behavior


At one time, Dolly was the pony of every horse-crazy child’s dreams. Snow white with big dark eyes. Petite. Pretty. Likely purebred Welsh. You could imagine her a unicorn. She lived in a small field behind her people’s house. The children rode her, but didn’t do pony club or 4-H, […]

Touching the Uncatchable Pony


Penny is the barn manager’s dog. There are other dogs at the barn, too. There are beds for each of them. I’m not sure why Penny chooses which place to nap.   But I’m sure she has her reasons.   My animals are always letting me know that they don’t […]

Choices


I have a friend who lives a good distance away. We both have what we consider to be “perfect” trail horses. For months now, we’ve been trying to meet at a halfway point to ride together. We were finally able to find a date, on a day when the weather […]

When To Get Off



Icelandic horses have, over a thousand years, adapted to the landscape. There’s a lot to adapt to. Dark winters. Snow. Ice. Rain. Wind.   Icelandic horses are stout, sturdy, have thick coats, and those hindquarters are sloped for a reason – rain and snow sheets off. There is little in […]

Icelandic Horses And The Wind


Summer is a Quarter Horse who was rescued from the kill pen by Rita. She is one lucky mare. Rita is lucky, too, because Summer is a super little horse. Summer does, of course, have issues, but Rita accepts and accommodates them. In return, Summer adores her person. I was […]

Being Calm is Self-reinforcing


Today, Karen Pryor and I went on our annual autumnal outing to apple orchards. We buy this and that, what catches our fancy. This year both of us couldn’t resist the five varieties of plums grown at Westward Orchards, nor the delicata squash, still with dirt on them, from Carlson […]

Karen Pryor And Tonka



In my last post I wrote about how horses can show herd-bound behavior in some situations and not others. I have a story for you to further illustrate this. Tonka lives in a barn with seven horses.   There are only six grass paddocks. During the day, all of the […]

Herd Bound, Continued


I can ride Tonka past the paddocks and into the woods, and he doesn’t give the barn a backward glance. He loads willingly into the trailer and looks forward to adventures off of the farm. We can arrive at a trail head where there are other horses, and he’ll sometimes […]

Situationally Herd Bound


There’s an expression in riding that you “throw your heart over the fence and your horse will follow.” The idea is that if you have courage and are committed to a path, that your horse will bravely carry you there. If only it were that simple. You can throw your […]

Heart First