Meet Kendra and her horse, Topper, the horse formerly known as Lyle. Why the name change? She asked, he answered. The rest, is mind-opening history.

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Ok, now we’re going to step off the trail into an area many of you may think is just plain weird. Others may theorize that I’ve fallen on my head one too many times without a helment. Still others — and this, I think, may be the fastest growing group of horse enthusiasts out there — will know (on some level) exactly what I’m talking about.


The topic? Animal Communication.In Chapter 13 of The Smart Woman’s guide to Midlife Horses, I tell a story about Kendra and Topper.


In a nutshell, Kendra and her horse, which she called “Lyle” were consistent high performers in Western Pleasure. Then Lyle just quit performing. Wouldn’t work, didn’t try, all the spark was gone. Kendra ruled out all the usual causes and finally, although skeptical (she was a law student, need I say more?) consulted an animal communicator. The communicator told her, among many other amazing things, that her horse preferred the name, “Topper.” Curious about this, Kendra went back through his pedigree and indeed, found several versions of “Topper.” She changed Lyle’s name to “Topper” and he immediately returned to his old showy self.


I thought this was an interesting story when I first heard it. And I’m just woo-woo enough to realize that there are lots of things going on in the world we don’t fully understand or realize. And it is a well-known fact that we don’t even use a fraction of all our brains come hard-wired to be able to do. But the more I dug around in the subject — mostly during my own frustration with my horse’s unexplainable misbehavior, the more people I began to turn up who know and acknowledge that indeed, our horses do have a lot of  things to tell us, if only we learn how to listen.

With the release of the recent movie “Buck,” a documentary on the life and times of legendary “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman, interest in the topic of “horse whispering” is enjoying a revival. However, as anyone who has ever had a close relationship with a horse will tell you, this is not a new idea. The big news here, I think, is that animal communication is not something only a few people are gifted with.

That’s right. I’m going to climb right out on this limb. Don’t saw it off just yet. It turns out we all have this ability — and it’s been there waiting for us to “discover”  for a very long time .  In fact, experts I interviewed for The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses (Chapter 13, “From the Horse’s Mouth”) agreed that this very special connection between human and equine consciousness goes all the way back to ancient times. Early Greeks and Celts all knew of — and celebrated— this wondrous connection.

The type of communication we have with our horses can vary wildly, depending on the human and, I suppose, depending on the horse. On one end of the spectrum, there’s the innate sense of “feel” all the great horsemen and women will tell you is crucial to success with a horse. On the other end, well, there are some who are able to have full-blown, Mr. Ed style mental exchanges with their horses and other animals that are no different than some of the conversations we have with each other. I know. It’s a little weird. And it sounds like some kind of  Dr. Doolittle fantasy, but by now I’ve talked with enough of these folks — and been shocked enough at their accuracy — that I know there’s something to it. I think it is also an ability everyone comes hard wired with, but the degree to which we can access it varies with other factors no one can quite identify. Which is a fancy way of saying I have no idea why some people can do it and some can’t. And for so many others, like me, we know it’s there, but it’s just a little bit beyond our current mental reach.

The trick, most animal communicators agree, is learning to quiet our chattering minds enough to “dial in” this frequency (or “feel” if you’re going with the traditional explanation for this phenomenon), much the same as we used to “dial in” a radio station (another marker of midlife is remembering radios and TVs with knobs). For some people this “signal” is clear and stong, like a static-free top FM station blaring through your speakers. For others it is a faint, warbly connection that drifts in and out like that distant city station when you’re winding your way along dusty rural roads.

Want to know more? Check out the animal communication resources in the  back of the book, or post a comment here, on Facebook, or reply on Twitter — and let’s start a conversation! It seems like everyone who understands that this communication is going on all the time whether we are aware of it or not has a different way of experiencing it, a different way of “dialing it in,” and some great stories to tell about what they learned “from the horse’s mouth.”

Saddle Up! Your Midlife Horse is Waiting!

Happy Trails!


“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.” Buck Brannaman

News Projects The Smart Woman's Guide to Midlife Horses Women and Horses


by Melinda Folse (formerly Melinda Folse Kaitcer) Order it now at!

What a profound statement from Dan “Buck” Brannaman in the riveting documentary, “Buck,” now showing in theaters everywhere (learn  more at . Go see it and reply to this post with your favorite quote! Free “Saddle Up Your Midlife Horses” t-shirt to the first five who respond!

What is most interesting to me about this statement from this celebrated “horse whisperer” is that, in the midlife horse experience we often completely miss this gift of pure gold.  It’s so easy to blame the horse when things don’t go as we hoped in this relationship. We deny what our horse’s  behavior may be telling us about who we are on the inside. Or, paraphrasing Buck and before him, Ray Hunt, and before him, Tom Dorrance, “horse problems” almost always turn out to be horses with “people problems.”

That invaluable reflection from our ponies, girlfriends, is the essence of what we can learn from our midlife horses. And, whether we like it or want to admit it or not, you can’t fool them or change their opinion. Horses just call ’em as they see ’em . . . and it’s up to us to figure out what changes we need to make so we’ll like what they see in us!

What did my horse, Trace, tell me? (I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, but it does give context to my struggles, documented for all the world to see in my recent book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses.)  That I have an innate tendency to overthink, overachieve and overreact. That I am something of  a control freak and get upset when I can’t have my own way. That I am sensitive to others’ feelings and emotions, need a certain amount of sincere, positive feedback, and am happiest when I have a job to do or something new to learn. I don’t like being pushed around. There’s a certain amount of disrespect I’ll put up with from people if  I like them, but enough’s enough. And bullies bring out the  crazy in me.

Fortunately, my second horse, Rio,  shows me a sweeter, gentler reflection (if a little headstrong): I like to have fun, I’m sweet and committed (sometimes overcommitted) to doing the right thing, loyal as a dog, and my quirky personality gives me a knack for making people laugh — especially when things start to get too serious.


What does your midlife horse tell you? Don’t have a midlife horse, but wondering what’s going on in your inner landscape — and outward relationships? Get yourself one of these swishy-tailed mirrors and you won’t be wondering for long!

The Smart Woman's Guide to Midlife Horses by Melinda Folse (formerly Melinda Folse Kaitcer)

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Happy Trails!

Saddle Up! Your Midlife Horse is Waiting!