horse body language


As a rider, I’m always second-guessing myself. Is what I’m asking for physically fair and possible for my horse? I have a lot of clues to answer my questions. How willingly my mount moves forward (or stops) and how they respond to my aids are important pieces of information. So […]

Horse Ears At Work


All of the horses were in their stalls, eating their late afternoon hay. All but Tonka.   He was looking out. With his panoramic vision, Tonka could see the whole sweep of the property, all the way from the barn on one side to the field on the other. His […]

What’s There, Tonka?


A horse’s tail can be as expressive as their ears. The tail talks, but like with ears, you need to know the context. You need to know the horse. A swishing tail can mean I’m eager or I’m frustrated or I hurt or there’s an annoying fly or you’re annoying. When […]

Tail Talk



When Tonka shakes his head, something is going on with him, and I’d better listen. I first noticed this early on, when on a trail ride a friend who was up ahead put too much distance between us. Tonka wanted to trot to catch up. I wanted him to walk […]

What’s Bothering You, Tonka?


Yesterday Tonka and I had our fifth jumping lesson. Outside it was miserable. Sleet was pelting down. He’d been standing in his stall all morning. So we did a warmup walk for fifteen minutes, followed by a good trot, and then we trotted and cantered over a few ground rails. […]

Tonka Wants To Fly


One of the things that has held Tonka and I back from going up the levels in dressage has been the recurrent comment from the judges on our tests: needs more energy. He does the patterns correctly, precisely and with a willing fluidity. But my horse just hasn’t had that […]

Full of (Jumping) Beans



I have a banana.    Yes, I’ll share it with you, Tonka.   All gone. No, you don’t like banana peels.   Ewww. Banana snort snot.   No, that wasn’t funny.   Yes, we’re still friends. No, there are no more bananas.    

Banana Story


Can you go into a tack store and come out empty-handed? What is it you can’t resist buying? For some people it’s saddle pads. For me, it’s brushes. Grooming is not only a means to an end – love that shine on a horse – but it’s a process that […]

Horse Grooming Brushes


On Sunday, after riding the jumper course (which for us was a series of poles on the ground) in the indoor arena at Coyote Spring Farm, Tonka and I went for a hack around the property. We were approached by a woman on her nice young grey mare. She said […]

Making It Look Easy