feeding


The first evening at the new barn, Tonka did not eat all of his grain. The owners and staff were concerned. I took Tonka’s temperature. It was a healthy 99º F. Other than ignoring his meal, he looked okay. By morning, the grain was gone, his manure piles were normal, […]

Settling In


In January I noticed that something wasn’t quite right with Tonka. In December he’d been offering a lofty, energetic trot, something he hadn’t been capable of before. We both felt strong and buoyant. We’d worked hard to get to this point. We’d been doing cross-training – hills in the woods and […]

Sleuthing The Cause of a Stiff Neck


Back in November, I got an email out of the blue, from the owner of Assured Organics, a purveyor of coconut oil. Ken asked if I’d like to try feeding their extra virgin coconut oil to Tonka. Unknown to Ken, I’d been looking into the benefits of adding oil to a horse’s […]

Coconut Oil For Horses



I recently started working with four horses. Three are minis. They were rescued from a hoarding situation. The other is a BLM Mustang, which means she was collected on the open range, shunted from holding pen to holding pen, shipped across the country, put in yet another pen, then finally adopted by her […]

To Click or Not?


The horses have been out all day with their friends. While in their paddocks, their hay nets have been filled twice. They’re brought inside late afternoon. There’s more hay waiting for them. They’re not desperately hungry, but that doesn’t matter. The arrival of the dinner buckets is eagerly anticipated. It’s like […]

Dinner Time


I use food rewards when training, but not in all scenarios. Here’s why. I train by identifying the behavior that I want, setting up scenarios that make it doable, and then rewarding the animal when it happens. I want to be able to get that behavior numerous times, the more […]

Training With Food – Sometimes



As the saying goes, You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Last July I discovered how true this is. Tonka and I were at a USDF dressage show where the temperature soared above 90 F, the sun was unrelenting, there wasn’t a breeze and there was […]

You Can Lead a Horse to Water And…


Some people meditate. I graze horses.   There’s something about a horse eating grass that is calming and centering to me, which is ironic because a horse has huge teeth that he uses to rip and tear. It’s noisy and there’s nothing dainty about it.     At Tonka’s barn […]

Hand Grazing Zen


I can’t give my horse the physical space that he’s designed for. I don’t have a hundred acres of grassland for him to roam across and graze at will. I don’t have a band of horses for him to bond and travel with. But I do understand what he emotionally and physically requires […]

Affiliative Behavior (or, Let’s Drink Together!)