and Equine Welfare Fund
5065 East Cedar Creek Drive
Cornville AZ 86325


Home of Wright-ESCT(tm) Equine Stress Control Therapy, PEAT Equestrian
Performance Coaching and Harmony
Horsemanship Classical Riding

March 2018

1.  "Communion" remains our February and March raffle print
2.  Neuroplasticity of the Equine Brain.
3.  The Lighter Side - Horse Terminology
4.  Art for Sanctuary Horses

BELOW:  "On Made in the Shade Trail" depicting Castle Rock in the Village of Oak Creek near Sedona.  Ink and water color sketch by Barbara Wright, available as paper print or print on canvas. 


Hock – the financial condition of all horse owners.

Stall – what your trailer rig does at rush hour in an unfamiliar city on the way to a big horse show. 

A bit – what you have left in your pocket after you’ve been to your favorite tack shop. 

Fence – a decorative structure built to provide your horse with something to chew on. 

Horse auction – what you think of having after your horse bucks you off. 

Pinto – a green coat pattern found on freshly washed light-colored horses left unattended for 2 minutes in a pasture. 

Well-mannered – a horse that hasn’t stepped on, bitten or kicked any human for a week. 

Rasp – an abrasive metal tool used to remove excess skin from one’s knuckles. 

Longeing or lunging – popular training method in which a horse exercises the human by spinning them in circles until dizzy. 

Gallop – customary gait a horse chooses when returning back to the barn. 

Nicely started – the horse longes but there is not enough health insurance in the world to even think about riding him. 

Colic – gastrointestinal distress in people after eating food at horse fairs and shows. 

Colt – what your mare gives you when you want a filly. 

Easy to load – only takes 3 hours, 4 men, a 50 lb. bag of oats, and a tractor with a loader. 

Easy to catch – in a 10 x 10 stall, that is. 

Easy rider – rides good in a trailer…not to be confused with “rideable.” 

Endurance ride – end result when your horse spooks and runs away with you. 

Hives – what you get when you receive the vet bill for your horse. 

Hobbles – walking gait of a human after their foot has been stepped on by a horse. 

Feed – expensive substance used to manufacture manure. 

Dog house – what you are in when you spend too much money on grooming supplies and pretty halters. 

Light cribber – we can’t afford to build any more fencing or box stalls for this buzz saw on 4 legs. 

3 gaited horse – a horse that trips, stumbles and falls. 

ABOVE:  Helios, a beautiful Spanish horse, by Barbara Wright.  Prints on Canvas available.  She also paint pets of all kinds as well as landscapes of the Sedona red rocks and the Verde Valley.  BELOW:  Pepe and Chloe, two special friends (Pepe RIP).


The equine art created at Harmony HorseWorks is available in original or print and proceeds ALL go to the support of rescue horses.  It helps pay for their hay, grain, medicines and supplements.  Whenever you purchase an original painting or a print, you help the horses and they send their nickers and neighs for your kindness.  Other works available are seen on-line at www.barbarawrightart.com.

Communion remains our March equine raffle print.  Three shimmering Akhal-Tekes spend quiet time dozing in quiet company.  Each $15 you donate to Harmony HorseWorks gets you one raffle ticket and you can enter as often as you like.  Checks are sent to the address in the left column of this newsletter.  The original painting, 30 x 40 inches, is also for sale and you can contact Barbara Wright regarding price and shipping.  The raffle print is 12 x 16 inches on canvas and is ready for hanging. Enter as often as you like and good luck!

Samples of Barbara Wrights' art are in the photo just below.


Paraphrasing Howard C. Cutler, M.D. in “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama: “The systematic training of the mind – the cultivation of happiness, the genuine inner transformation by deliberately selecting and focusing on positive mental states and challenging negative mental states is possible because of the very structure and function of the brain. “ On reading this, it occurred to me that is what we do to a horse when we administer Equine Stress Control Therapy (ESCT). We are moving the horse from “reaction” to “response” or from a negative mental state to a positive mental state. 

Horses and humans are hard-wired to respond on a survival level. Humans have evolved with brains with a big frontal cortex and have adaptive strategies that are not survival-related such as highly-developed social and learning skills. To a lesser degree, horses have these skills, too, but they have a much broader and more entrenched repertoire of hard-wired behaviors. This hard-wiring serves a horse well in the wild but interferes with domesticated life as a riding partner when it reacts instinctively instead of  responding to what humans desire it to do in what humans perceive to be a safe setting. The setting may appear altogether fear-inspiring to a horse. So we need to make it focus on positive mental responses and challenge his survival instincts that interfere with domesticated life. 

Happily, brains are adaptable and they can design new patterns, new combinations of nerve cells and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit message between nerve cells) in response to new input. This inherent capacity to change is called plasticity and is found in most mammalian brains above a certain level of development. This is the feature that ESCT taps into in the equine brain via the pulsing interrupt signal it creates, allowing the exchange of experience and information across the corpus callosum to take place without constant interference by fear-based reactivity. The left/right brain interaction stabilizes and reactions turn into more balanced responses. Soon the old neural pattern breaks down and a new one is set in place and that becomes the horse’s basis for memory and experience. The horse wants to instinctively move to safety and stability and does so with ESCT. 

ESCT can be likened to removing an unwanted slide out of a slide carousel and replacing it with a new one. When the horse experiences something, it searches through the carousel of slides and picks the one that most resembles the current situation and compares previous reactions and behaves accordingly. It does not have the ability to fast forward and imagine different outcomes or rewind and playback scenarios differently like humans do. It is reactive/responsive in the present moment without the language overlay, although it uses very expressive body language. ESCT moves the horse from reactivity to responsiveness in that tiny second during which the fear-interrupt signal is created with pulsing and “resets” the neural pattern of memory. 

In creating a fear-interrupt signal through gentle pulsing, ESCT gives the horse that moment of relief when the chemical changes in its brain can begin setting down the new neural network – tentatively at first and then more strongly with each pass of pulsing and release from pulsing. The speed of improvement is remarkable and lasting. 

In a sense, using ESCT cultivates the horse’s sense of well-being in a domesticated environment in which humans expect it to behave a certain way. In the wild, these re-learned responses might not serve it so well as its flight response would be at the every-ready against predators and dangerous situations of all kinds. In a horse with a highly activated automatic startle response that is stalled, ridden occasionally or moved from trailer to show to stall and sees everything as a threat to its very existence, ESCT provides the much needed release from fear. 

Does it work on all horses? No. There are instances where nothing can get through, as with brain injury, improper brain development or misuse of ESCT. But it does help in almost all instances and that is a testament to the willingness of the horse to work with its human partners. What the human needs to bring to the therapeutic process is patience, kindness and compassion. Without these motivators, the administration of ESCT cannot be called therapy.  (Barbara Wright, Inventor of ESCT).

ABOVE:  "Boynton Canyon" view from Chuckwagon Trail in West Sedona by Barbara Wright.  Pen and ink drawing.  Reprints available on paper, either with or without mat, or 8 x 10 inch canvas print.

Harmony HorseWorks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in good standing, FEIN 200763702.  We support horses in Colorado with donations and proceeds from ESCT products and PEAT therapy programs, as well as art by Barbara Wright.  We are partially funded by public donations.  Your donations are needed and welcome.