spooking etc.


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


The big picture of life is often scary. Sometimes sad. There’s a lot going on, and these days it feels like there’s no escaping the news. Wherever you are, whatever is happening your world, there is a something this small, this beautiful, at your feet.   Breathe it in. The […]

Thanksgiving. Giving Thanks.



We all have things that we’re afraid of. Some of those things we should be afraid of, and fear lets us take quick evasive action. But other things get in the way of life. (For example, if I let my fear of snakes control me, I’d never go into my […]

Overcoming Fear With “Touch”


In America, when a horse refuses to move, we call it balking. In Great Britain I’ve heard it called napping. The horse is labeled naughty and disobedient. At the least, riding a balky horse is frustrating, and at the worst, the horse can become dangerous, and rear and spin in […]

When A Horse Refuses To Move


I am always mindful that horses have the potential to hurt their handlers. There are horses who are obviously dangerous, who threaten and use their bodies to inflict harm. But most aren’t like that. Most are amenable and cooperative beings. Still, horses are big, and they can move quickly and […]

A Break In Stride



Everything that we do is behavior. Even breathing – whether you are gulping air in a panic, or inhaling and exhaling in a relaxed yoga state – is a response to your environment and what’s going on in it. Before we do what we do there are antecedents – triggers […]

The Rewarding World


Although a horse’s safety can depend on putting distance between themselves and what scares them, it’s not true that they take flight without thinking. Blindly taking off carries risks – of running headlong into a worse danger, of injuring oneself, and of being separated from the herd. A horse prefers to assess the situation […]

Not “Bombproof”


As much as I enjoy working Tonka in a ring (click on the dressage category to the right to read posts about that), I believe in balancing that schooling with time on the trail. Not only is it good cross-training, but it makes both of us happy. Even when there’s snow […]

From Fearful to Calm