The Modern Horseman’s Do’s and Don’t’s of Tying


As you head back to work after (we hope!) a weekend of riding and playing with your horses, Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE gives us a few tips to get us through the lessons and training sessions we may try fit in between appointments, pick ups, drop offs, and office hours. Here’s his quick-hit list to remind us how to keep our horses safe when tying them, whether in the barn aisle, to the trailer, or out and about in the week ahead.


The Do’s and Don’t’s of Tying


  • Use an unbreakable halter, such as one made of strong rope.
  • Keep your horse in his normal environment and “comfort zone” for the first few dozen tying sessions.
  • Groom and spend time with your horse while he is tied, especially a green horse or one that is a “tying novice.”
  • Tie your horse high and short, and always use a quick-release knot.
  • Expect your horse to tie.
  • Ask him to stand tied often.



  • Use a clasp or buckle on your lead rope that could break.
  • Tie to something weak, such as an “O”-ring on a barn wall or fence post.
  • “Help” by untying your horse if you feel he is nervous or lonely when tied.
  • Expect him to tie quietly without proper preparation.
  • Tie where he could catch a leg or step in something unsafe.
  • Ignore the weather and allow him to get chilled or overheated.
  • Leave your green horse unattended.
  • Snub (tie where there is no slack in the lead line).


Work hard this week. Be safe in your travels and when handling and riding your horse. Count the hours until the next time you can walk in the barn, call your horse’s name, and swing up into the saddle.


THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE by Sean Patrick is available as a BOOK and as an accompanying 4-DVD SET.



Daniel Stewart’s Top 4 Tips for Creating “Vivid Visualizations” That Improve Your Riding Performance



In his fun-and-idea-filled book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, Daniel Stewart discusses dozens of specific tools and tricks that can be used to manage the stress, nerves, distraction, anxiety, and panic that so often hinder performance. And while there’s nothing new about using imagery and visualization to improve your riding, we can all use fresh concepts for how to incorporate them in our daily practice in order to reach our goals and achieve all we can with our horses.


Here are a few suggestions from PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING to help you create “vivid visualizations”:


1  Make Your Visualizations “Touchable”

Create images that you can actually touch. When you do this, the image becomes more real and understandable because it creates a connection between your mind and body. This is called the mind-body bridge. For instance, a trainer notices her student’s rein contact is too loose so she picks up two small stones from the arena and instructs her to hold the stones—one in each hand—for the remainder of the lesson. The next day the trainer tells his student, “You don’t have to hold the stones today, only imagine what they felt like yesterday.” Since she’ll still have the physical and mental memory of what the stones felt like, this mental image will make perfect sense to her today.


Help yourself visualize the wind by first sticking your hand out the car window to see what it feels like.

Help yourself visualize the wind by first sticking your hand out the car window to see what it feels like.


2  Make Them Creative

When it comes to creating vivid mental images you’re only limited by your imagination so make them as creative as you can. For instance, a trainer might tell a student to open her shoulders by imagining the wind blowing them open but how can she touch this much wind? A windy day or a fan wouldn’t be enough but if she were to stick her hand out of the window of a speeding car, she’ll feel plenty of wind. The next time she rides she can simply remind herself how it felt to touch “plenty of wind” and how it pushed her hand back.


A gallon of hair gel in your horse's mane can help keep you from leaning too far forward!

A gallon of hair gel can help keep you from falling onto your horse’s neck!


3  Use All Your Senses

Engaging as many of your senses while imagining your mental images makes them feel very lifelike. For instance, a young rider was told to imagine spikes sticking out of her horse’s neck to avoid leaning too far forward, but instead of just thinking it, she took a gallon of hair gel and actually spiked her horse’s mane! She could now touch the pointy parts and feel the stickiness of the gel; she could actually see the spikes and smell them too. All these senses worked together to create a very effective and understandable image.


Use funny imagery to make your visualizations memorable.

Use funny imagery to make your visualizations memorable.


4  Make Them Funny

Create images that are funny, ridiculous, or just plain weird. When you do this, the images become very memorable. For instance, while holding sponges will certainly create good rein tension, holding a hamster in each hand and not squeezing them too hard (or their eyes will pop out!) is a funny example from one young rider. Here are few other examples of funny images:

• Potty Squat—A young rider learned her two-point position by imagining she was going to the bathroom in a “porta-potty.” The weight’s in her heels, knees open, hips back and hovering over the seat (not touching it!), hands slightly forward reaching for the paper, and never looking down!

• Beach Ball—A rider struggling with her sitting trot knew that her tight hips were causing her to bounce (much like the tight outer “skin” of a beach ball causes it to bounce), so she learned to relax her hips by imagining them as two big beach balls with some of the air let out. Since the outer walls of the balls were no longer so tight, there was no bounce left.

• Wonderbra—A rider learned to open her shoulders by remembering the well-known slogan of the Wonderbra. Instead of forcing her shoulders open she simply reminds herself to “lift and separate!”


Get more great tips from Daniel’s fab new book PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING, available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.



International trainer, instructor, and sport psychologist Daniel Stewart is getting ready to kick off his popular Summer Clinic Tour! This year he’ll teach 48 clinics in 31 cities in 54 days!

“Last year I taught 40 clinics in 50 days, and I’m getting ready to do it all over again,” says Daniel. “I also donated $4,200 of my clinic earnings to the US Pony Club and look forward to donating even more this year!”


TSB author Daniel Stewart kicks off his 2014 Summer Clinic Tour in June.

TSB author Daniel Stewart kicks off his 2014 Summer Clinic Tour in June.


If you’d like to audit or ride in one of Daniel’s summer clinics, check the tour stop list below and contact the organizer using the information following each date:


June 14/15 – Agoura Hills CA


June 16/17 – Palos Verdes CA


June 18 – Woodland CA


June 19 – Gardenville NV


June 20/21 – Davis CA


June 22 – Gilroy CA


June 23/24 – Saratoga CA


June 25 – Woodside CA


June 26/27 – Bolinas CA


June 28/29 – Whidbey Isle WA


July 3/4 – Bend OR


July 5/6 – Beaverton OR


July 7 – Springfield OR


July 9/10 – Snohomish WA


July 12/13 – Hillsboro OR


July 15/17 – Spokane WA


July 19/21 – Lexington KY

USPC Festival


July 24/26 – Carbondale CO


July 27/28 – Steamboat CO


July 29/30 – Sedalia CO


Aug 2/3 – Tiverton RI


Aug 4/5 – Westchester NY


Aug 6/7 – Long Island NY


Aug 8/9 – Bristol CT


Aug 9/10 – Simsbury CT


Aug 11/12 – Warner NH


July 24/26 – Lyman ME


Behind the Scenes: Our Own TSB Indexer Writes a Book About Colorado and Conserving Rural Life (with Horses!)

Moondo and Max enjoy the Colorado weather.

Even the TSB indexer is a horse nut! Andrea Jones’ Moondo and Max enjoy the Colorado weather.


Because of the practical nature of most of our books here at TSB, freelance indexers make up an important part of our small team. Most of the thoroughly useful lists of names, terms, and illustrations found in the back of TSB titles (put there to help you pinpoint the page to which you should turn when on a semi-desperate search for information stat) are compiled by Andrea Jones of the Colorado Springs, Colorado area.

We asked Andrea to tell us a little about her role as “Indexer to Horse Books,” as well as her own book, Between Urban & Wild: Reflections from Colorado, which was released by the University of Iowa Press on November 1, 2013. Here she comes clean as a horse nut, delves into the challenges we face as we strive to find, access, and/or preserve a rural life in the modern age, and even lifts the “veil of indexing secrecy,” explaining a little about the process we all might take for granted but are surely thankful for on a regular basis.


TSB:  Can you tell us about how began indexing books and how horse books became a particular focus? Did you have horses in your life before you began indexing books about them?

Andrea: I first learned about indexing back around 1996 when I was reading one of those how-to-make-money-as-a-writer-type books, although I didn’t pursue the notion for a number of years. When we moved to our current place in central Colorado and I wanted to find a way to both work for myself and work from home, I took a closer look at indexing and decided it was a good fit with my situation and my personality.

When it came time to start marketing myself as an indexer, targeting equine publishers was an obvious choice. Having knowledge about a subject is helpful in indexing, and I’ve been a horse nut for as long as I can remember. I was an avid rider as a teenager; during college and for a number of years after that, having horses didn’t really work in my life, but when my husband and I started thinking about where we wanted to settle down for the long haul, finding a place where we could pasture horses was a major factor. I write about the experience of re-establishing a life with horses in it the chapter of my book titled “Horse Lessons” (see the short excerpt at the end of this interview).

TSB: What do like about indexing? What do like about writing? How does one balance the other (or not)?

Andrea: In addition to being able to work from home and work for myself, what I like most about indexing is that I get to earn a living reading books. Every project is different, and the fun part for me is thinking about what topics readers are most likely going to want to look up and then deciding how to phrase entries so that that they can easily navigate to the right places in the text. Creating an index is a matter of answering a long string of small questions one after another, which I find weirdly interesting.

Writing is important to me because it’s how I figure out what I think. I’m easily distracted, and writing—both the formal efforts that I intend to share and the non-public jotting in my journal—slows my brain down. I’m intrigued by the communal aspect of writing—that a text requires a reader in order to achieve its full potential.

One of the ways that indexing has informed my writing is that it has shown me that I am capable of being brief. I tend to be long-winded, and indexing is inherently concise. I’ve also gained a useful tool for those times when my writing gets stuck and I can’t figure out how best to express an idea. When I come upon a convoluted or difficult passage in a book I’m indexing, I’ve learned to pause and ask myself, “What is this about, really?” Applying the same question of “aboutness” to a passage of writing often kicks the process loose and gets it going again.

TSB: Your own book Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado was just released by the University of Iowa Press. It details your explorations of what it means to live responsibly in a “wild” space—your home in the Colorado Rockies. Can you tell us a little about the birth of this book and the life in Colorado that inspired it?

Andrea: Between Urban and Wild began as a collection of essays about living outside of town. I started out writing little observations about my former home ground outside of Boulder, Colorado, and continued when we moved to our current place in the center of the state. When I had accumulated enough pieces to begin thinking about the whole as a book, the glue that held them all together was this idea of what it means to choose to live outside the urban boundary in this day and age.

In the past, when people lived in the country, they farmed or they ranched or they cut timber or they mined. Sure, we wanted to have horses, and we ended up here in part because it offered grassland at a price we could afford, but we also bought this land because it’s pretty. This was an aesthetic decision rather than an economic one, and that difference is interesting to me. Between Urban and Wild is my attempt to explore some of the implications that idea has for how we perceive and use land in the modern era.

TSB: Describe one moment you remember that told you Colorado was “home.”

Andrea: I spent my junior year of college abroad, attending Lancaster University in northwest England. I started dating an English guy while I was there, and as the year wound down it occurred to me that continuing the relationship would require me to stay in England. I knew I couldn’t do it—I wanted to be home, in Colorado, more than I wanted to be with him. Geez, that sounds cold, now that I write it down. But it’s true.


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TSB:  Would you describe yourself as a “naturalist”? What does the word “naturalist” mean to you?

Andrea: This is a great pair of questions, and I’ll take on the second one first. I view a naturalist as someone who studies and writes about the natural world from an amateur’s point of view—they include their impressions and interpretations, as well as their observations. This approach differs from formal scientific work, in which the personal point of view is suppressed, the data adheres to rigorous standards of evidence, and any conclusions drawn will be vetted by others in the profession.

Although most of my writing to date has been about my personal experiences and point of view on the world around me, I think of myself more as a writer with an interest in natural history than as a naturalist. This has to do with depth: I know a little about a lot of different things, but my brain is a fence-jumper. It’s too flighty to stay put for long. I’ll get interested in a topic and do research and try to learn more, but it’s not my nature to seize on something and not let it go until I’ve found out everything I can. I cultivate an attitude of attention toward my local environment, but I’m content for the aim of this to be a deepening feeling of being at home, rather than the pursuit of encyclopedic knowledge.

TSB: The horse industry is faced with the very real problem of sprawl inhibiting its ability to manage and graze livestock, but also preventing riders from traveling over extensive and varied territory as we once could. Land conservancy efforts are underway, but what kind of grassroots, local changes can each of us make when we live outside an urban boundary?

Andrea: Sprawl is a tough issue because it is rooted in so many areas of life: our ideals about home and private property, economic measures and community tax bases, historic patterns of land use, regulatory structure, conservation and ecosystem health.

When thinking about what individuals might do, the things that spring to mind are supporting and participating in those small local organizations that are working on preservation, open space, or access issues. It could mean joining forces with, or at least getting to know, other groups such as hunters or ATV enthusiasts, who share the same access goals but who have other ideas about the highest value of the landscape. I think all trail and open space users, whether they’re on foot or riding a bike, motorcycle, or horse, have an obligation to honor rules governing trail closures, hours of use, leashing of dogs, etc—in short, nobody who values the resource should give the powers that be an easy excuse to close access. In Colorado and other parts of the west, conservation easements have emerged as an important tool for preserving undeveloped landscapes under private ownership, and that may be an option for some riders who own property.

I live in an area where subdivided ranches are the primary form of sprawl. As a resident of one such development, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn about small acreage management so that our property remains a viable part of the local ecosystem. Pasture management, weed control, and planting native landscaping are small moves, but I have to believe that incremental actions, replicated many times over, can make a difference.

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with an animal and a book, what kind of animal would it be and which book would you choose?

Andrea: Somebody cover my horse’s ears because this would hurt his feelings, but I think the animal would be a dog. It’s hard to lay down next to a horse to stay warm and I’m not sure how well coconut fits the equine diet.

I’ve never been able to settle on a good single answer to that question about the book. If the gist is what’s my favorite book, I have to dodge because I don’t really have one single favorite (flighty mind, remember).

If the question is what book I’d be willing to read over and over, I’d have to answer Mary Catherine Batesons’s Peripheral Visions: Learning Along the Way, because I have, in fact read it several times and it always offers satisfying insights.

And if the question is about what would I would want to have on hand to keep myself occupied for a long time, it would have to be something very fat that I’ve never read–the complete works of William Shakespeare, maybe. The challenge of the archaic language and the insights into human failings and foibles would give my distractable brain something to do—and those failings and foibles might be more interesting, if not a source of nostalgia, if I wasn’t actually dealing with people on a daily basis.

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

Andrea: To ride a horse trained in upper level dressage movements—a horse patient enough to tolerate me, with enough time for me to learn how to communicate and ride those movements effectively.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Andrea: I like variety in general, so I love the tapas (small plate) concept. Sitting down with my hubby by my side, with a small gathering of good friends, sharing simple but tasty dishes along with a few bottles of nice wine, while wearing comfy stretchy pants, and having no obligations whatsoever the next day so I could sleep off the effects…that might be as close to perfect as it gets.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

Andrea: The one that I get to take next…if I could just figure out when and where.


Andrea is giving a series of readings in her home state to celebrate the release of Between Urban & Wild. Be sure to visit one of the following signing locations if you are in the Colorado area:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013: Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 16, 2013: The Tattered Cover, LoDo branch, Denver CO, 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 21, 2013: Boulder Bookstore, Boulder, CO, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014: The Book Haven, Salida, CO, 6:30 p.m.


Here’s a short excerpt from the chapter “Horse Lessons” in the book Between Urban & Wild:

Our move to Cap Rock, with its grass-clothed expanses, was inspired by the desire to have horses in our lives. The presence of Moondo and Blue and Max expanded the way I interact with the landscape around me. Through them I have been urged toward a regard for and appreciation of the land that requires attention to more than just the prettiness of the view. The land sustains my psyche, but it sustains the horses’ lives in a more fundamental way. The responsibility to keep them well and happy has to be balanced against an obligation to keep the grasslands from getting overgrazed or overrun by weeds. The need to contain the horses calls for fencing that also allows deer and elk to pass through as easily and safely as possible. I observe the horses much as I watch the land: to better acquaint myself with an aspect of the world that is not connected to an electric switch, to learn things I didn’t know, to discover questions I hadn’t thought to ask before.

Between Urban & Wild is available from the University of Iowa Press. Click here for more information.


Be sure to check out TSB’s online bookstore, full of bestselling titles by top riders, trainers, and equine experts (many including indexes by Andrea Jones!), and where shipping in the US is FREE.


In Some Ways We Never Grow Up–Riding the Flying Horses on Martha’s Vineyard

The Flying Horses carousel lives in a red barn on Martha's Vineyard.

The Flying Horses carousel lives in a red barn on Martha’s Vineyard.


My mom likes to share one particularly embarrassing story about me: Apparently, early in my equestrian evolution (but after I had experienced my first pony ride) I threw myself down on the ground and proceeded to put on amazing display of four-year-old fireworks (aka hysterics) when I was told I could not ride the merry-go-round in the mall. My mother, seemingly conscientious in all other ways, says she had to just walk away, the tantrum was so appalling.

While I no longer scream and thrash around in a fit when I can’t ride, I still acknowledge a twinge of “I want that” every time I walk by a carousel. I might be a mom myself now, but the “painted ponies” still hold magic for me, and I get on board whenever the opportunity avails itself.

The modern carousel blossomed as a feat of engineering and artistry in America in the 1860s, becoming the dreamlike, colorful centerpiece of the many amusement parks being developed in the cities and resorts of the United States. This “golden age” of the American carousel lasted until the Great Depression when the decline of amusement parks meant that many carousels were abandoned or destroyed. Later, in the 1970s, carousels experienced a resurgence…but there is nothing like riding the old-fashioned ones. They are so intricately carved, so extravagantly decorated, and when you are near them, you can smell and hear the past.

I recently had the chance to ride the oldest platform carousel in the United States while visiting Martha’s Vineyard. The “Flying Horses,” as it is known, has been designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a national landmark.  It was constructed in 1876 by Charles Dare, and is one of only two Dare carousels still in existence. Originally operated on Coney Island in New York, the Flying Horses carousel was moved to Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard in 1884, where it has lived in its red barn ever since.

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Even cooler, the Flying Horses still has working ring collection devices, which were developed during the heyday of the carousel in the States—about 1880 to 1921. Back then, carousel riders on the outside row of horses were often given a little challenge, perhaps as a way to entice people to sit on the outside where the horses frequently did not move up and down: Each time they went around, they could reach out and try to grab a ring from a mechanical arm, collecting as many rings as possible as a bit of a game. Most rings were iron, but one or two per ride were made of brass; if a rider managed to grab a brass ring, it could be redeemed for a free ride.

When my son and I rode the Flying Horses (let’s just say we rode the carousel more than once), the rings were a huge part of the fun…although we didn’t ever nab the brass ones. As we reached out with every turn of the ride, a little bit of wind in my hair and the laughter from my son in anticipation of our grab for brass in my ears, I could pretend for just a moment that I was four again–but this time happy as can be, with mom right beside me.

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

TSB Author Melinda Folse Featured in Dallas Morning News

TSB author Melinda Folse and her new book were featured in Monday's edition of the Dallas Morning News.

Texas resident Melinda Folse, author of the recently released THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, was featured in Monday’s issue of THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS. I hear from Melinda that she thoroughly enjoyed the experience–especially having her picture taken by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer!

Check out Melinda’s awesome recommendations for BBQ and Tex-Mex in the Ft. Worth area, and don’t forget to join her growing Facebook community–knowing Melinda, there’s a whole lot of fun still to be had, both in the saddle and out.

THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES is available at the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.