spooking etc.


When your horse is worried, it’s never nothing. I’ve written about this before. Tonka and I have ridden here a gazillion times. From the field, he can see his barn and his friends in their paddocks. It should be a worry-free place to do conditioning sets up and down the gentle […]

Tonka Knows More Than Me (continued…)


Behavior doesn’t happen out of the blue. Spooks don’t happen for no reason. You – the rider – might not see, hear, smell, or otherwise notice what your horse is reacting to, but it’s there. Sometimes what the horse is worried about is something harmless. If you have a good […]

Spooking Is Communication. Listen!


Even Tonka, a most sensible horse, will spook. When I first got him, when scared, he’d scoot sideways, then, after a high-headed giraffe imitation, if he deemed whatever up ahead was scary, he’d back up. He backed me into stonewalls and trees. He would have backed off a cliff if […]

Riding A Spook



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


I have a couple of adages that I ride and live by. One is ‘the slower you go, the faster you get there.’ Another is ‘the more you do, the more you do.’ I’m not a bold and brash rider. It’s all too easy to stay in my comfort zone. […]

The More You Do, The More You Do


It takes just one bad scare to change how your horse behaves from then on – for days, maybe months, maybe years, maybe forever. With observation, management and training, you can alleviate some of your horse’s fear, but you might not be able to “fix” it. I’m in this situation […]

Overcoming a Fearful Incident



We had a tragedy at the barn. A rider came off and had to be air-lifted to a Boston hospital. She was in the indoor arena, which is up a driveway from the stables. Fortunately, two were riding that day. But both riders had left their phones in the tack […]

Always Ride With Your Phone


Tonka and I hadn’t been out on the trails for awhile because we’d been dealing with his SI issues. But, it was time to get him using that rear end and the vet said that easy hills out in the woods would be good for him, so last week, off […]

Crossing a Troll Bridge


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