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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Introducing the ‘Not Too Old to Learn Challenge’!

We’ve been celebrating the NickerNews and BestHorsePractices community with guest columns and photo albums dedicated to our readers and their equines. Inspiring stuff. And as often happens in the dark, quiet months of winter, I got to thinking: Let’s do something with these inspirations. Let’s […]

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Lessons in Listening

“Listen to your horse.” “Trust your horse.” They sound earnest and profound, but what do those statements really mean? And how can you listen to your horse and still be the Lead Horse? (Trainers tell you that, too.) Finding the intersection between telling and listening, […]

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