If Tonka were a dog, I’d say that he has perfect loose leash walking manners.   Once in awhile, when he lags behind, I gently pull on his halter and he catches up. He doesn’t drag me to grass – he knows graze, head up and let’s go behaviors, which he […]

Walking Past Scary Things


Now that Lily’s gone, Scooter is finding his new normal. His job for ten years was to be Lily’s sidekick. Follow her around. Distract her when she got too serious. Observe her brilliance. Not everything has changed. Scooter continues to indulge in his favorite pastime. Naps.   But I know […]

Helping Animals Adjust to Loss


I use checklists. I’ve already shared my hitching up checklist for you. I once thought I had that down and didn’t need to take pen to paper to X off the steps – and my trailer didn’t budge. I’d forgotten to remove the chocks from the wheels! Fortunately Tonka wasn’t […]

Trailer and Riding Gear Checklist



At some point during the fifteen years that Lily lived with me, I started calling her Good Dog Lily. I did that, not because she was, in the typical sense, a good dog. She was alarmist, hyper-aware, reactive to movement, a barker, an early-riser, an observer, not a cuddler. In […]

Good Dog Lily


  Most of us have had an aha! moment that has changed our lives, but few of us take that insight and change the world. Karen Pryor is one of those rare people who has. In the 1960s she was handed an obscure and technical manual that she was instructed […]

From Dolphins to Training Surgeons


Our second outing of the season was another schooling show. A recognized show is under the auspices of the United States Dressage Association, and people vie for points and regional and national championships. Schooling shows are run by clubs or venues, are more relaxed, and are a place to try […]

Looks Good In Red



There’s an expression about horses, and it’s always a compliment. That horse has the look of eagles. In 1937, a racing writer, Joseph A. Estes wrote a poem about Whirlaway, the famous racehorse: He was marked by god’s own giving And winged in every part: The look of eagles was […]

The Look Of Eagles?


I have a fondness for horse whiskers. They certainly make selfies ridiculously fun.   But they’re also an essential piece of anatomy that the horse relies on. Each whisker has a nerve ending that conveys information to the horse – input that they can’t get in other ways. A horse […]

The Importance of Whiskers


On Sunday, Tonka and I entered our first dressage competition since this past August. We spent most of last year dealing with difficult to diagnose and treat pain – it started in January of 2016 with bursitis in the poll, moved to damage to neck vertebrae, and continued on to […]

Getting Riding Fit