horsemanship, Stay in the Flow

Thanks to Shelley Appleton for this guest blog post. Appleton is a lecturer at the School of Pharmacy at Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, a dressage rider, and horse training coach. Read her article on Emotion and Intellect in horsemanship. Read her article on successful […]

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Tackling Fear and Confidence Issues

We had a lovely note from a NickerNews & BestHorsePractices reader who struggles with confidence and fear issues: She writes: Last November, you wrote about moving as being like riding and you raised the issue of fear and extending oneself. I have a great, kind, […]

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When ‘Head Down’ cues are wrong

As owners and riders, we have the privilege of teaching our horses lots of nifty movements and exercises. We can do it with force and intimidation, with treats and sweets, or with the concept of partnership in which horses will: appreciate a relationship of trust […]

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Backing up to move forward

Last fall, before making the move to Colorado, Jolene and I took several mammoth leaps backwards in our training progress. Read more about the debacle. Since then, we’ve gone back to the very basics: ground work, round pen work, roadside walks, jogs, and hikes on […]

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Ask the Expert Debuts

“Listening is the most powerful thing you can do.” It’s a valuable mantra, especially in horsemanship. Listening to horses. Listening to those with more experience. Listening to peer-reviewed research. And, for me, especially: Listening to readers. Our new column, Ask the Expert was prompted by […]

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Expanding the Circle of Comfort

This month, Jolene has weathered many new experiences, but never without worry. That’s Jolene. Anything new (new helmet, new gear, new trail, new visitor) is cause for inspection and concern. I’ve become more patient with her than I typically am our other equines. I understand […]

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Wise words from Wolter

Words of wisdom are funny things. They can make total sense or leave you scratching your head. How you absorb and apply them is equally variable. It depends on your attitude, perspective, and education. Those who worked with Bill and Tom Dorrance told me Bill […]

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5 Unlearned Horsemanship Practices

“Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.” Val Giessler, a mentor to Unbranded’s Ben Masters, utters those words in the new documentary’s trailer.  Read more about Unbranded. It comes to mind, too, when I think of all the ways my horsemanship has […]

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The Power of a Good Start

Earlier this month, we traveled to Livermore, Colorado, with Raechel Nelson and her 10-month old gelding, Gunner. The purpose? “To give him a chance to socialize with some other geldings and to give him some room to run around, stretch his legs and grow up […]

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