horse body language


My work with clients and their horses is ostensibly about teaching the humans how to ride, or the equines new behaviors. But underneath that, before that training can start, I need both horse and rider to be in a calm and confident place. Whether it’s the off-track thoroughbred learning how […]

Build on Small Moments of Calm


The sport that I choose to compete in is not something that Tonka would have thought up on his own. Exerting oneself while doing precise patterns in a ring while the sun beats down on you, is not an activity that a horse would innately see as a sensible thing […]

Horse Show Happy


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



Look Tonka! Your ribbon is almost as tall as you are!    Not impressed? You won an apple, too.   Yes, it’d be better if the apple were as big as the ribbon. Maybe at the next show.   *more about this weekend’s shows soon!

Tonka Wins an Apple


Tonka’s barn has a wash stall. Not only is it large, airy, and filled with sunlight, but it also has hot and cold running water. This is a luxury, although Tonka says that it is essential. There are few things that Tonka finds more discomforting than a cold water wash. […]

Communication In The Wash Stall


I’ve always have a feeling of guilt when I load Tonka into the trailer. After all, it must be uncomfortable to stand in a moving box, balancing over bumps, hills and curves, with the jarring noises and smells of the highway to contend with. I’ve felt guilty even though Tonka […]

Tonka Sightsees



Yesterday, Tonka and I competed at another USDF dressage show. My ride time was 8:07 a.m., which meant that I had to be at the barn by 5:30 a.m. to feed Tonka. Once we’re hauling down the highway, he doesn’t eat. Some horses do, his friend Maggie will eat as […]

Why Show?


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


Now that Lily’s gone, Scooter is finding his new normal. His job for ten years was to be Lily’s sidekick. Follow her around. Distract her when she got too serious. Observe her brilliance. Not everything has changed. Scooter continues to indulge in his favorite pastime. Naps.   But I know […]

Helping Animals Adjust to Loss