I’ve been looking into horses’ eyes lately. Literally and figuratively. In November, l’ll be talking at Equine Affaire about the horse’s senses, how their view of the world impacts how they behave, and how we can use that knowledge to interact with them with understanding and effectiveness. Sight is the […]

Your Horse’s Vision


Tonka and I have been jumping. Granted, the “jumps” are this high.   I’m at a hunter/jumper barn, where there are always jumps out, including the easiest of cross-rails.   But my little dressage horse isn’t ready for those cross-rails, and honestly, jumping over them isn’t a goal of mine. So, […]

Tonka is Enjoying Raised Pole Exercises


Behavior doesn’t happen out of the blue. Spooks don’t happen for no reason. You – the rider – might not see, hear, smell, or otherwise notice what your horse is reacting to, but it’s there. Sometimes what the horse is worried about is something harmless. If you have a good […]

Spooking Is Communication. Listen!



The weather was perfect. It was a good day to go for a ride at Kim’s. Tonka didn’t know where we were going, but when I led him out of the barn and he saw the trailer with the ramp down, he practically led me on. It’s an easy twenty […]

My Horse Likes Trailering


Last week, my friend Emily came to visit.  Emily is brilliant. She’s a professor who teaches thought-provoking classes like one that delves into how lessons learned from epic ancient poetry can help defeat despotism. We first met at Vershire Riding School in 1973. When we see each other, which isn’t often, […]

Slo-mo Gait Evaluation


Even Tonka, a most sensible horse, will spook. When I first got him, when scared, he’d scoot sideways, then, after a high-headed giraffe imitation, if he deemed whatever up ahead was scary, he’d back up. He backed me into stonewalls and trees. He would have backed off a cliff if […]

Riding A Spook



A horse’s health is intricately tied to what they eat and what they weigh. When Tonka moved barns at the end of May, his diet changed. Both stables provided the right amount of high-quality hay, but it was different. The first was mostly timothy, the other, grass. One supplier from […]

Horse Weight Tape


Tonka was almost eight years old when I purchased him, and he was barefoot. He’d always been barefoot. His hoof walls were strong with nary a crack or chip. They were beautifully shaped and all four matched. No weird angles. All the same size. Those gorgeous hooves were a selling […]

Tonka’s Shoes


If there’s anything that can bring home the idea that the natural world has more levels of complexity to it than we pay attention to (or know much about), it’s what you hear in a field by a marsh in Maine in late summer. This is what it sounds like […]

This Wonderful, Complex World