In the Absence of Twitter’s Beloved @Horse_ebooks, For-Real Horse Books Take Back What’s Theirs

Real horse books are taking back what's theirs!

With the retirement of @Horse_ebooks, REAL horse books are taking back what’s theirs!


In September of 2013, the phenomenally popular Twitter account @Horse_ebooks, which had amassed over 200,000 followers with its frequent nonsensical tweets that somehow seemed laden with meaning (although rarely had anything to do with horses), “quit” the Internet. What I’m sure might surprise most real horse people, is not only the number of followers, but the passion they displayed for Horse_ebooks’ non sequiturs and textual mash-ups. Merchandise was sold, copycats proliferated, and when it ended, those who loved it mourned publicly: “Horse_ebooks is over,” they posted. “I can’t deal.”

To sum up a long and convoluted story, @Horse_ebooks at one time belonged to a Russian Web developer who set up the account to drive traffic to his e-book site, (where you could indeed purchase books about horses). Two men, Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender, acquired the account in 2011 and proceeded to attempt to tweet like a “bot” (those annoying automated programs that deliver spam and sales links via social media—have you noticed how their tweets and posts never make any sense?). The result was what many interpret as a form of “Net art”: Performing as a “spambot,” Bakkila pulled random bits of text from various places, and used these “found objects” to make an often semi-incoherent statement.

What seems mildly unfair about the whole story is the masquerade (albeit a shallow one) as a purveyor or fan of horses and/or horse books and/or horse ebooks! And so, with a nod to those who dreamt up the concept, and an up-front acknowledgment that “I’m no bot,” TSB would like to assure the world that the regular old, for-real horse books (and horse e-books) we publish can provide 140-character-or-less quips that are just as funny, just as meaningful, and just as “art”-worthy. Feel free to print any of these on a t-shirt!

The Riding Horse Repair Manual by Doug Payne: The source of infinite wisdom.

The Riding Horse Repair Manual by Doug Payne: The source of infinite wisdom.


Should you happen to feel yourself falling, now is the time  (The Riding Horse Repair Manual)


The pocket-size device is…devoid of meaning and absent personal or social relevance.  (Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul)


He shines like polished mahogany. The room was quiet.  (Crown Prince)


Use the right for delicate work and left for opening jars that have lids stuck.  (Dressage for the Not-So-Perfect Horse)


Without awareness and control, your legs fall Plus it does not require equipment.  (The Riding Doctor)


I didn’t realize it was windy, and I didn’t know the judge was so mean  (Pressure Proof Your Riding)


Fancy would have run me over just a few days ago  (Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship)


Set the spray interval and duration to fit your fly problem. More and more people are working at home  (Horse Housing)


Small and straightforward in case you encounter resistance–see p. 315 for a packing list.  (Modern Eventing with Phillip Dutton)


He needs to go on straight lines as well as curves  (The Rider’s Guide to Real Collection)



Pressure Proof Your Riding by Daniel Stewart. In life, who needs excuses?


My demands to avoid the work becoming onerous and demoralizing. There was no door or passageway that led to any other room.  (Building a Life Together—You and Your Horse)


Look sleepy, or bored, or both. We sort of know what we want. (The Alchemy of Lightness)


Your dollar will fly away, and you’re out!  (Games for Kids on Horseback)


Left front, right front, left front, right front, STOP. Like a well-oiled hinge.  (3-Minute Horsemanship)


Patience is always more productive than punishment, Always go a little ways past home  (Good Horse, Bad Habits)


In such groups, there are rarely big battles for “top spot” on the phone, make small talk  (Know You, Know Your Horse)


Just kidding. We’ve had enough caffeine for one day.  (Riding Barranca)




But then his whole world suddenly collapses. Everything goes smoothly.  (Lorenzo: The Flying Frenchman)


Nature, Nurture and Horses by Paul Belasik. Find YOUR path!

Nature, Nurture and Horses by Paul Belasik. Find YOUR path!


Never design a course with a TURN out of a COMBINATION!!  (Jump Course Design Manual)


With the Monkey and Reverse Monkey, you have learned how.  (Centered Riding 2)


You cannot feel the ball because it is deep inside the socket. (40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes)


The small misdemeanors, and the big ones will go away.  (The Horse Agility Handbook)


NOW you are off on a tangent to your intended curved line! (Nature, Nurture and Horses)


Opinions vary as to the effectiveness of elastic  (Suffering in Silence)


Captured accidentally! Leaning his rear end on a bucket! (Where Does My Horse Hurt?)


You have a better chance of being bitten by the roping bug in the West.  (The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses)


You can read these, and many other brilliant and meaningful turns of phrase in the horse books available from the TSB online bookstore.



24 Hours in the Life of Horseman Clinton Anderson

Ever wondered what a day-in-the-life of a top horse professional is like? Ever wish you were a fly on the wall of an indoor at a top trainer’s barn? At Trafalgar Square Books, we’re asking our top authors to give us the blow-by-blow, nitty-gritty of what it’s really like to “be them” on a regular ole day, so we can live out our own equestrian fantasies just a little more clearly, and appreciate their commitment to the horses and horse sports we love just a little more honestly.

In honor of the 10-Year Anniversary of one of TSB’s all-time bestselling books, Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship: Establish Respect and Control for English and Western Riders, we’re kicking off a new blog series with 24 hours in the life of Clinton himself.

And WOW, we thought publishing made for long days! We’ve got nothin’ on this guy! Take a moment to walk a day in his boots and you’ll appreciate why Downunder Horsemanship has grown into an internationally recognized and respected brand and Method of horse training.



A normal day for Clinton Anderson…

3:00 a.m.  Wake up and get dressed. [Editor’s note: Yes, you read that correctly three in the morning.]

3:30 a.m.  Train my two- and three-year-old performance horses. These are horses I have bred and raised at the ranch. They’re in training to be reiners or working cow horses. One of my top reining prospects this year is Pluto, a two-year-old colt, registered with the AQHA as Instant Upgrade. He is by Cromed Out Mercedes, an NRBC Futurity champion out of Princess in Diamonds with lifetime earnings over $146,000. Pluto’s dam, Nic N Smart, by Reminic, was one of my favorite show horses, having won all three divisions (Limited, Intermediate and Open) of the Ohio Valley Reining Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity with me in 2006.

6:00 a.m.  Go back to the house and eat breakfast. I mostly eat bacon and eggs.

6:30 a.m.  Head back to the barn to train more of my two- and three-year-old performance horses.

9:00 a.m.  I hand my last horse over to my barn manager Katie Kelch and then head to the large outdoor arena to teach my Academy students. They’re each training horses, so not only am I concerned about making sure they’re learning the information I need them to, but I also want to be sure the horses are progressing through the program at a good pace. I generally start with 10 to 12 Academy students at the start of the program in June and end up with three or four outstanding individuals who actually graduate the program to become one of my certified clinicians. My clinicians are not only outstanding horsemen and instructors, but they each possess the four core values of Downunder Horsemanship: They are loyal, hard-working, ambitious, and personable. Because I’m in the people-training business, I place as much, if not more, emphasis on those core values as I do on an individual’s horsemanship ability.

12:00 p.m.  I head up to the house to grab a quick lunch. Lunch is usually something rich in protein. Then I take a shower and change into clean clothes to head into the office in town. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the ranch to the office. (I’m known for my lead foot and keep a careful eye out for the local policemen!)


A big part of Clinton Anderson's time in the office is spent replying to email!

A big part of Clinton Anderson’s time in the office is spent replying to email!


1:00 p.m.   I’m in the office daily from about one in the afternoon until six every night. When I walk through the doors of Downunder Horsemanship, I make a quick round of the office, greeting all of my teammates and checking to see if anyone needs anything from me. Then it’s down to business.

To keep things simple and to keep myself from getting bogged down in details, I have three whiteboards in my office. I use one board to “spitball” ideas (a lot of Downunder Horsemanship innovations start here as my chicken scratch), another to keep track of the tasks I’m working on, and a third to follow the projects of the employees I directly manage.

As the president of the company, I have four main job duties:

  • Support my managers and employees.
  • Train and coach my employees.
  • Hold employees accountable to deadlines and commitments.
  • Maintain the culture and inspire the team to move forward.

My management technique is to let my employees do their jobs. I don’t micromanage. In fact, if I feel like I have to micromanage an employee or have to constantly be tapping him or her on the shoulder, I don’t keep that employee around. I have to trust that when someone tells me he or she will get the job done, it’ll get done. I realized a long time ago in my career that I don’t need to be the smartest guy in the company; I just have to be smart enough to surround myself with the smartest people I can afford.

I respond to A LOT of emails. In fact, emails take up the majority of my day in the office.

Because my name is on the door, I feel it’s important that I review everything that is produced at Downunder Horsemanship. That means I watch every club DVD, television show, and DVD series, and I proofread all articles and training materials. It’s crucial to me that my customers get the right information in the easiest-to-understand format.

6:00 p.m.  By six, I’m ready to call it a day at the office. Before heading out the door, I make one last round, making sure no one needs anything from me before I leave. However, I always have my cell phone on me and my employees know that they can contact me whenever they need to. In fact, we have a saying around here: “You don’t always get your way, but you always get your say.” I’ll hear anybody out, and while it doesn’t mean I’ll implement their idea, they are always encouraged to tell me their thoughts.

6:30 p.m.   When I get home after a day in the office, I’m beat. To unwind, I often head out to the back of the house where I’ve set up a swing next to the pool. Some nights (well, okay, I’ll be honest, most nights!), I pour myself a Captain Morgan and Coke and chill out.


Clinton's end-of-the-day chill-out includes a swing and a drink---and there might still be some business to take care  of, too.

Clinton’s end-of-the-day chill-out includes a swing and a drink—and there might still be some business to take care of, too.


7:00 p.m.  Depending on the time of year, I like to grill for dinner. My favorite meal is grilled lamb chops from Omaha Steak House.

7:30 p.m.  Then I watch horse training DVDs to keep educating myself. Right now, I’m watching lessons I had filmed of me working with my mentor, Ian Francis. I find that I pick up on extra tidbits by going back and watching the lessons over and over again. I especially pay attention to Ian and the subtle ways he’s cueing the horses.

9:00 p.m.  I try my best to get to bed at a reasonable hour so that I’m ready for another full day. I find I have to have at least seven hours of sleep to function worth a crap the next day, so that’s why I try hard to be in bed no later than nine. In fact, I prefer to be in bed by 8:30, if possible!


And then there are the not-so-normal days…

Days when I have no other commitments besides working in the office are pretty straightforward, but those days are few and far between for me. Because I’m the face of Downunder Horsemanship, I’m a key part to most projects and have to be available for filming and photo shoots, and of course teaching clinics and doing tours. Most days involve some really creative schedule juggling to fit everything in.

Clinics: When I’m teaching a clinic, I’m with the participants from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., or whenever the clinic ends for the day. Sometimes when I really get into a lesson, the day ends a little later than five. When a clinic is going on, I lean heavily on my managers to pick up the slack for me because I can’t be in the office daily. Luckily, I have a great team that does a phenomenal job.

Tours: When I’ve got a Walkabout Tour, I usually leave Stephenville on a Thursday to arrive at the venue a day-and-a-half before the show starts. I use that time to meet with sponsors and other business associates, work my horse Diez, and catch up on work. On Saturday and Sunday, I’m on from 8:30 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening. I catch a short break for lunch on both days, but other than that, I’m either in the arena explaining the Method or answering people’s horse training questions. Then I spend the majority of Monday in airports, on planes, and in the car returning to the ranch. It makes for a long weekend, but sharing the Method with horse owners and seeing some of my biggest fans makes it all worthwhile.

Photo Shoots: I have to be ready to go in front of the camera at dawn when lighting is the best. Often times, we’ll start shooting early in the morning and then break around ten in the morning and pick it back up at four in the afternoon when good lighting returns. The days can be long, but I’m fortunate to have one of the best equine photographers working for me. His skill behind the camera definitely keeps Downunder Horsemanship at the forefront of providing the best instruction and inspiring horsemen to reach their dreams.


Clinton reviews all the footage filmed for his television show and DVDs.

Clinton reviews all the footage filmed for his television show and DVDs.


Filming: Creating material for television shows and DVDs consumes a third of my year. Some filming is done at the ranch, but the majority of shows are taped on location. I might be a natural in front of the camera, but my team works hard to make sure I look my best on film and get my points across clearly. At most filming sessions, we have three cameras rolling and a sound technician on hand. And, just like when I am in the office, I’m hands-on at filming and photo shoots as well, making sure the important details of a lesson are captured.


Clinton’s endless energy and amazing attention to detail brought his Method to the hands of horse lovers in his seminal book CLINTON ANDERSON’S DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP. To order your copy of the 10th Anniversary Special Edition, CLICK HERE NOW.


CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE to order the 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Clinton's first book.

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE to order the 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Clinton’s first book.


Top Trainers, Clinicians, and Horse Experts Share Their Thanks: Hurray for Supportive Parents, Guardian Angels, and the Animals in Our Lives



Each year around this time, we ask some of our authors to share what they are thankful for, and it is always a fine reminder to open our hearts and minds to all that surrounds us, and greet each day—and the people and animals in it—with a smile.


“What I love about horses is understanding their minds, and through their minds, learning to understand how they move. The mind and the feet have always been connected. And when you are in tune with these you find yourself becoming one with the horse, with your mental and physical energies coming together. This is when you truly feel ‘freedom,’ and it is something I am very thankful for.” Marry Morrow, Horse Trainer and Co-Author of KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE


“I have so much to be thankful for it is hard to narrow it down, especially in the wake of the tornadoes that recently ripped through my home state. The town just 12 miles south had major damage and many homes are just gone—I am thankful that my family is okay and that in all the nearby devastation, not one life was lost.

“On a more basic level, I am thankful for my family, friends, health, and of course my animals, and the freedom to worship in the church of my choice without persecution. For a beautiful spring morning with birds singing, bright sunshine and green grass and a wonderful horse to ride through it all. My blessings are truly too numerous to list.”  Eunice Rush, Co-Author of KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE


“I am thankful for the 16 years I got to spend with my incredible dogs, Max and Luna. I lost them both within a few weeks of each other this past month. It broke my heart to lose them, but I am so grateful and honored that they shared their lives with me. The joy they brought is beyond measure. Thank you Max and Luna ~ you are forever in my heart!” Cindy Meehl, Director of BUCK the Documentary and 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN


“I am eternally grateful to Caroline Robbins and Martha Cook from Trafalgar Square Books for 20 years of creating my books to share with horse and companion animal lovers. And for the gift of having TSB senior editor, Rebecca Didier, as my co-author on my 20th and one of my most prized books yet, DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL. My thanks to Trafalgar for all the years of support and encouragement of my work.

“And I am thankful for my husband, Roland Kleger, and my family and friends, and all the people and their horses and dogs that I have had the good fortune to meet and share Tellington TTouch with this year—in trainings, on FaceBook, on YouTube, and on my blog. May the support from your Guardian Angels continue to bless your lives.”  Linda Tellington-Jones, Creator of the Tellington Method and Author of DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL and THE ULTIMATE HORSE BEHAVIOR AND TRAINING BOOK


We are thankful to live and work in a beautiful place--- Trafalgar Square Farm.

We are thankful to live and work in a beautiful place— Trafalgar Square Farm.


“I am thankful first for my good health. Being healthy is something no one should take for granted. I am also thankful for my wonderful supportive husband, who always has a good sense of humor about my horsie adventures!”  Janet Foy, FEI/USEF Dressage Judge and Author of DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE


“I am thankful that my recent major surgery was successful and is behind me. I look forward to hitting the trails soon.” Linda Snow McLoon, Author of CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED


“I have a lot in my life to be thankful for. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of my parents. They instilled in me the work ethic and determination that have made it possible to live my dream. I’m thankful for my loyal and talented team that allows me to share my horse training method with the world and for all the horse lovers out there who are committed to becoming better horsemen.” Clinton Anderson, Trainer, Clinician, and Author of PHILOSOPHY, LESSONS WELL LEARNED, and DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP


“I am very thankful for the small things life has to offer and thankful for any opportunity to be a positive influence for others. If you’ve made someone smile, or laugh, or feel good about themselves, then you’ve had a successful day.” Kerry Thomas, Pioneering Researcher and Co-Author of HORSE PROFILING


“I’m thankful that my family, students, and publisher encourage me to believe in myself and write my new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING.”  Daniel Stewart, Coach, Sport Psychologist, and Author of PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING


And finally, a Thanksgiving poem from writer Laura Chester, author of RIDING BARRANCA:

I’m thankful for my health

despite unhealthy ways.

I’m thankful for my horses

who are thankful for their hay.

Thankful for my new book

“May it be read by all,” she prays.

I’m thankful for my children,

who still light up my days.

Grateful for this life we share

in tranquility and blaze.


We wish all safe travel and a very happy Thanksgiving.

—The TSB Staff

Enjoy 15% off and free shipping on all these titles and more at the TSB online bookstore! CLICK HERE

Halloween Tips for Keeping the “Scared” Out of Riding and Working with Horses



When you work with or ride horses for long enough, there’s bound to be at least one moment where you find yourself with your heart pounding, your stomach in knots, and all-out fear pulsing through your body.

Scary incidents are an unfortunate byproduct of working with such large, powerful animals. Sometimes, a frightening scenario plays out because of human error. A person (often out of ignorance) may startle a horse or push him too hard or too fast. Horses are our athletic partners, and rider decisions made in training and competition can cause dangerous scenarios to unfold. Sometimes, the horse’s instinct for flight or fight is the source of danger. It does not matter how much you love your horse or how much you think he loves you—the fact remains that horses are hardwired for survival, and they possess teeth, hooves, speed, and size to make that possible.

The good thing is that we can educate ourselves to limit the number of scary incidents and keep riding and working with horses safe. The more we know about the horse and his instincts, the more we respect his power and teach him to respect our presence, the better we are at our chosen discipline, and the more secure our seat, the safer we will be. And, when we feel safe (not scared!) we can have more fun doing what we love to do.

Here’s what Buck Brannaman says about fear and how we can defeat it with knowledge in 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN:



Riding in Real Life: The Runaway

When I was ten years old I went on a hack with my riding instructor. She was on a green training project and I was on an older OTTB mare. I’d ridden since I was five and was a confident kid. I’d also ridden the mare before in lessons.

We crossed the main road and headed up a fairly steep ascent. I don’t really remember how far we had traveled when the mare I was on decided she’d just had enough. She spun, and I stuck on, but then she was off, galloping downhill on a gravel road, faster than I’d ever gone in my life. Sitting here, typing this now, I can feel my heart racing at the memory of it…of how I couldn’t stop her…how I pulled back with all my strength and seesawed the reins, but the mare just pulled back harder and ran faster.

At the time, the only answer I had to the situation was to get off. At the time, hitting the ground hard seemed less scary than plummeting downhill toward a busy road on an out-of-control horse. I’d learned the emergency dismount when I’d started riding and managed some skewed form of it, flinging myself out of the saddle and then rolling, as I remembered being taught, away from my horse’s flying hooves.

I had a helmet on (thankfully). I didn’t break anything (thankfully). I was sprained and bruised and shaken, but other than that I was okay. The mare, too, survived her skidding, sliding navigation across the road and back to the barn, where we found her with lathered chest and heaving sides, reins dangerously looped loose up near her ears.

The tool I had needed when my horse ran away with me, but didn’t have yet, was the “pulley rein” or “one-rein stop.” I needed to know how to redirect my horse’s energy. Sergeant Rick Pelicano, author of BOMBPROOF YOUR HORSE and BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF describes it this way:


The Pulley Rein

1  Hold one rein tightly, braced on the neck and grabbing mane if you can.

2  Pull the other rein straight up and toward you.

3  Lean back, push your legs forward, and sit deep in the saddle.

Training Tip: Clinton Anderson has a great One-Rein Stop exercise to help train your horse to immediately stop and soften at any gait when you pick up one rein. Check out CLINTON ANDERSON’S DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP.


But what about my instructor? What could she have done in my runaway scenario? Caroline Robbins, Publisher at Trafalgar Square Books, says that some of her scariest experiences riding were out on the trail with others, watching as a horse bolted and took off, and not knowing what to do or how to help.

Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE and one of this year’s Road to the Horse Wild Card Contestants, began his career as a high-country guide in the rugged mountains of British Columbia. I asked him about his experiences in groups and what onlookers should do when a fellow rider is in trouble.


Sean says:

1  Avoid reacting yourself. When a horse is pulling a tree out of the ground, jumping sideways or bolting off, remain still and quiet. When a handler rushes toward a reacting horse or yells, “Whoa!” the result is rarely helpful. A runaway does not need another horse to run behind it as well. The fleeing reaction might continue.

2  When in the saddle, the sound of thundering hooves can initiate a startle reflex with your own mount. When you feel this anxiety building, it might be best to simply take one rein and turn your horse to face the opposite direction. A well-trained mount will be able to stand quietly, but a more-novice horse may feel influenced by the other horse’s fear.

3  When a group is together in a pasture, and one rider is having great trouble, there is very little to do except keep yourself safe. This way the runaway horse is more likely to relax, slow down, and come back to the group. If a fall happens, at least you will be in control and able to come to the rider’s aid. When in such situations, I’ve learned to sit quietly and respond after it’s over.


Horses can bring us joy, peace, companionship with other people and other creatures, and they can bring us closer to the land that surrounds us. As long as we keep learning and strive to better understand the horse and react in more appropriate ways to his own reactions, as long as we seek instruction from others with more experience so we are prepared to handle whatever happens in the saddle, then we are on our way to keeping the “scared” out of riding and working with horses, and the joy in it.

Stay safe. Have fun. Happy Halloween

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor


All the books and DVDs mentioned in this post are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.


Great Photos of Horses and TSB Authors–Happy Friday!

The Trafalgar Square Farm horses, enjoying the fields this past summer--we already miss those long days of sunshine and late evening rides!

The Trafalgar Square Farm horses, enjoying the fields this past summer–we already miss those long days of sunshine and late evening rides!


Sometimes, it feels good to just remember why we love horses. On this Friday, enjoy a few photos that capture why we all work so hard to have horses in our life and do right by them.


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–The TSB Staff

The Secret Lives of Horse Book Authors: Kayla Starnes and Her Surprise Champion Toy Australian Shepherd

"Rocky," TSB author Kayla Starnes' surprise champion Toy Aussie. Photo courtesy of Kayla Starnes.

“Rocky,” TSB author Kayla Starnes’ surprise champion Toy Aussie. Photo courtesy of Kayla Starnes.


We all know that riders, trainers—and yes, horse book authors—have lives that extend beyond the barn and outside the paddock. Ever wonder what they like to do when they’re not on the back of a horse or teaching a clinic?

TSB author Kayla Starnes, author of the USTRC-endorsed TEAM ROPING 101, is on her way to the Toy Australian Shepherd Association of America (TASAA) National Championships in Ridgefield, Washington, October 16-18, 2013. And Kayla’s not flying all the way from Texas to Washington to ogle Toy Aussies—she and her own pup “Rocky” are competing for the National Championship.

The TASAA National Championships is a specialty show put on once a year for competitors to show off their best Toy Aussie. According to the TASAA website, it is the highest honor to be crowned a TASAA National Champion.

“Toy Australian Shepherds are a smaller version of the standard-sized Aussie,” explains Kayla. “They have the same look and herding ability, in a 13-inch tall package and have become very popular with the horse crowd the past few decades because they are perfectly-sized for the road.”


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“The fact that we are going to the National Championship is still crazy to me!” Kayla admits. “Six months ago, I hadn’t ever seen a dog show and Rocky had lived seven years in obscurity as a ranch dog. Then, an acquaintance invited me to a show and we went, just to watch. There, the show secretary told me I really should consider entering my dog, so I did. A fellow competitor was kind enough to show me the ropes and help me with some quick grooming. Rocky ended that day Reserve Best In Show!

“That evening, Rocky managed to steal my chili dog when I wasn’t looking, so I had to buy myself a new dinner. I forgave him, of course, and now it’s tradition—every time he wins, he gets a hotdog. Rocky has eaten a lot of them this summer! He has earned his championship title in conformation, as well as an international championship.

“Nationals will be his last competition. He’s retiring from the show ring and gets to come home and be a dad. In fact, his first puppies are already on their way! That litter should be here just in time for the holidays.”

Kayla assures us that win or lose at Nationals, Rocky gets a chili dog. He’s earned it!

Everyone at TSB wishes Kayla and Rocky the best of luck at the TASAA National Championships next week.

(And stay tuned to the TSB blog for more Secret Lives of Horse Book Authors!)




TEAM ROPING 101, by Kayla Starnes and endorsed by the USTRC, is available from the TSB online bookstore.



What they’re saying about TEAM ROPING 101:

“This book will walk you step by step through picking out the perfect team roping horse to preparing for your first competition, and all the training in between. ” —Clinton Anderson, Trainer, Clinician, and Author

“With information covering everything from picking the right horse to roping your first steer, this book will help you on your way to becoming a great team roper.” —Horse & Rider

“The title should have been Team Roping 1001, because it is so full of great information. . . . It’s all here, and it’s a keeper.” —Working Ranch

TEAM ROPING 101 should be the essential tool for team ropers and horse enthusiasts of every age alike!” —Chris Cox, Trainer, Clinician, and Team Roper

The Importance of Boundaries: Linda Tellington-Jones and Clinton Anderson Explain Why We Need to Establish Our Personal Space When Working with Horses

Big Horse little person

My last horse was a 17.2-hand Hanoverian-Thoroughbred cross. He was HUGE and a bit goofy, with a full-blown case of “Overgrown Puppy” Syndrome (something I’ve witnessed in other big, sweet horses more than once). Having been “horseless” for several years before “G” came into my life, I was rather indulgent with myself, and with him, lolling in the romance of having a horse of my own again. That admission of foolishness aside, I found it truly difficult to reconcile my own desire to work with him in a positive manner, to show him how much I adored him, and yet keep him from—innocently or not—literally stepping all over me.

“Just because you love your horse, and just because you are nice to him…it doesn’t mean you can’t establish safe and fair boundaries,” writes renowned horsewoman and animal behaviorist Linda Tellington-Jones in her new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL. “This, I feel, is key to horse training of any sort….So often riders make the mistake of assuming that in order to be kind, they must allow the horse to do whatever he wants, or make the horse utterly dependent upon them. I feel this is a trap…The point I must make here is that it doesn’t have to be one way or the other—that is, cold and forceful or kind and soft. There are many ways you can set firm and fair boundaries…you can be just and even-handed with your horse while remaining safe and always respectful.”

This distinction of Linda’s is a bit of a wake-up call for me. I admit I am a pacifist, and on top of that, I abhor confrontation. Stir in my passion for animals and my desire to somehow help right the many wrongs we humans inflict on other creatures the world over, and you have the perfect combination of Little-Miss-Wuss-Meets-Animal-Advocate. The only thing that kept me from getting smushed, crunched, stomped, banged, and rubbed to bits by my new horse was a lifetime of horse experience and a pretty decent riding-and-training education. But Linda’s words reminded me of my earlier years with horses, working with tough cases, problem horses, and green-broke Mustangs. Establishing boundaries with a smack on an encroaching shoulder or a timely tug on the chain lead had never given me pause before. What was it about establishing boundaries that I now found so difficult?

“As a trainer, you need your horse’s respect and attention in order to teach him and gain his trust,” says world famous horseman and clinician Clinton Anderson in his new book PHILOSOPHY. “Establishing your personal space will help you stay safe while doing just that. The first thing your horse has to understand is that you are fragile and he needs to be careful around you…By establishing your personal ‘Hula Hoop’ space (a four-foot circle that surrounds you), you’ll keep yourself safe while working with your horse and earning his respect. Your horse should only enter your personal space if you specifically invite him into it. Otherwise, he should keep a respectful, safe distance.”

Bingo! I need to remember that I am FRAGILE. Yes, I’m the caregiver in the horse/human relationship, but as Clinton says, we need to tell our horses to take care of US. That is an honestly come by reason for establishing respect when working with an animal ten times our weight.


Here’s how Clinton Anderson tells us to establish a personal Hula Hoop space to help keep us safe when working with horses:

1 While holding your horse, draw a circle all around you in the dirt with a four-foot-long training stick or dressage whip. Your horse must stay beyond the tip of your stick when you bend forward and reach with your arm toward him—about seven feet away from you.

2  Teach your horse to maintain this distance by backing him away whenever he moves in closer to you (note: on his own vs. when you invite him in). Back him away by wiggling the lead rope and swinging your stick from side to side in front of you as you walk toward him. Your goal is for him to move back the instant your body language tells him to, so move toward him with as much energy as necessary to get his attention. Alternate the “wiggle-and-wave” method with a second body position: Carry your stick as if it were a ski pole and literally “march” in an exaggerated motion toward your horse until he moves back. When he takes a step back, stop and praise him.

Both Clinton Anderson’s newest book PHILOSOPHY and DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL are available now from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT FROM PHILOSOPHY (click on Look Inside on the right side of the page)

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT FROM DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL (click on Look Inside on the right side of the page)

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

Rebecca is the coauthor of Linda Tellington-Jones’ new book Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul and believes that often an “aha” moment comes when we see that two horsepeople who may come from very different backgrounds and who approach challenges in very different ways offer the same advice. Rebecca does not subscribe to any one training method, but in her own work with horses, strives to find the best ideas and methods from the many different riders, trainers, and horse experts to whom she feels lucky to be exposed on a regular basis.

10 Great Quotes from Top Riders, Trainers, and Horsemen

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Sometimes we make a real change in our habits, our lifestyle, the way we think or act, just because we heard someone say something or read a few lines somewhere that stuck with us. Whether four words or twenty-four, whether plain-spoken or clever, the best lessons from the best teachers fall like rain in monsoon season—at predictable times, sometimes pleasantly and gently, while others in a soaking deluge.

The horse world is filled with great teachers—those who are wordsmiths and those who cut to the chase; those who nurture and those who suffer no fools—and perhaps our most important lesson is that we can learn something from all of them.

Here are 10 great quotes from some of the amazingly talented, motivated, and successful riders, trainers, and equine experts who TSB is lucky to call their authors—a little something to do on a rainy day.

1  PHILLIP DUTTON, 12-Time USEA Leading Rider of the Year and 5-Time Olympian with Two Gold Medals

“The general thought now is, or should be, that there is always another day! The rider should understand that sometimes, more training for your horse is necessary, and retiring [pulling up/changing a lesson] before more damage is done is a much better course of action than pushing your and your horse’s limits.”


2  LINDA TELLINGTON-JONES, Founder of the Tellington Method Approach to Training and Communicating

“I feel strongly that the tenets of classical riding are imperative and pure, and there is no moving forward without conscientious attention paid to all that has been learned and proven in horsemanship’s past. However, move forward we must, with the intent of achieving something better in the decades ahead and a common goal of alleviating the prevalence of pain, anxiety, and depression in the wonderful, talented sport horses with whom we are so lucky to pursue our dreams.”


3  BUCK BRANNAMAN, Renowned Horseman and Clinician

“Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.”


4  DOUGLAS PUTERBAUGH, Dressage Trainer and Clinician

“Centered riders understand the harmonious relationship between knowledge and achievement. They’re active participants in their own education, reading the writings of the masters, observing other riders, and seizing opportunities to train with someone good.”


5  CLINTON ANDERSON, Internationally Recognized Horseman and Clinician

“Horsemanship should be fun. By learning how to control your horse in any situation, your confidence will greatly increase. When you’re confident, you can relax and enjoy your partnership.”


6  DENNY EMERSON, USEA Hall of Fame Inductee and “One of the 50 Most Influential Horseman of the 20th Century”

“The only thing that each of us can guarantee is that we are prepared to take advantage of opportunities if they happen to come our way. Even when opportunity doesn’t drop out of the sky into our lap, we still need to be ready. In other words, the preparedness part is up to us.”


7  KERRY THOMAS, Pioneering Researcher in Equine Athletic Psychology and Founder of the Thomas Herding Technique

“As equine caretakers, it is our responsibility to understand how the domestic environment affects the horse on all levels—physical and mental. As a social animal, the horse depends on daily interaction for mental growth. Striking a balance between the physical environment and the emotional requirement of the horse to survive within that environment is essential.”


8 PAUL BELASIK, Rider, Trainer, Author, and Proponent of Classical Equestrian Ideals

“You can watch wild horses for a whole day and nothing astounding may happen. They graze, they drink, they seem to meander without obvious direction. It is all subtlety….When we do it right, there won’t be much drama. You learn to increase your attention and you train your mind to let more information to you….You learn to have more patience, you learn to watch, and you learn to let it come to you. To train horses well you have to learn to observe subtleties.”


9  SEAN PATRICK, Horseman and Clinician

“Never assume a horse remembers anything from one day to the next. Check his responses and use previous lessons as warm-up exercises before trying to advance to something new.”


10 FREDERIC PIGNON and MAGALI DELGADO, Renowned Trainers and the Original Stars of Cavalia

“We all make mistakes and by doing so we discover something about our limitations, but if someone or some horse suffers from these mistakes, then we must do our utmost not to repeat them. May every rider strive for a better connection with his or her horse by observation, closer understanding, and patient groundwork. It matters not what discipline is pursued, only that there be a perfectly balanced union between the two—man and horse—so the two become one.”


All these books and DVDs, and many more, are available from the TSB online bookstore.


TSB Author Sean Patrick Featured As 2013 Road to the Horse “Wild Card” Competitor

Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN'S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE, is a "Wild Card" Competitor at Road to the Horse

Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE, is a “Wild Card” Competitor at Road to the Horse

The 2013 Road to the Horse Competition kicks off this weekend in Lexington, Kentucky, celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a chance for spectators to meet past competitors, including two-time winner Clinton Anderson, author of the TSB bestselling books LESSONS WELL LEARNED and DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP.

In addition, 2013 marks the beginning of the Road to the Horse “Wild Card” competition.

The eight Wild Card contestants begin their journey at the 2013 event by choosing a horse from the 6666 Remuda. These Quarter Horses from the legendary 6666 (“Four Sixes”) Ranch in Texas are specifically bred to work and pen cattle. Wild Card competitors will take home their new equine partner, and each will have 12 months to work with his or her AQHA Remuda colt before returning for the Wild Card Competition at the next Road to the Horse in 2014.

In 2014, the Wild Card contestants will go head to head on the Friday morning of the event. Their horses will be judged as follows: 20 percent for the health and condition of the horse upon arrival, 30 percent for obstacle course performance, 40 percent for pattern work, and 10 percent for the freestyle performance. The winning Wild Card trainer will then immediately step into the final round pen and compete for the coveted 2014 Road to the Horse World Championship of Colt Starting title.

“We know there is an abundance of talent in the horsemanship world,” says Road to the Horse producer Tootie Bland. “The time has come to recognize all of the great horse trainers and present them with the opportunity to become the next world champion.”

TSB is proud and excited to announce that Sean Patrick, author of the bestselling book THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE and creator of the accompanying four-disc DVD set by the same name, is one of the eight Wild Card contestants selected by written and video application. We can’t wait to follow along as Sean brings his 6666 Remuda colt through his Countdown training program, and we wish him the best of luck in next year’s competition!

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TSB Managing Director Martha Cook and Senior Editor Rebecca Didier recently visited Sean’s training facility in New Smyrna, Florida. CLICK HERE for the story.




A Full Day in Texas: From Morning in the Stockyards to Stephenville

We started the day in the Stockyards, then headed for Stephenville.

We started the day in the Stockyards, then headed for Stephenville.

This morning we set out to wander the Stockyards a bit before grabbing a terrific breakfast that involved fresh tortillas, darned good chorizo, and a lot of cheese (not to mention the biscuit that came gratis with the coffee!) at Esperanza’s on North Main Street in Fort Worth. Then, it was into the rental car for the drive out the Stephenville, which we had planned to put us right by the famous Teskey’s Saddle Shop in Weatherford (the cutting horse capital of the world), but sadly our GPS chose a different route, convincing us that old-fashioned maps and the powers of reasoning trump technology any day (at least when shopping for horse stuff is involved).

Oh well, we’re going BACK to Forth Worth tomorrow, a different way…and Teskey’s will be in the picture this time.

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We had a great lunch at the Hard 8 Pit BBQ with Pam DeFazio and Rachelle Wilhelm from Downunder Horsemanship (it sounds like all we are doing in Texas is eating, doesn’t it?) and had a chance to visit with TSB author Clinton Anderson at his offices before he leaves for his Walkabout Tour stop in Tampa, Florida.

We topped the day off by meeting up with Kayla Starnes, author of TEAM ROPING 101, endorsed by the USTRC, and it was great to talk horses, training, and Texas living with a native.

Hope to swing through the Cowgirl Museum tomorrow before we hit the skies and head for Florida!