Tonka Mopes

By Terry Golson

Yesterday the weather couldn’t have been better. 66° F. Clear blue skies. A perfect morning to go for a quick trail ride with Kim and Booker.

When we arrived, Tonka knew exactly where he was, and was calm, yet had a sparkle in his eye.


We headed out onto the main trail, which is oh, so pretty this time of year with newly fallen orange leaves.


I’ve been schooling Tonka all week in the ring, including a challenging lesson over poles, and I wanted to use this time to let Tonka stretch the kinks out and to let him tell me how he felt. The answer was that he felt great. Relaxed, confident, forward. As we headed into the woods, sometimes Booker was in front, sometimes Tonka. Although Tonka prefers to lead, he was fine either way.

But then.

The trail became a dirt track which is an access road for the power line. It had been “repaired” with a truckload of large rocks – fine for 4-wheel drive vehicles, but not so much for Booker who doesn’t wear shoes. Tonka looked at it, noted where the rocks had been packed down by tires, and started across. I told him that we had to turn around. As we headed back the way we came, his ears flattened, his back sank, and he got slower and slower, like a kid who’s scuffing his sneakers in the dirt and pouting.

Back in the woods, Kim pointed out a side trail. It was a bit overgrown, but we decided to see where it led. Tonka perked up. Ears forward and eager steps. But then it circled around to the main trail, and once again Tonka moped and slowed.

A bit further up was another side trail, which we headed down, and once again Tonka stepped quickly along. But that petered out, too, and we had to turn around. Booker knew he was going home and motored on. Tonka sulked. If I’d had let him, Tonka would have let Booker disappear out of sight, and he’d have headed back to the power line trail.


Even when we got back to the field, and Tonka could see the barn and trailer, and Booker was showing how eager he was to get home,

Tonka lagged.

Kim and I are planning a real adventure for these two. Anything to keep Tonka from moping!

4 thoughts on “Tonka Mopes

  • Suzette Dybiec

    Oh I smiled reading your blog post this morning. In the middle of my barn building project which is stressful and has me not riding and appreciate your stories and posts.

  • Daisy

    Lovely post ! Interesting how Booker and Tonka are so different ! Tonka sure knows how to get a message to you LOL ! and great you are ready to do everything possible to make him happy ! Looking forward to read more of your adventures. Have a good week-end !

  • Jan

    So sweet just like a child having a tantrum. At the stables Jess used to go to they had two elderly horses that could not be ridden anymore and although they had very large paddocks and fields they still used to whiney when the others went out on a ride. So if she was only going for a short ride with another competent rider they would take them on lead reins so they did not feel so left out and you could see their spirit lift 🙂

Comments are closed.