behavior


This time of year there’s freeze and thaw, snow and rain. When the ground softens, many horses look like this:   Not Tonka. On the same day that Zephyr coated himself in mud, Tonka came out of the paddock his pristine, shiny self. Tonka does love a good roll. But it has to […]

Mud-loving or Not


Anyone who’s been around me at the stable knows that I’m obsessive about grooming my horse. I take pride in seeing a shiny coat and I enjoy the bonding and communication that happens during those long sessions of brushing.   But I also love seeing a tail filled with shavings because this tells me that […]

Shavings in the Tail


Take your dog to a trainer and one of the behaviors that they’ll teach you is how to get your pet to come when called. A good trainer will teach you the reliable recall, one that your dog listens to despite distractions, like bicycles zipping by, or a piece of hamburger on the […]

The Reliable Recall, with a Horse



This was my first impression of Nate.     Note the pinned ear, tense eye, wrinkles around the narrow nose and the clenched corners of the mouth. This is a horse with a message. He couldn’t be saying it any louder. DO. NOT. TOUCH. ME. If you did approach, more likely […]

Loving on Nate


A round pen is an enclosure for horses that can be quite useful. It’s usually about 50 feet in diameter, big enough that the horse can move, but small enough that they can’t get too far away from you. It’s a safe place to start a youngster or do trick training. I […]

Joining-up or Giving Up?


I’ve been working with a clicker-savvy horse and rider. The horse has a history of being balky and unwilling. The previous trainer had the owner use a whip and spurs to get him “motivated.” We have a different method. When I see the horse going forward at the walk, I […]

Respect?



Take a poll of horse people and ask what’s the favorite part of your horse? This is the answer:   The nose and lips are rubbery, flexible, soft, and expressive. Above that, nostrils flare, snort and snuffle. Horses greet friends with breaths. They’ll say hello like that to you too, if you let them. But […]

Gelding Play and Mouthy Horses


Note: this blog is the third in a continuing series about training Bailey, and her person, Lisa. You might want to start here. It was a month before I could return to work with Lisa and Bailey. It was a hot and humid August, not the best riding weather, but the pair […]

More on Retraining a Barn Sour Horse


Note: this blog is the second in a continuing series about training Bailey, and her person, Lisa. You might want to start here. Lisa’s barn is a 2+ hour drive from mine, so I can’t get there on a weekly basis. My first visit was at the beginning of July. […]

Retraining a Barn Sour Horse