Today’s the Day!

by Melinda Folse (formerly Melinda Folse Kaitcer)

I woke up this morning the same way you do on any big day, in the foggy recollection that something exciting and long awaited was about to happen. This, friends, is the day my new book, The Smart Women’s Guide to Midlife Horses: Find Meaning Magic and Mastery in the Second Half of Life finally hits the streets. WooHoooooooo!

It’s been a long time coming, starting on the day I was riding with my friend Teresa (you’ll meet her and her horse, Lladro, in an upcoming post). I had just moved my horse to a wonderful place that was home to about 75 horses, and I couldn’t help but notice the number of women out there who were my age and older.

When I remarked on this she explained. “We have lots of women out here who just love being with their horses. Some are the cleaners— they come out and wash their horse, scrub their buckets, and their stalls are cleaner than most houses. We have the groomers. They brush, shampoo, condition, apply hoof dressing, and wash their horses’ faces. Some do groundwork — they walk with their horses, hand graze, round pen and lunge. Others of us ride, some just for fun and some working on learning new things, and a few serious ones who go to a show every weekend. We have all come to the place in our lives that our kids are grown, we have a little disposable income, and this is where we want to be. Some of us have husbands, some don’t; some husbands participate, some just come to the parties. But every day, or as often as we can, we come here for our ‘horse fix’.”

Then I remember asking the question — and getting the answer that started this book (even though I didn’t realize it at the time):


“What do you think it is about horses that make us want to have them at this time of life?” I asked.


She thought for a moment and then replied, “You know that look on a baby’s face when he tastes chocolate for the very first time?”


So here we are, some three years and many many miles (and lots of chocolate) later, with this beautiful book created for this special group of women.

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

Check it out (and place your order!) at www.horseandriderbooks and please let me hear from you!  My goal was to create the book I was looking for when I came back to horses in the middle of my life. I was looking for more than “how to” . . . I was interested in doing things right, of course, and I wanted to learn how to find the experts I needed and to know what questions to ask, but beyond “how to,”  I wanted to understand “why to” — and to make sense of it all in the context of my own life and experience and goals.   I also wanted to hear from others like me—to learn from them, laugh with them and sometimes cry and complain with them. It is not an easy journey — and there is a lot to know and some of it is not pretty. But I’ll have to say it’s all been worth it. And just like that first taste of chocolate, an unexpected delight!


So if you’re a “woman of a certain age” (or not! All are certainly welcome — even the men out there just trying to understand this obsession), whether or not you have a horse, I invite you to join the community we’ve created around this book.  Stop by as often as you can to join the fun, laughter, camaraderie and joy only midlife horses can bring. Find us on Facebook,TwitterYouTube (please send your videos–even camera phone!– and I’ll post them!) and Flickr (send photos of you with your horse!). This is our free Midlife Horses support community — a place for us all to share what we’ve learned, commiserate, celebrate and, to the greatest extent possible, laugh our butts off in the pure joy only midlife horses can bring. I’ve built it — now, y’all come!

Saddle Up! Your Midlife Horse is Waiting!






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

One comment

  1. Pam Hanback says:

    Hi Melinda,

    Congratulations on your book! When I saw the title, I knew it was the book for me, as I too am in my late forties and recently decided it was time to make all those horsey dreams come true. I pre-ordered the book on Amazon, and it arrived in the mail last week. With having my own first horse, though, I hadn’t had time to read it until yesterday. The time suddenly opened up after my horse bucked me off for the first time, and now I am lying in bed, stiff and sore, with more than a few hurt feelings and my wounded pride. I picked up your book today and read it cover to cover, hoping for a diversion and maybe some insight into why this happened. What I got from it was so much more. I laughed, and I cried, seeing that so much of what you have been through is what I have experienced as well. I too bought my first horse on an impulse, thinking that a trained horse is a trained horse, right? She will behave for me just as she behaved for her previous owner, right? I will learn from her, and I will be a better rider for it. She will gladly pick up her correct leads and we will sail around the arena just like she did in the video I saw. Even better, we will experience beautiful sunset trail rides together–never minding that she’s only five and has not done much trail riding before.

    I was so naive! Reality is so different from what I imagined. This horse rides perfectly for my trainer, but with me, she stops and stalls, pretends she doesn’t know what I want, and pulls straight for the grass anytime we go outside the arena where I’m forced to fight with her in front of the whole barn.

    I’ve long suspected that it is my inexperience and lack of a confident, forceful attitude that is the cause of the problem, but your book really brought it home (hence the tears). I now realize I need to work on my ability to set boundaries and enforce them, both in my personal life and with my horse. In many aspects of life, I too often let my lack of confidence in my ability to ask for something the right way allow me to accept less than perfect tries as “good enough.” And, as you described, I too am a sucker for the nose on my shoulder, just asking for a rub.

    I’ve also realized that it is not just riding lessons I need, but professional help in learning to communicate with my horse from the ground up. I am resolved to finding the right people to help make this happen. Thank you for sharing your journey–it is so helpful to know I’m not the only woman experiencing these mid-life issues. The book is also chock full of practical tips and information as well, and it will enjoy a prominent place on my bookshelf for years to come.

    Congratulations again,


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