behavior


The stuff that a horse wears is called tack. Most tack is used either to control the horse, or to keep the rider on. What style of riding you do, what breed of horse you ride, your skill, the horse’s level of training, and your budget, determines what you put […]

Bit or Bitless?


This is what we’ve been waking up to. Some days it warms up to 12°F. The animals need to have full bellies to cope with this. At Tonka’s barn, they’ve been getting extra hay. Even more important than hay is water. If horses don’t drink, they get colic, which is […]

Boring is Okay


Steve gave me the most thoughtful Chanukah gift. He tracked down Tonka’s family. I purchased Tonka in December of 2013 from Amy, a horsewoman in Maine. For a couple of years Amy lived in Texas, and while there she saw Tonka, and knew that he was the one for her. […]

Tonka’s Family



Before I head out on the trail with Tonka, I always put horse cookies in my pocket. Along with a few boring hay stretcher pellets (Tonka likes these, but they don’t thrill him) I take a few yummier cookies, and also peppermints, which are rare and highly valued treats. Yesterday, […]

Cookies In My Pocket


Horses can go from a calm state like this:   to this: in the blink of an eye. You can be sitting on a horse, relaxed and chatting with a friend, when suddenly you and your horse are going at breakneck speed across the arena. People say He just freaked […]

It’s Never Nothing


Last Thursday and Friday I was a presenter at the Springfield, Massachusetts Equine Affaire. I had a blast! Many people go to Equine Affaire just to shop. My focus was on my talks, but I had enough time to check out the offerings. I got Tonka a Back on Track […]

Equine Affaire Wrap-Up



We all have things that we’re afraid of. Some of those things we should be afraid of, and fear lets us take quick evasive action. But other things get in the way of life. (For example, if I let my fear of snakes control me, I’d never go into my […]

Overcoming Fear With “Touch”


Last January, Tonka started to twitch his head, but only when ridden, and only in a specific posture. I called on my veterinarian. Whatever it was that was bothering him seemed to be a small issue. Tonka was otherwise sound. We checked his bridle and saddle fit, which were fine. […]

The Culprit is the Sacroiliac Joint


In America, when a horse refuses to move, we call it balking. In Great Britain I’ve heard it called napping. The horse is labeled naughty and disobedient. At the least, riding a balky horse is frustrating, and at the worst, the horse can become dangerous, and rear and spin in […]

When A Horse Refuses To Move