I’ve wanted to have long ears in my life for ages. However, donkeys and mules are a lifelong commitment (they can live 4 decades) and require specialized care. You can’t just pop one into your backyard. Happily for me, Jessica Gonzalez lives only 10 minutes up the road from me […]

Genius Donkey


It was bound to happen. You know we’d have to jump. Tonka is a dressage and trail horse. But we’re now at a hunter/jumper barn. There are always jumps in the ring. We’ve been using the poles for gymnastic work. Tonka enjoys it. A couple of times a month, the […]

Tonka Jumps


I spent this past weekend in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was a holiday weekend, the peak time for leaf peepers to visit the region to see the fall foliage. But I wasn’t there for that. I was here.   I was at SOLO for a weekend wilderness […]

Emergency First Aid For Horse People



When I train a horse to do a behavior, I care about more than whether they accomplish the task itself. I want them willing, relaxed and focused. If the mental attitude isn’t calm yet eager, then I stop and evaluate what’s going on. But that assessment isn’t easy and I’m […]

The Horse’s Bigger Picture


Dressage people call riding in the ring, “playing in the sandbox.” That’s just what we did on Sunday. For most of this year I didn’t think that Tonka was going well enough to compete, and the one show that we did go to confirmed that assessment. Recently, though, Tonka has […]

We’re Back in the Sandbox


For fifty years I’ve been trying to improve my riding skills. At this point I certainly know how I should be sitting, where my toes should be pointing, and to keep my elbows at my sides. I know it, but I can’t always do it. Like many women of a certain […]

Shorter Stirrups



Yesterday started out sunny and the two-acre field in front of our house was literally abuzz with bees. This landscape is a combination of blueberry barrens and overgrown lawn. It’s a bee, butterfly and firefly haven, and as scruffy as it looks from a distance, we’ll keep it that way. […]

Cold Bees


When I purchased Tonka (not quite six years ago), he went in a simple double-jointed snaffle with an oblong bean in the middle. This is considered one of the least intrusive bits that one can use. Tonka didn’t come with tack, so I tried to find a similar bit. After […]

A Change Of Bit


In August, I shared (in this blogpost) how Tonka was moving when I rode him. Instead of clear two and three-beat gaits, with moments of suspension, Tonka was altering his strides so that he didn’t put his full weight on his hocks and stifles. He was also moving so that […]

Suspension!