In 2019 I wrote 114 blogpost (including this one.) I write mostly about horses, especially my perspective on how I interact with Tonka and the other animals in my life. Sometimes I write about my home. I even write about my truck (one such post written in 2018, continues to garner the most enthusiastic comments!) I always keep in mind the science that underpins behavior, the science that determines how we (and other creatures) perceive the world, and the science of ethology that helps us to understand the underlying nature of animals. Despite the science, I try to keep my blog personal and relatable.
The most widely read posts of the year were the ones about horse vision. They literally described a horse eye’s view of the world, and by doing so gave many readers aha! moments. That’s why my horse does what they do! I’ll be writing more such posts in 2020. I’ll be delving into scent work. That will be interesting!
The second most popular topic was spooking. Even the sanest horse will spook. I wrote about how it’s communication, and why instead of forcing the horse through situations, that we should use it as information and have a dialog. I wrote about when to convince your horse to go on, and when it’s more productive to get off. To find these posts, go to the spooking category. (In this photo Tonka is veering away from that scary pile of rocks.)
Next up was a topic that came out of a tragedy. Last January, a friend died in a riding accident. It made me think about how the equestrian community needs to be better prepared for medical emergencies. Individuals – amateurs and professionals – need to face this subject. All stables need to learn how to prepare for and deal with human injuries when they (inevitably) happen. Please read this blogpost. I gave a lecture at Equine Affaire on this topic, and had EMTs and firefighters come up afterwards to thank me, which was gratifying, but also drove home how important this topic is. I’d be happy to talk to your group or barn. Please contact me.
Mostly, I write about horse training. I use a combination of positive reinforcement (including clicker training and the principles that it’s based on) and more traditional training using pressure/release. I feed a lot of treats. My post titled When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong struck a chord.
Many people who don’t have horses read this blog. Most of them have been following me for years. They started at HenBlog, and came along when I left the chickens and moved to Maine. I’m honored that they’re still with me. They all must have read A Move To Maine, because that was the fifth most read post of the year.
Two posts that are also in the top 10 are Mounting Block Manners Quick Fix and Counting to Position Success. Both of these address issues we’ve all had at some point. Both blogposts provide a different way of problem solving, which is why I think that they were so widely shared.
There were plenty of posts that saw only a handful of readers. Loading Goats Onto a Trailer was one of those. Perhaps you missed it? If so, take a look. Adorable. And rather interesting animal training.
What did I write here in 2019 that you enjoyed? That helped you with your animals? Let me know. I’ll try to do more of that in 2020.
P.S. Many thanks to everyone who left a comment on a blog. I appreciate all of your enthusiasm, your input and your experiences! I’m indebted to everyone who shared what I wrote with others. There isn’t better positive reinforcement for this writer than to know that people are reading what I’ve crafted with words. Thank you!
Thanks for the year-end summary, you really have covered a lot of ground with the blog. The way you focus on useful info and interesting events is much appreciated!
I appreciate you reading and commenting 🙂
I read every post, even though I don’t have horses, or goats, or chickens! You’re an excellent writer and make each topic so interesting. And Tonka is the most handsome fella on the Internet 🙂
Thank you for the hard work of researching and writing this blog. Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading and being part of this, Louise!
Just started reading your stuff when you wrote about the eyes. Thanks.
I’m glad you found me!
Thank you for writing these blogs. It is interesting to see how people in such different parts of the world enjoy their horses and in so many different ways. I live in the Far North of New Zealand and so love to see the different seasons and all the beautiful flora and fauna in your area. Thank you and a very Happy New Year.
NZ is one of those places that I would love to visit! I learned about the free-roaming NZ horses in a comment on my blog from a reader. I like to think that this blog is the internet used for good! 🙂
I first found you way back when I was a 4h poultry leader searching for an answer to some question or another. I found you to be so knowledgeable, informative and interesting that I started following you and reading all of your henblog posts. Then you moved on to horses, which has been a passion of mine since I got my first horse almost 30 years ago. Your training methods have always resonated with me, as you try to figure out the “why” before you work on the problem. Whenever I have an issue with one of my horses, I think, what would Terry do? And usually you have written something helpful already! Thank you for all you do! It is always appreciated, whether it is about chickens, horses, Maine, or whatever! Happy New Year!
Oh and maybe a thought for a future blog…as we rode the other day, we had my daughters project horse with us, and we encountered a water crossing. Your recent horse vision blog started us wondering about how horses view/think/see water crossings.
I’ve learned lots from your comments here. Ah… water… I wish I could answer the question of why some horses (ahem.. that’s you Tonka…) find the need to leap over small streams as if they’re 4-foot high jumps…
I appreciate ALL your posts! I know; not helpful for focusing your writing in any one direction, but it’s true.
It’s helpful simply having you read what I write. Did that horse vet out?
I read all your blogs and where we have had so much rain and cannot do anything outside I have started rereading all your blogs from the beginning. It is so enjoyable to follow everyone including your boys growing up and all the additions to your family as they arrived. There is also the sad departure of old friends which made us shed a tear, but is life and you always allowed us to read about it. You had some wonderful adventures and also Pie Party’s. Although I miss the blogs, pictures and stories of your old life at Little Pond Farm I look forward to all the new one’s to come following You, Steve, Tonka and of course Scooter in your new home as your journey continues. Best Wishes to you all for a Healthy and Peaceful 2020. 🙂
I hear that you are in a soggy mess over there. Here’s to good weather in 2020!
I have followed you from when I first started keeping chickens nine years ago and throughout my chicken keeping journey I have learned so much from you. Even now I still do a lot of things the way you did as you are so knowledgeable about animals and you have helped me through a few chicken problems.
From there I decided to give your horse blog a go and have continued to read every post. I have now learned so much about horses even though I don’t encounter horses very often. I continue to learn from you.
I love all your posts and especially love any catch ups with your past animals or any different animals you encounter in your new life in new your surroundings.
I am just happy to keep reading. I wish you and your family, your animals and your readers, a very Happy New Year. x
It’s heartening to hear that what I wrote at the henblog has had a positive and lasting effect. Happy New Year!
I really liked the articles about vision, I have shared that with several friends. It was very foggy here this morning and having read your articles about vision, I wondered how fog affects them if at all. I also like when you write about the dressage classes because that is something very different from what I do and have done.
And it’s interesting to see how horses are kept in a different climate from where I Iive.
All in all I enjoy all of it, and thanks to Steve for providing all those good pictures.
Fog! I wonder, too. It’s reflective and blurs edges. Do you ride in it? What do your horses think? I like hearing from my readers about how they do their equestrian activities in landscapes that are different than mine.
I do ride in it, mostly when we’ve been camped out with the horses. It’s quiet and peaceful. Even the more excitable horses seem more subdued. It makes for excellent pictures of the horses and their riders.
I too found the articles about vision very interesting! I think about your points now when I’m riding and leading my horses. Here in Maine the MMSAR( mounted search and rescue has started applying scent work to their search missions. It’s pretty fascinating!
I’m going to one of the MMSAR meetings in January!I look forward to learning from them.