behavior


We moved to Maine a year ago. Our house sits on a rise overlooking a beaver marsh. We named the property Turtle Hill because turtles lay their eggs here. Right now is prime nesting season. We are thrilled to see these ladies.   The view to the front of the […]

Tonka’s Thoughtful Place


Tonka and I have been busy. This week we’ve done a broad range of activities, from trail riding to jumping, and my horse has been enthused and game for all of them. Several of our rides were flat work in the arena. I focused on cadence and an engaged topline. […]

Stop to Smell (Eat) the Flowers


Do you recognize your horse’s happy face? A horse’s expression can be hard to read. We humans are clued into smiles. That’s why we like dolphins so much – even though they’re not actually grinning. It’s why it’s common to think that birds don’t have emotions – because their beaks […]

Your Horse’s Happy Face



On Saturday I trailered Tonka to Turtle Hill. He’s been here enough to get comfortable with being near a body of water. In the past, riding near ponds and rivers put Tonka on high alert. No longer. Tonka is also at ease being on his own. So, we had a […]

Tonka the Explorer


Here is how to catch a horse: Don’t. I’m not being flippant. Your horse associates being caught with what comes after. If every time you walk up to your horse the consequence is less rewarding than what they’re doing at the moment, then they’ll keep their distance from you. Are […]

How To Catch A Horse


Tonka usually goes right onto the trailer. The other day I led him from his big paddock to the rig.   Almost at the trailer, Tonka stopped and planted his hooves. I tried to get him to shift his weight and move on. I gave a little tug on the […]

Trailering Disobedience?



Years ago I read a sci-fi short story about an astronaut who lands on an uncharted planet. He knows nothing about what he is seeing. In the distance there are mountains and huge trees. Or are they hillocks and small bushes? How would you be able to judge near from […]

Be the Sentinel


It’s that time of year when up here in the north the grass is finally starting to show itself. Paddocks are greening up. What appears is usually sturdy grass and inedible weeds. And rocks and mud. This is New England. It’s not enough for a horse to live on. They’ll […]

Horse Sniff and Taste Walk


Wearing a face mask is expected of everyone who works and rides at my barn. People are still cheerful and friendly, but the masks themselves are having an effect on our interactions. We are keeping a distance from each other, (seeing someone in a mask is a clear reminder.) The […]

Do Horses React to Face Masks?