spooking etc.


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


Since clearing the downed trees and opening up the trail, Tonka and I have gone through this verdant, narrow path and over this bridge several times (three over, three back.) Tonka has remained careful, but when we traversed it the sixth time he was matter-of-fact, which I was quite proud […]

Spook at the Different, Not the New


There’s an expression in riding that you “throw your heart over the fence and your horse will follow.” The idea is that if you have courage and are committed to a path, that your horse will bravely carry you there. If only it were that simple. You can throw your […]

Heart First



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