behavior


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


Yesterday I trailered Tonka to meet up with his friend Maggie. Tonka hadn’t seen Maggie for a year, but before that they’d been stabled next to each other and had been paddock-mates. As it’s said time and again, horses are herd animals, so Tonka was bound to be pleased to […]

Horse Friendship and Riding Issues



Tonka lives in a barn with six other horses. They each have their own roomy box stall. They spend their days, solo, in spacious grass paddocks. Tonka likes individual turnout. In the past, he’s been kept in groups, and in pairs, but he’s never been fully comfortable. Tonka has issues […]

Barn Talk


You can train a horse to get on a trailer without balking, but for me, that’s not enough. I want Tonka to get on and have a cheerful, Where to? demeanor. And, I want him to arrive relaxed and ready. That’s asking a lot. Trailering means that Tonka is leaving […]

Happy Horse Trailering




Which do you think is scarier to my horse? This:   or this? The answer is the branch! Although Tonka has settled calmly into his new home, and has seen that downed pine bough every day since he’s arrived, when I tried to ride past it, Tonka deemed it something […]

What’s Scary?


For the last year, Tonka has been at a boarding barn which gave him impeccable care – a deeply bedded stall, clean water, daily all-day turnout, and excellent food. But it was a long drive for me, and there were no trails off of the property. In all honesty, Tonka […]

Tonka Moves Stables


Lately, Tonka has been making faces when I groom him. He’s clearly telling me that he doesn’t want to be brushed.   I ask him questions. What about being touched? He says he’d rather I don’t touch him if I’m moving my hand the same way that I do when […]

Grooming Tension