spooking etc.

Tonka rarely reacts dramatically to the new or the suddenly frightening. He’s a horse, so things will scare him. But if they do, after a brief startle, he’ll thoughtfully assess the situation. Usually he concludes that all is well. Partly this is do to his innate personality. Just like people […]

Tonka Mentors Youngsters

There’s not much that truly scares Tonka on the trail. He’s a confident, curious horse who likes to go places. We go out on our own, and even without the companionship of another horse, Tonka is levelheaded. Once in awhile he’ll spook at a sound or unexpected movement in the […]

Trail Tadpoles

The only thing predictable about the weather in March in Maine is that it is unpredictable. Two days ago it was warm enough for Tonka to have his first naked roll of 2021.   A day later it’s 10 degrees F with wind gusts of 35 mph and the horses […]

Weather and Behavior

I’ve had Tonka for seven years and there hasn’t been a day with him that I haven’t worked on a certain behavior. Actually, it’s more of a mindset. I call it connected relaxation. With attention to this goal, and consistency in training, it has come to underlie everything that my […]

Connected Relaxation

As I wrote about last time, heading away from home, especially without other horses for company, can be stressful for horses. Today dawned cloudy and still. It’s always less scary when the wind isn’t blowing things about. This would be a good opportunity to get Tonka off property, without Steve […]

Weather Prediction

Tonka is an amenable horse. To the casual observer it appears that Tonka doesn’t freak out at the sort of novel things that scare other horses. Partly this calm demeanor is his innate nature. However, it’s at least equally the training that I’ve done, and relationship that I have developed […]

Dragging Jugs

As part of Tonka’s search and rescue training (we’re members of this team), we have to get used to out of the ordinary situations. You can’t train for every scenario, but you can train for confidence around, over and through novel obstacles. Last week a few of us met to […]

Combining Curiosity and the Touch Cue

I’ve spent the last six years doing lower level dressage with Tonka. He moves off of, and bends around, my leg aids. I close my fingers on the reins and he takes a steady, soft and pliable contact. As horse people say, I’ve installed the “buttons.” I’ve recently started taking […]

Too Willing?

The girls at the barn have convinced me to “horse show” with them this summer. I have a lot of show experience but not in the hunter/jumper world. I’m used to dressage and ages ago I evented. The H/J shows have a different way of running things, from how classes […]

Training for Flower Box Jumps