dressage


It’s been a tough week. On Monday I had a 3.5 hour dentist appointment. I’m still achy. Don’t ask. Then I got a sore throat and sniffles. And had more snow to shovel. Today my landscape crew is here to remove the trees that came down this winter. I don’t […]

A Content Countenance


The best trainers, the ones who successfully teach others to do challenging behaviors, do it in a way that gives the learner optimism and keeps them engaged. Frustration is rare and the sense of accomplishment is pervasive. This isn’t because the teacher is a cheerleader that says good job! irregardless […]

Domino Teaching


It takes me upwards of 40 minutes to drive to where I board Tonka. Every day the drive feels like too much, but then I arrive, see that my horse has been cared for impeccably, and get to ride in this: This indoor is big, airy, and filled with sunshine. […]

The Indoor Arena Lean



Riding instructors talk a lot about aids – how you use your hands, seat and legs – to communicate what you want to the horse. I’d add another aid, and to me it’s at least as important as the others. Your eyes. Do this. Right now, look to the right. […]

Look, Focus, and Go


For Tonka, 2017 was year of symptoms but no definitive diagnosis. It started with a slight head shaking. Then his back hurt. Then Tonka felt great and we had some rides where he did brilliant first level work. Then he couldn’t bend his neck. Then his back was sore again. […]

Getting Moving


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?



Each sport has it’s look. With just a glance, you know if someone is golfer, a fencer or a rugby player. Within the horse world, the same holds true. The tack that the horse wears, the rider’s clothes, and how the horse is “turned out” all reflect your choice of activity. I ride dressage, which, […]

Braiding a Paint Horse Mane


While my saddle is being adjusted for Tonka’s more athletic physique, I have been riding bareback (with a pad, which, honestly, doesn’t do much!) Riding bareback has kept Tonka and I at a walk. There’s a lot that can be accomplished at this gait. Dressage is all about fine-tuning communication and developing […]

Schooling Dressage Bareback


I bought my first horse back in 1976. I needed a saddle, and while on vacation in Scotland, purchased one from a local saddler. I used that saddle for a decade, and it seemed to fit every horse that I put it on. But it probably didn’t. Back then, we […]

Saddle Fit