Anyone who’s been around me at the stable knows that I’m obsessive about grooming my horse. I take pride in seeing a shiny coat and I enjoy the bonding and communication that happens during those long sessions of brushing.   But I also love seeing a tail filled with shavings because this tells me that […]

Shavings in the Tail

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Take your dog to a trainer and one of the behaviors that they’ll teach you is how to get your pet to come when called. A good trainer will teach you the reliable recall, one that your dog listens to despite distractions, like bicycles zipping by, or a piece of hamburger on the […]

The Reliable Recall, with a Horse

Hello, Tonka, what’s on your mind?   Peppermints.   Anything else? Nope. Just peppermints.   There’s still grass in the paddock. Why don’t you go graze? Nope. I’d rather have peppermints.   You got your peppermints during a riding workout. How about a hug instead? That’ll do.   note: that thing […]

A Conversation With Tonka

Three years ago, when I purchased Tonka, I did so thinking that he and I would be trail partners, and for the first year, walking through the woods was what we did. His previous owner told me that Tonka was good alone or with company and that proved true. The trails […]

The Inadvertent GO!

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Florida for a llama and alpaca handling course. Steve and I went down a day early because in that part of Florida it was the beginning of manatee season, an animal that I’ve so wanted to see in person. We hired Captain […]


This was my first impression of Nate.     Note the pinned ear, tense eye, wrinkles around the narrow nose and the clenched corners of the mouth. This is a horse with a message. He couldn’t be saying it any louder. DO. NOT. TOUCH. ME. If you did approach, more likely […]

Loving on Nate

It’s always good to get out of one’s comfort zone to further one’s education, and so when I heard about a camelid training course, I signed up. Last week I spent three days in Florida learning about these animals. Before I went, I knew little about alpacas and llamas. Once in their […]

Alpaca and Llama Training

I’m auditing the United State Dressage Federation’s L Judges Program. It’s an exacting course that leads to certification for those who want to be the arbiters of dressage tests in this country. A couple of weekends ago a few dozen of us watched and critiqued eight hours of video clips […]

The Perfect Horse

A round pen is an enclosure for horses that can be quite useful. It’s usually about 50 feet in diameter, big enough that the horse can move, but small enough that they can’t get too far away from you. It’s a safe place to start a youngster or do trick training. I […]

Joining-up or Giving Up?