spooking etc.


Tonka grew up on a ranch in Texas, where he learned to navigate open spaces, trust his companions, be alert for danger, and learn from his experiences. This upbringing is one reason why he has such an intelligent eye. I continue to encourage him to be thoughtful. When he is […]

Peep, Peep, Plop, Plop


As a writer, I’m very aware of how the words that we use not only describe our world, but also shape how we think about it. When writing about my hens, I could characterize their clucking as chattering or squabbling. One word makes them appear charming, the other, quarrelsome. We […]

Flight Animal Stereotype


If Tonka were a dog, I’d say that he has perfect loose leash walking manners.   Once in awhile, when he lags behind, I gently pull on his halter and he catches up. He doesn’t drag me to grass – he knows graze, head up and let’s go behaviors, which he […]

Walking Past Scary Things



Which do you think is scarier to my horse? This:   or this? The answer is the branch! Although Tonka has settled calmly into his new home, and has seen that downed pine bough every day since he’s arrived, when I tried to ride past it, Tonka deemed it something […]

What’s Scary?


There’s been a lot of press lately about raising resilient children. Educators and parents are noticing that kids aren’t able to recover from disappointment, or problem-solve solutions to obstacles. A culprit is the trend of adults to jump in and assist during even the smallest of challenges. To instill resiliency, […]

The Resilient Horse


All horses can potentially cause injury to us humans. Their vision, hearing and smell keeps them hyper-aware of danger, and their response to that is to put distance between themselves and the perceived threat. If prevented from fleeing, they will rear, kick and strike-out. Horses are especially wary of new […]

Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning Horses



As I’ve written about before, Tonka and I have been walking. Mostly, we’ve been in the covered arena, on safe footing, and sheltered from bitter cold winds. Two weeks ago, during a break in the weather, we managed to get down the road a bit. Tonka was on alert, but […]

Barn Sour Drama


Before I head out on the trail with Tonka, I always put horse cookies in my pocket. Along with a few boring hay stretcher pellets (Tonka likes these, but they don’t thrill him) I take a few yummier cookies, and also peppermints, which are rare and highly valued treats. Yesterday, […]

Cookies In My Pocket


Horses can go from a calm state like this:   to this: in the blink of an eye. You can be sitting on a horse, relaxed and chatting with a friend, when suddenly you and your horse are going at breakneck speed across the arena. People say He just freaked […]

It’s Never Nothing