Two Ears Tuesday 

Excuse me… there’s something in my watering hole! 


Last week our outfitters, Mel and Paige, took a few Airb&b clients to Galisteo Basin. This red painted desert ride wanders by a few old stock tanks left over from the original ranch lands. While the horses drink and splash, the dogs jump in to cool off. Chloe, the rather large black beast in the middle of it all, is a three year old Black Russian Terrierr we adopted two months ago. 

In January our 14 year old male BRT, Dodger, passed away leaving a huge hole in our hearts. Ten days later a female in Virginia came up for adoption. We flew out to meet the Russian beauty and instantly fell in love. Our journey home turned into quite an adventure when the airline refused to transport her due to over weight issues. Instead we made an impromptu road trip for two and a half days back to New Mexico. 

It took a few months of conditioning for Chloe to slowly gain the strength and stamina needed to be a trail dog. She has been going on training rides from the ranch, but this spring day was her first time to trailer out and go for about three hours with clients. “She loved every minute,” Mel told me later, “but she bounded into the stock tanks to swim.” I don’t think Risa, Paige’s Appaloosa mare,  was too entertained by Chloe’s attempt at fishing. 

This big, shaggy, wet mop of a dog stole the show that day. You can even see in the video where Rain, the bay mare, was tying to splash Chloe when she wades by. She has become quite the addition to our rag tag pack of trail dogs. 

Two Ears Tuesday

I love when someone I follow posts an amazing Two Ears photo. This inspiring picture came from Chris Cox, a trainer that I have been following for a few years. He’s won the Road to the Horse series several times and stars in Chris Cox Horsemanship that airs on RFDTV. I personally like the “Problem Horse Series,” where he visits ranches across the country to work with horses and their owners. After working with rescue horses for the last decade, problem horses are right up my alley. Cox’s training style is in line with many others that I have learned from, like Ray Hunt, Julie Goodnight, and Stacy Westfall. Some call it natural horsemanship, I call it practical training.

In a world where training schedules are over booked I appreciate that Chris took time out of his day to slow down and savor nature’s splendor. This picture not only captures a beautiful Texas sunset but also a moment between a man, his horse, and God. He shared this personal peace with his Facebook fans, giving them a glimpse of the man behind the brand; something that many professionals rarely get to do amongst all the sponsor advertisment. This rare connection between fan and horseman has ignited a deeper respect and enthusiasm for Chris Cox Horsemanship. I plan on a training video binge this weekend. 

” I had the Best seat tonight to watch Gods work.” ~ Chris Cox

The Barn Doesn’t Care

I came across this poem and instantly fell in love. “Yoga doesn’t care,” is my mantra when a guilty feeling starts to crawl its way to the surface.

Yoga Doesn’t Care: A Disclaimer that Should be Posted in Every Studio. 

By Janne Robinson

(Abbreviated version)

Yoga doesn’t care what your hair looks like.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are vegetarian, if you eat meat or know what Kombucha is.

Yoga doesn’t care when the last time you practiced was—yesterday, six months ago, never.

Yoga doesn’t care what kind of mat you have, brand new or eating away at itself.

Yoga doesn’t care if you show up cranky or exhausted.

Yoga doesn’t care if you wear mala beads.

Yoga doesn’t care what the tag on the back of your pants says.

Yoga doesn’t care if you don’t know what yoga means.

Yoga doesn’t care how much money you have, what house you live in, what car you drive.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are flexible.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fall over in Trikonasana.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fart during practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you ever make it into head stand.

Yoga doesn’t care if you feel uncomfortable saying Namaste and Om.

Yoga doesn’t care if you drink super food smoothies or drink coconut water.

Yoga doesn’t care if choose the back corner or the front row of the room to practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you stay to meditate.

Yoga doesn’t care if you can put your leg behind your head, or lick your own ass.

Yoga doesn’t care if you know what Ujjayi breath is.

Yoga doesn’t care if you have a man bun.

Yoga doesn’t care if your monkey mind takes over.

Yoga doesn’t care how old you are, the color of your hair doesn’t affect your practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you juice or cleanse.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shake the entire 60 minutes.

Yoga doesn’t care if you complete a 30 day challenge.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shop at whole foods.

Yoga doesn’t care if you remember to shave your armpits.

Yoga is just happy you show up.

Too often I mentally kick my self for not stepping onto my mat for days. I know that a simple fifteen minute session would make all the difference in my day. Instead, I’ll throw out some excuse about time and rush about creating more tension. When I finally find my self back in Tadanasna, if only for a few minutes, I remember “yoga doesn’t care.” It also couldn’t give two pennies about when I show up, how I look, what mood I’m in, what I ate the night before. It’s just happy that I showed up.

I believe “yoga” can be replaced by many words. Running, biking, blogging…. the list could run on. The “word” is what makes you happy when you show up, in what ever state. At first I wanted to replace yoga with my horse, but that didn’t seem to encompass the whole feeling. It’s more than just one horse, it’s the barn full of horses. It’s getting up early to the barn to watch the sunrise. It’s sipping a cider at the barn after afternoon chores. It’s sneaking to the barn late at night just to check in on sleepy ponies. The barn is my happy place.

The Barn doesn’t care.

The barn doesn’t care if your hair is in a ball cap.

The barn doesn’t care if you wear Tuff jeans or Kerrit breaches.

The barn doesn’t care if your horse is purebred or backyard-yard bred.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re eight or eighty.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re finishing a lesson, going on a trail ride, or prepping for a show.

The barn doesn’t care if there is an eight horse slant with living quarters or a two-horse stock parked in the back.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re Parelli, Classical, Cowboy, Ray Hunt, Julie Goodnight, or Self trained.

The barn doesn’t care if you can spend all day or just enough to finish chores.

The barn doesn’t care what car you pulled up in.

The barn doesn’t care how many saddles you have in the tack room.

The barn doesn’t care if your best friend has two legs or four.

The barn is just happy you showed up.

I’ve never regretted the time spent at the barn or on my mat. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to spend 10 minutes in Sun Salutations if I don’t have an hour for a class. It is ok to groom a horse for ten minutes if I don’t have an hour to saddle up. The moments that make us happy are always there waiting for us. Essentially it isn’t yoga or the barn that’s just happy that I showed up, it’s me.

I am just happy that I showed up.

Two Ears Tuesday : A Few Firsts

What a wonderful spring like Tuesday to celebrate a few firsts. Today was my mom’s first ride after a full shoulder replacement and our new puppy’s first time out on trail with the horses. Today’s between the ears shot captured a carefree woman on a big paint and big black baby leading the way. 


After her bionic joint was popped in, my mom patiently waited almost two months before she could get back in the saddle. Although she didn’t have the doctors express permission, I knew she needed the mental therapy that only comes from riding. I threw her saddle on our rocking horse Cisco, jumped on my bay mare Rain and ponied the little red dun Mia. We were about ten minutes away from the barn when I heard my mom sigh. It’s a sigh that realeases all worry, tension, stress and melts away all the weight of the world. I knew she need to ride. She’s even taking her own Two Ears shots. 

As we wandered down the road the big puppy bounded past us with her tail wagging as fast as it could go. I use the term “puppy” loosely because Chloe is an eighty pound, three year old Black Russian Terrier that we adopted only a six weeks ago. Although she’s a big girl, Chloe scatters her toys about the house like a toddler and wakes me up every morning with boundless energy. Like any kiddo she needs a lot of activities to keep her entertained and worn out. After today’s big adventure she now lays at my feet sleeping like a babe. ​​​I was so proud of the Chloe bug today. Chloe’s First Ride and she never wandered too far, she’s learning to respect the horses space and absolutely loves to lead the way. 

​​I’ll end my post with a little YouTube Two Ears video, Two Ears Tuesday, as we head back home with happy horses, tired dogs, and light hearts. 

Two Ears Tuesday Valentine’s Day Special


Happy Valentine’s Day! I chose today’s between the ears shot because of the love story behind the picture. A little over a year ago my mom came home from a buisness trip and excitedly explained that she had met my Tennessee twin. On the van from the hotel to the airport she saw the young blond thumbing through a few pictures of horses on her phone. As they chatted Katie told her about growing up with horses out side of Nashville and her upcoming trip to New Mexico with her boyfriend Derrick. Naturally Mel invited the pair to stay at our ranch for a few days and take them on a day ride. 

On a stormy October day we trailered out to Galisteo Basin with Katie and Derrick. I love this area for its sandy arroyos, painted desert walls and unbroken vista views. Although Katie had been horseback all her life, much like I had, Derrick had only been riding for a year. His natural ability was evident as he became buddies with our Quarterhorse draft cross, Teddy. Derrick understood that horses are Katie’s passion and he invested his time into her passion because he loved her. 


He not only learned to ride but proposed to her the night before. This was their first ride together as finances, as two people starting a life together with a mutual equine infatuation. 

I still keep in touch with my cowgirl sister, her fiancé, and their budding equestrian business. There’s is the quintessential Valentine’s Day story of two souls falling in love from the back of a horse. 

Equi Yogi: Foundation

I’ve embarked on a new endeavor. When our yoga instructor Nicole moved to Kansas City I decided to take over her position. Following in Nicole’s footsteps, I signed up for the ten month, 200 hour course at Grassroots Yoga here in Albuquerque. For years I have been doing my best downward dog in class and adding in a YogaGlo session to my work out plan. The transition into instructor should be as easy as a vinyasa flow. Although my natural flexibility and strength has carried me through many sessions, this course proved that I have mearly been splashing in the toddler pool of yoga.  

The yoga philosophy can be as intimidating as the deep end of the swimming pool with a sky scraping diving board. To even contemplate the idea of standing on that high dive and delving into the true depth of yoga, I must first learn to swim. With a head overflowing and body aching, I ended my first weekend of classes with one solid precept, everything in life must start with a foundation. In yoga that foundation is Tadasana, or Mountain Pose.

Tadasana, the act of standing… so that all other asanas can be achieved.

Tadasna, the act of standing, grounds the feet, engages the shins and thighs, stacks the pelvis, lifts the belly, broadens the collarbone, draws back the shoulder blades, lengthens the neck and aligns the head so that all other asanas can be achieved. When one element is left out the body sinks, much like swimming without kicking. No matter what plank or dancing warrior I enter into, every pose has elements of Tadasna. When I’m wobbling in a standing asana, I can refer back to Tadasana to adjust and stabilize my balance. This asnasa gives me a place to trust in order to achieve more complicated poses and the confidence to push myself through intimidating asanas, such as Half Moon.

Groundwork, the act of establishing communication between horse and rider… so all other schooling can be achieved.

As I lay in shivasana one morning, waiting for my body to absorb the practice, I started to contemplate the similarities of yoga and horse training. With any new horse I start training with groundwork, because it builds a foundation out of many different elements, much like Tadasana. Groundwork, the act of establishing communication between horse and rider, grounds the feet from rearing, engages the legs in movement, lifts the belly to elongate the back in work, and aligns the head so all other schooling can be achieved. If one element is rushed then the horse can become confused and panic like a drowning swimmer. So when my horse refuses to step into a stream, I can refer back to the elements of a well built foundation in order to adjust and stabilize the forward movement. This trust built between horse and rider will give them both the confidence to push through uncomfortable situations, such as crossing a water obstacle. 

Whether it is diving into the pools of yoga or crossing a puddle on horseback, with a solid foundation neither will seem so deep. A foundation is formed slowly, methodically, and by mastering one element at a time. Once established it will be the cornerstone of all other challenges and the basis to return to. The more I learn about the philosophies of yoga the more it coincides with my philosophies of horse training, and both can be applied to life. Live in the now, don’t be in a hurry, and kindness is the root of communication. I am excited to further my understanding of the correlation between horse and rider as I finish my instructor course. Please keep a look out for more Equi Yogini musing. 

Namaste horses

Two Ears Tuesday

This winter has been tough on my riding schedule. It’s been nonexistent. I love riding with snow crunching under hooves and fat flakes catching on eyelashes,  much like the day when I captured this lazy winter storm looming over the mountains. I live for these days, but they have been few and far between this year. Usually the afternoon sun peaks out, transforming snow into a sloppy, slippery mess unpleasant to walk in and undearable to ride through. However, I keep trudging through muck and mire, waiting for when the world is covered again in a blanket of white and the stillness is broken by breath puffing around my horse like dragon vapor. This winter can be a bit like life, mucking though the slop to grasp a magical moment, no matter how fleeting.