Effective trainers know that when a desired behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to happen again. For that reason, we’re thoughtful about paying attention to what the animal wants and timing the reward so that they make the connection between what they’ve done and the consequence. But behavior isn’t only learned […]

When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong


Tonka has been going well, and so I’m planning to take him to a couple of dressage shows later this summer. We’ll be doing First Level, Test 3. We’re used to having a whole dressage ring to ourselves to train in, but now we’re at a hunter/jumper barn, where there […]

H/J Cross-Training for Dressage


Tonka used to cross tie perfectly. But then, last winter, we had two almost identical and serious incidents in the space of a week. He got zapped with static, startled backwards, felt pressure on his poll (which he’s always hated), panicked, and yanked to free himself until he broke the […]

Cross Tie Retraining



We first saw our new home in January. Behind the house are 4,000 acres of protected wildlands. One reason why no development is allowed there is that this ecosystem is home to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle. I’d not heard of this turtle species before looking at this house in this […]

The Turtles of Turtle Hill


It’s said that eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes don’t lie. Look into them, observe closely – the pupils, the changing shape at the corners, the eyebrows – and you know what the person is truly thinking. Eyes aren’t the only window. At least not with horses. The […]

That Lip!


This past winter, Tonka and I had a terrible time with static electricity, which culminated in a disaster in the cross-ties. He got shocked, pulled back, panicked, pulled back harder, and flung out of the broken cross-ties like out of a sling shot. It took me a couple of weeks […]

Soothing Horse Grooming Anti-Static Spray



Almost two weeks ago, Tonka left The Ark for his new home in Maine. The Ark was the perfect boarding barn and it was a challenge to find a place where my horse would be as content. I realistically accepted that there’d be compromises, but I also know Tonka well […]

Tonka Settles In


This face mask makes me look like a court jester!   Much better.   In all seriousness, fly masks can be a life-changer for a horse. They keep the biting and annoying insects out of ears and eyes. For horses with white pigment around the eyes, they can literally save […]

Fashion Fail/ Fashion Forward


If I’m in the room with five people, and there’s one mosquito, I’ll be the one that gets bit. Some people are like that. We give off whatever it is that the biting insects use for navigation. Some horses are like that too. Tonka is one of them. He attracts […]

Itches and Scritches