spooking etc.


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


Years ago I read a sci-fi short story about an astronaut who lands on an uncharted planet. He knows nothing about what he is seeing. In the distance there are mountains and huge trees. Or are they hillocks and small bushes? How would you be able to judge near from […]

Be the Sentinel



It’s that time of year when up here in the north the grass is finally starting to show itself. Paddocks are greening up. What appears is usually sturdy grass and inedible weeds. And rocks and mud. This is New England. It’s not enough for a horse to live on. They’ll […]

Horse Sniff and Taste Walk


The nature of science is that we build on what we know. Sometimes we have to discard ideas when more solid information comes along. Sometimes what has been researched is very, very complex, but the popular press gets hold of it, someone writes a best-selling book inflating it into a […]

Your Horse’s Brain (A Myth Debunked)


On Sunday, after riding the jumper course (which for us was a series of poles on the ground) in the indoor arena at Coyote Spring Farm, Tonka and I went for a hack around the property. We were approached by a woman on her nice young grey mare. She said […]

Making It Look Easy