Horse help for “heavy” lifting — and leverage on life baggage

Audio Midlife Horses Events News The Smart Woman's Guide to Midlife Horses

I heard an interesting story yesterday that’s too good not to share. It came to me by way of Jennifer Fulton, a trainer and riding instructor in Aledo, Texas, who spends a lot of her time and professional energy working with women on the Midlife Horses trail.

We were discussing our upcoming panel discussion at the AmerEquine Festival of the Horse next weekend, and she told me about one of her students, a 60-year old woman who came to her about three years ago and wanted to learn how to ride.

“This woman had no confidence at all,” Jennifer relates. “Her posture, her body language, her whole demeanor was downcast. She was carrying a lot of “life baggage” and it was clearly weighing her down. And, in the beginning, her horse even tripped a lot!” But for some reason this woman was drawn to horses, and Jennifer noticed something in her spirit that seemed to be asking for a chance to break free of all that downward energy. So slowly but surely, Jennifer told me, the woman has literally lifted herself up by riding and spending time with her horse. “Her posture is now completely straight,” Jennifer says, beaming, “She’ll look you in the eye, and she never would do that before. I’ve watched her confidence is blossom — and it shows in everything she does — and even in how her horse carries himself now, as well.” Jennifer smiles. “You know, this is why I do what I do. I love to say to her, ‘Just look what you can do! Just look at what your horse can do!”

I don’t know about you, but this story gives me goosebumps — and it is the perfect example of how our midlife horses can help us get “unstuck” in whatever transition we’re facing — and break free of whatever may have been dragging us down for who knows how long — right here in the middles of our lives. And as one of my guest panelists at our upcoming AmerEquine presentation, Jennifer has plenty more to share where that one came from. Come learn more about the transformation in confidence horses can bring — and share your own story of what changes your horse has brought about in you! We’ll be on the John Justin Arena Seminar Stage Friday 5:30 – 6:15 and Saturday 1:30-2:15, and in the Equine Network booth in the exhibit hall all weekend (stop by and say Hi!)

And meanwhile, what in your life builds that kind of uplifting confidence? When you’re facing a transition, what do you need in order to move joyfully forward? How do you prepare yourself to meet challenges and melt obstacles? How do you honor your own uniqueness at every stage of life?

These are among the topics brewing as we plan future events and programming to follow the Dust Off Your Dreams retreat. We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, comments and suggestions. The dynamic team we’ve assembled is ready, willing, and able to move forward to our next stage — and we’ve even rounded up a few horses to help bring about the awareness and insight to make the goosebump-inducing difference you’ve been longing for.

Let us hear from you! Comment here, e-mail me privately at, join our Facebook community, or follow me on Twitter, and we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop for upcoming events and programs!

Meanwhile, back to the saddle . . . where “to know better is to do better!”

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

This just in, raising once again a topic very close to my confused middle-aged heart:

Anne Bondi, BHSI, SRT Director and member of the University of Sunderland Equestrian Study Group, summarized, “There is a huge amount of new technology becoming available to researchers in this field, which makes it very exciting, but the first challenge will be to harness this in order to find out what is ‘normal’ and ‘good’ when describing horse, saddle and rider interaction—we simply don’t know yet.” (Click here to read more about this breaking tacky news)

I don’t know about you, but this saddle conundrum is as fascinating to me as it is mystifying. Or, in a new corollary to the old joke about horse people, “show me three saddle fitters and I’ll show you three people who don’t agree on anything — and two people who can only agree that the third is dead wrong.”

If you, like me, struggle with the question of saddle fit . . . and unlike the old cowboys who just threw their favorite saddle on any horse they rode with whatever pad they happened to have and rode all day without another thought . . . you may be interested to follow this breaking news in the horse world I just gleaned from one of my favorite new haunts, Chronicle of the Horse.

The good news, I think, is that we’re at least trying to do better for our horses. And as Oprah likes to say, “when you know better, you do better.” And from my little vantage point in researching such tacky subjects for The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses — and through my own trials and errors — I’ve seen the HUGE difference in how a horse moves and how well the rider moves with him once the saddle fit is corrected.

Look for my upcoming post and photos from my visit to Ironstar Farms and the wisdom shared with me by the Schleese saddle rep — and later the same month, my interview, photos and YouTube post from my re-visit to the balanced ride concept (and personal epiphany) with western saddle maker Ron McDaniel of McDaniel Saddlery.

What do  you think? Who out there has saddle fit info, resources, or stories to share? Weigh in, everyone, so we can all know better — and do better!

Click on the order button to buy this book now!


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Did you get an E-reader this holiday season? Midlife horse owners embrace searchable horse info!

Book info News The Smart Woman's Guide to Midlife Horses
Click on the cover to order now!

I’ve heard (but I can’t remember where) that the E-reader was the most received gift this holiday season. And yes, great competition now abounds to the tried-and-true Kindle (now with its new Fire incarnation), and these puppies are all getting more affordable, easier to use and, offering us the options of searchable content and a way to bookmark and clip the ideas, thoughts and sections we want to remember from what we read, may just keep the margins of print books free of scrawled notes that mean little to anyone but us (Does anyone beside me read non-fiction with a pencil in one hand and a highlighter in the other?)

So what does this cultural phenomenon have to do with The Smart Guide to Midlife Horses? Everything, apparently. Here’s what our publisher had to say that made me do the holiday happy dance:

“Melinda Folse’s bestseller THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES is surely ushering in a new generation of horse-related books. Her book’s appeal to the readers of ebooks—considered by some to be the future of book publishing—is apparent as sales in digital format have skyrocketed! We are thrilled that the book’s message and content translates so well across multiple platforms, print and digital. Melinda’s book is one of the first of its kind to offer great educational content, along with great stories and a few laughs, in a format suitable for the midlife woman on the move.”

So, speaking from one cultural phenomenon (Boomer women and their Midlife Horses) to another (the proliferation of e-readers) all I have to say is WooHoooooooo! And of course, thank you to all who purchased my book this year — in its print or digital format (I’ve heard several people say they bought it both ways because it’s faster to find specific information and resources with the searchable feature of the e-book, but they still prefer the print version to sit and read).

If you’d like to purchase The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses for your new Kindle, click here. Got a different E-reader? No worries, as our friend Clinton Anderson would say. Click here to purchase The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses in other e-book formats.

And speaking of Clinton, while you’re there, be sure to check out Clinton Anderson’s Lessons Well Learned, also now available in e-book formats! Getting to co-write this book with Clinton was one of the best assignments a horse crazy aspiring author could ever hope for — and Clinton’s stories and experiences with horses and people are as fascinating and enlightening as they are entertaining!

So . . . now what? As this fabulous year draws to a close, I’m catching my breath a bit, getting more content loaded on my newly revamped website, and planning a 2012 blog calendar filled with tips, resources, ideas and insights to help make 2012 your Year of the (Midlife) Horse.

Want to come along? Subscribe to this blog (comments always welcome!), shoot me an email, join our Facebook community, give us a Tweet, or share on our YouTube channel when something interesting happens or occurs to you on the Midlife Horses trail. Above all, please feel free to share your victories, challenges, questions and observations with the diverse online community we’re gathering here. It’s your life, Part Two! With Horsepower!

Happy New Year!

Lessons Well Learned

Clinton Anderson Projects

Sharing the dream — and relentless effort— behind Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship to help empower everyday horseowners to achieve extraordinary results:

In his latest book, renowned Aussie trainer and clinician Clinton Anderson reveals through his own personal stories, the lessons he has learned on the way to becoming one of the most respected authorities on horse training in the world. From meager beginnings as a skinny kid who didn’t know the first thing about horses, to a young aspiring trainer studying at the feet of two of Australia’s top horseman, to his current standing-room-only tours and sold-out clinics across America, Clinton Anderson has changed the lives of millions of horse owners looking for a better way to building the kind of partnership every horse owner dreams of.

Through interviews, personal observations, countless questions only a frustrated horse owner would know to ask, we developed the content for this book to not only follow the progression of Clinton’s life and experiences, but also to tuck in tuck in the lessons, tips, observations and special insights that readers at all levels could find useful and enlightening, regardless of where they are on the horsemanship journey. After countless hours of in-depth conversations, editorial finagling, and relentless attention to detail, all brought to life by the spectacular photography talent of Darrell Dodds, Lessons Well Learned is a product Clinton and I are proud to present to our readers.

Ranked in Amazon’s top 10,000 for the first two weeks following its release and landing squarely in the top 20 books in three different categories, Lessons Well Learned  is still enjoying a 5-star Amazon customer rating,  and its kudos are telling us we hit the mark!

Take a look at what readers are saying about Lessons Well Learned:

November 18, 2009
“Clinton Anderson’s Best Book Yet: It’s a GREAT guide to the progression of Clinton’s training method. . .it is so well-organized and will make a terrific reference manual for those of us who want to go back and fill in the “holes” in our horses’ educations.”

November 26, 2009
Finally a book that encourages trainers too!!!
Clinton Anderson has the easiest program by far for me to show my clients how I work with their horses, thus they can continue learning and teaching their horse when they leave. . .Great product Clinton! Thank you for not going over the same boring thing like other authors! Any professional in the business, or any new horse owner will be able to use your concepts, and get a better working communication with their horse as well as the horse industry as a whole!

January 26, 2010
Helps you think like a successful trainer
Clinton is one of the best, most effective trainers in the world and this book gets you into his head: how he thinks and why he does things the way he does. . . . If you’re serious about improving your horsemanship skills, this book deserves a place on your shelf.

Friday January 01, 2010
“I have this book and it’s been really helpful to me. Some of the things this book said repeat through my head over and over when I’m thinking about or working with horses.”

Monday January 11, 2010
“I read your book Clinton and am going back and reading various parts again and again! Absolutely loved it! Very impressive! I enjoyed the story of your experience at the beginning of each chapter.

Friday January 15, 2010
“I really enjoyed your book; especially the lesson about learning your limits. Thank you for your willingness to be honest about the fact that everyone including you has limits. It would have been easy to avoid using that lesson in the book, but you included anyway.”