International “Horse Code”–One Man’s Lessons in Understanding Our Strange Language




“There were moments when all of a sudden, without any warning, my wife just switched from regular conversation to speaking in some unintelligible code,” writes Menno Kalmann in his hilarious book WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS AND SO ARE THEIR HORSES. “And it usually happened when horses were involved somehow.”

Anyone from outside the equestrian world who stumbles into a conversation betwixt riders (never intentionally, I might add), would freely admit that much of what is said might as well be a series of dots, dashes, blips, and clicks, for all the sense it makes. But of course, it rarely occurs to us just how funny (both “ha ha” and “strange”) it all sounds.

“I find myself sauntering over to our backyard arena and seeing my wife bounding around, clinging to her beloved nag,” Kalmann goes on. “‘He’s a bit lame, don’t you think?’ she says. I hesitate to answer this as I watch them. Who am I to judge? I’m sure she finds some of the things I like to do pretty lame as well.

“Later on, after unsaddling, she treats me to an elaborate debriefing on all the specifics. ‘He’s not in front of my leg, and he is constantly four-beat cantering.’ She’s definitely lost me there; I have no clue how to interpret this. ‘And, when he is going round, the hind legs—they keep falling out!’

“I gaze at her in desperation. Will I need to go out in the dark and search the arena for lost legs?

“Later on, as we sit in the car, she confides her intention of riding ‘forward and down’ for a bit. I can only applaud such a decision, the more so because I understand at least half of it. Forward riding has the advantage of seeing what’s in front of you, and going down seems wise enough as long as you’re not flying a Boeing over the Hudson.

“After a while, I was confident that I had pretty much mastered the vocabulary. For instance, I figured out that ‘collection’ doesn’t mean wanting to obtain as many horses as you can…”

Well, that, Mr. Kalmann, depends entirely on our mood and the day!



WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS AND SO ARE THEIR HORSES is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE. It is also available in epub and Kindle editions.



Horses: The Key to Friendships, Then and Now

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Anyone who has been around horses long enough has, or has had, “horsey” friends. These are the buddies, the pals, the confidantes who “get” who you are when you’re mucking stalls, who laugh at the same four-legged antics, who commiserate over the same mystery lamenesses and training problems. They might be the same friends you hit happy hour with, or maybe not. Sometimes they’re people reserved for that time when you are most who you want to be…beside or on the back of a horse.

“Horses bring great friends into our lives,” says TSB Promotions Director Julie Beaulieu. “From the childhood friends who ran through the woods on horseback with us, to the teenage friends we met on the show circuit, we have ties to them through our horses and the times we have spent together. Once of my most memorable friendships was with a woman named Caroline. She brought her horse to board at a facility where I had my horse a few years ago. She showed me how to enjoy horses ‘later’ in life—Caroline was in her seventies when I met her. While she did not ride much, she generously shared her horse with many of the younger riders at the barn and reveled in the joy of horse ownership and watching others enjoy her horse as much as she did. She also supported all the riders at the barn by being at every event they went to and cheering them on. Always with a smile on her face and a kind word, she was a great example of how to keep active and happier with your horses and friends.”

“Horses have been the catalyst to some of my closest and dearest friendships,” says TSB Managing Director Martha Cook. “Dozens and dozens of names whiz through my mind as I think about the people I’ve met through horses in the last 40 years: Karen Lecuyer, my first ‘Morgan friend’…No two 13-year-olds ever loved their first horses more. Ann Bowes, an older, wiser friend who agreed to chaperone me as a kid down the trails mounted on a young mare both too green and too hot. Johanna Kozlowski, my best buddy at my first ‘horse job’…We rode a lot of miles and shoveled a whole lot of manure together. Les Parker, taskmaster and friend, who taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do with horses. Harriet Goodwin, fellow Morgan lover with whom I shared hundreds of miles of trail and an equal amount of conversation.

“And I have horses to thank for meeting my best friend and the love of my life,” adds Martha. “If I hadn’t struck up a riding friendship with horsewoman Betsy Cook in South Woodstock, Vermont, in 1988, I’d never have meet her son, now my husband of 20 years. For any young women out there looking for a man, I highly recommend finding a riding buddy with a son or two! They come trained to hold horses, drive trailers, and listen to conversations that solely revolve around breeds, gaits, and bloodlines!”

I, too, can think of many special friendships that budded and blossomed because of and around horses. Not one, but TWO bridesmaids in my wedding party were the result of horsey friendships that developed into something very special. It is amazing how hours grooming horses, scrubbing water buckets, cleaning tack, and riding the trails can nurture very deep, very true relationships!

“Horse Friends” can be found at any point in your life. It is never too late to rediscover old ones or find new ones. They are a great source of endless conversation, and common ground for people from all backgrounds, of all ages, for all time. Watch the women in this video from the bestselling book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES talk about the ways horses have brought them friends, and always given them a place full of like-minded people to turn to, sometimes when they need them most. Think about how you can find horses, and the friendships they bring, a place in your life today, so you have a happier, more fulfilling tomorrow.

And check out the DUST OFF YOUR DREAMS RETREAT launched by Melinda Folse, author of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES!

-Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

TSB Author of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES Launches “Dust Off Your Dreams” Women’s Retreat at the Luxurious Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa in Graham, Texas

Are you ready to live YOUR dream? A three-day women's retreat--with horses!--could be just what you need to start Your Life: Part Two.

TSB author Melinda Folse says that just about the time we blow out that midlife birthday candle, a little classic questioning begins:

What about all those things I always thought I would get to do “someday”?

Is it my turn yet? Is it “someday” now?

If not now, when? And if now, how?

Melinda, author of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, says that at midlife, “someday” is ours to name, and whatever old dreams that may have gathered dust on the back shelves of busy lives need only a breath of fresh clarity to find new and meaningful expression. With this in mind, and with the knowledge that horses can provide the link from the “here and now” to what’s just around the bend, as well as provide a healthy base from which friendship and kinship can blossom, Melinda has organized a fabulous new three-day women’s retreat at the luxurious Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa in Graham, Texas. This long weekend, April 13 thru the 15, offers a special opportunity to pull those dusty dreams of yours off the shelf and take another look. It will help spur new decisions to bring the unbridled joy of living your dream, whatever it may be, in what you’ll come to think of as Your Life: Part Two.

Make plans now to join a limited number of women invited to a pivotal weekend of renewing, reconnecting with, and revitalizing your goals for continued self-growth and limitless self-confidence. The Dust Off Your Dreams Retreat features a series of mini workshops, including:

Building self-awareness, confidence, and courage through equine-assisted learning (no horse experience required!)

Gaining clarity and direction through guided journaling, meditation, and centering exercises.

Increasing body awareness, strength, and flexibility through Pilates.

Improving your relationships in business and with friends and family through horses.

This life-changing weekend at the fabulous Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa will bring:

Clarity regarding which dreams are really yours, and which dreams you really want to pursue.

Confidence to remove the obstacles that keep getting in the way.

Concrete action steps to shape your first steps to making your dream come true.

Courage to declare that “someday” has finally arrived in your life.

Space is limited and the deadline to register is coming up! Visit for more information on the retreat and to register.

And order your copy of Melinda’s bestselling book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.


“There’s a reason why guests fly in from Britain and the Netherlands to holiday at Wildcatter Ranch, 90 miles northwest of Fort Worth: It’s a cowboy-hat-wearing, yee-haw-worthy adventure. With 35 horses and more than 20 miles of trails, riding is the choice activity, though skeet shooting, spa treatments and A.T.V. trips — with stops for canoeing and archery — can also be scheduled. ‘And I’m not opposed to free help in the barn,’ Jay Brewer, the barn manager and a former bullfighter, said with a laugh. Horseback rides take guests through the property’s 1,500 acres, where riders spot armadillos and turkeys. Guests retire to cabins with tasteful Western décor, kick off muddy boots on the back porch and sink into rocking chairs to watch the sunset. Tip: The Buffalo and the Butterfield Stage cabins are the best rooms to book for log-framed or converted wagon beds.”

Making Time for Horses in Life…When There’s NEVER Enough Time

A decade ago, if we were asked to name the single universal hurdle that most people must clear in order to have horses in their life, we might have said, “Money.” I think that is changing.

Make no mistake, riding horses, buying horses, and caring for horses is still an expensive hobby/habit/obsession/passion…but these days, I find those who wish for a few hours in the barn or on the trail are inhibited less by their bank account and more by depleted time stores. With all that we do, with all that we have, with globalization, world travel, smashed glass ceilings, and working parents, we have little time for much else outside the daily to-dos. And perhaps even more than money, horses require time.

So how do we put on the brakes in the middle of heavy traffic? How do we cut speed when we’re surrounded by others traveling a million-miles-an-hour? In her bestselling, you-CAN-get-there-from-here-book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, author and midlife horsewoman (against the modern-day-working-mom odds) Melinda Folse provides valuable ideas for making room and making time for horses…in a crowded life where there’s NEVER enough time. (You can order your copy of Melinda’s book from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always free—CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.)

Try this exercise from THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES and get started “clearing your own trail” today…so you can be riding tomorrow:

1  Track your time use in a journal for a full week. At the end of the week, group your entries into the following categories:



HOME (household tasks and errands)

PEOPLE (family and friends)

PERSONAL MAINTENANCE (bathing, dressing, personal appointments, and tasks)

SELF (activities that renew you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually)

Tally the total time spent each week in each category. These numbers reveal where your priorities are right now. Is this a life of balance and joy? What adjustments do you need to make? What do you wish your priorities were?

3  Now reorder your priorities to reflect the “horsey” life you want to lead in terms of how you spend your time. Use this new list as your guide as you start to enforce your new set of priorities by saying “No,” scheduling less, and canceling engagements until you reach a balance of time and choice that reflects your personal values and who you want to become.

Find more fun, easy-to-implement advice on finding horses again, or for the very first time, in THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES by Melinda Folse.


And check out the great videos about how horses can bring fun, fulfillment, fitness, and friendship into your life by clicking on the Vodpod Featured Videos widget on the right side of this page.

The Four “F Words” of Midlife Horsemanship

TSB author Melinda Folse delves into the four “F Words” of Midlife Horsemanship—Fun, Friendship, Fitness, and Fulfillment—in her bestselling book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES (available in print, Kindle, and ePub formats). Melinda’s book is the ultimate source of self-help for the dreamer who always wanted a horse but never had a chance to have one, or the grown-up-girl who used to ride but gave it up for career and family….only to find herself back in the saddle once the kids go to college.

Now, you can hear a little bit from Melinda and other midlife horsewomen about why they’ve made horses part of their focus now that their Life, Part Two, has begun. Check out these short videos highlighting the four “F Words” of Midlife Horsemanship—what is it YOU’RE looking for?

Get your copy of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES from the TSB online bookstore where shipping in the US is always FREE, and where you can get 15% off your entire order now through the holidays!





THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES Featured in October Issue of HORSE & RIDER Magazine–Check It Out!

THE SMART WOMAN'S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES by Melinda Folse is featured in the October issue of HORSE & RIDER Magazine.

TSB author Melinda Folse has provided the ultimate guide for women who have found themselves in “midlife,” with empty nests, and dusty (horsey) dreams sitting high up on a shelf behind the (possibly ex) husband’s power tools. Her book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES is an intelligent, funny, honest look at all that it means to turn (somewhere around) 40 and realize you haven’t done half the things you’ve always wanted to…and how there’s no reason why galloping across an open meadow, with the wind in your face, the sun at your back, and a horse’s mane whipping before you, can’t be part of the SECOND half of your life.

Six self-discovery exercises from Melinda’s book are featured in the October issue of HORSE & RIDER Magazine, due on sale everywhere September 27. Pick up a copy and check it out!

And order your copy of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES from the TSB bookstore today, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

TSB Author Melinda Folse Featured on THE HORSE SHOW WITH RICK LAMB

Melinda Folse, author of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, spent an hour chatting with Rick Lamb, host of television and radio’s hit show THE HORSE SHOW WITH RICK LAMB (Rick is also the author of HUMAN TO HORSEMAN–a fabulously written book about his journey from greenhorn to knowledgeable horse owner and the famous trainers and clinicians he’s spent time with over the years).

Melinda and Rick talked about the stage of our journey we know as “midlife” and how “reflection,” and time management play hugely into our ability to make horses part of our day-to-day existence. Horses at midlife, whether your ride them or not, provide quality relationships we often can’t find in our human counterparts. They give us reason to pause in the middle of a busy day, and reason to rush home after work at the end of the week.

Melinda and Rick touch upon important aspects of midlife horsemanship such as finding the right horse for you where you are now; facing (and dealing with) fear of horses and riding even though you love them, using tips from Mary Wanless, John Lyons, and Matt Johnson; and how horses can make you a better person and provide a means for “giving back” to society.

Don’t miss this intelligent and inspiring conversation between two of the horse industry’s most thoughtful and talented authors. Check out Melinda Folse on THE HORSE SHOW WITH RICK LAMB and don’t forget to order your copy of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, available at the TSB bookstore,where shipping in the US is always FREE.


And visit Melinda’s online “Midlife Horse” community, where you can find sisterly support, tips, advice, and good laughs on Facebook: