horse body language


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


I have two homes. The one I share with my husband, and the barn where Tonka lives. For the last 2  1/2 years that second home has been a lovely small stable. Tonka’s care has been excellent. There are only ten boarders, and every one of them are nice and a […]

Moving Day


The forecast for the next couple of days is for high humidity, full sun, and temperatures in the mid-90s. Here in New England that’s considered HOT. The animals know how to cope. The little dog sleeps in.   I wilt in this weather but I need to ride Tonka. After […]

Heat Strategies



Miniature horses are often pasture pets. They’re loved on, but rarely trained. Adorable, but taken for granted. I was brought in to train this massive Percheron cross to walk safely onto and off of a trailer. After two visits to the farm this little guy had a conversation with me. […]

Training Is Fun for Everyone


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


After riding, Tonka and I have a routine. He taught it to me. The bridle comes off   and I rub the corners of his lips. They’re itchy from saliva and sweat.   He also likes the insides of his lips massaged.   Tonka tells me when he’s had enough […]

Thank You Scratches



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 fun as cantering down the lane is, if your horse can’t stop, you’re in trouble. So, we all teach the whoa! I’ve written about how I’ve taught Tonka to stop. When doing dressage, I rely on communication from my legs, seat and hands, and he halts balanced and square (see the video […]

Teaching A Horse To Stand Still


I’ve not been blogging much lately, but I have been busy. I’ve been working one-on-one with horses and their owners. People come to me because the training methods they’ve been using haven’t been effective. There’s usually something specific that they haven’t been able to do, whether it’s getting a horse onto trailer, or having the […]

Observation, Relationship, Training