behavior


I’m giving four talks at Equine Affaire, Springfield, MA, this November. I need to provide the organizer with a small, square photo for them to use in the program. I thought that that a candid barn photo would be appropriate as I’ll be presenting about horse behavior and communication and […]

Head Shot With My Horse


After a horse gets joint injections, they’re supposed to remain quiet for four days. No galloping about in a field. No riding. Tonka was restricted to his in/out stall. He could look out in the aisle, see what was going on, and chat with friends. He could walk into his […]

Variety Is The Spice Of Life


We all do it. We question whether we’re doing right by our horses. We question whether we’re riding them in a way that’s fair to them. We worry that their lack of physical perfection is due to something we’ve done, or haven’t done. We agonize over any pain or momentary […]

Self-doubt and Second-guessing



Susannah called me in because she wanted to be able to tack up her mare, Fawn, without her horse showing signs of worry. The first thing that I do is watch the baseline behavior, and then tease apart the components. Here is how Fawn reacted when Susannah stepped towards her […]

Standing Still For Saddling


Susannah has an OTTB mare named Fawn. Fawn raced, not brilliantly, then was purchased by a family inexperienced around horses. A few years later Fawn went to a similar home. Then Susannah bought her. After a few months of getting to know Fawn, Susannah was ready to get to work […]

Catching A Horse Is In the Details


The woman who sold Tonka to me told me a story about him to explain his temperament. Her horses were turned out in big grassy fields in rural Maine. It was deer hunting season and shots were fired in the woods. All of the horses startled and bolted away from […]

Horse Temperament Test



Effective trainers know that when a desired behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to happen again. For that reason, we’re thoughtful about paying attention to what the animal wants and timing the reward so that they make the connection between what they’ve done and the consequence. But behavior isn’t only learned […]

When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong


It’s said that eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes don’t lie. Look into them, observe closely – the pupils, the changing shape at the corners, the eyebrows – and you know what the person is truly thinking. Eyes aren’t the only window. At least not with horses. The […]

That Lip!


Almost two weeks ago, Tonka left The Ark for his new home in Maine. The Ark was the perfect boarding barn and it was a challenge to find a place where my horse would be as content. I realistically accepted that there’d be compromises, but I also know Tonka well […]

Tonka Settles In