horse body language


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


It’s still raining. The grass paddocks are a soggy mess and the horses are being kept in. Tonka has an in/out stall, which means he isn’t confined to his box, but also has access to an attached dirt area the size of two more stalls. At least he gets fresh […]

Rainy Day Play



In my quest to keep Tonka comfortable under saddle, I’ve been taking second looks at my routine and my gear. (Read about why I changed his bit here.) Some things I do as a matter of rote. I’ve used the same style and brand of girth for the last five […]

Girth Too Tight?


It was bound to happen. You know we’d have to jump. Tonka is a dressage and trail horse. But we’re now at a hunter/jumper barn. There are always jumps in the ring. We’ve been using the poles for gymnastic work. Tonka enjoys it. A couple of times a month, the […]

Tonka Jumps


Note: This is one article in a series about horse vision. I’ve compiled all of them, including more information and references, in this blogpost: Horse Vision. When I train a horse to do a behavior, I care about more than whether they accomplish the task itself. I want them willing, relaxed and […]

The Horse’s Bigger Picture



When I purchased Tonka (not quite six years ago), he went in a simple double-jointed snaffle with an oblong bean in the middle. This is considered one of the least intrusive bits that one can use. Tonka didn’t come with tack, so I tried to find a similar bit. After […]

A Change Of Bit


Note: This is one article in a series about horse vision. I’ve compiled all of them, including more information and references, in this blogpost: Horse Vision. I’ve been looking into horses’ eyes lately. Literally and figuratively. In November, l’ll be talking at Equine Affaire about the horse’s senses, how their view of […]

Your Horse’s Vision


Behavior doesn’t happen out of the blue. Spooks don’t happen for no reason. You – the rider – might not see, hear, smell, or otherwise notice what your horse is reacting to, but it’s there. Sometimes what the horse is worried about is something harmless. If you have a good […]

Spooking Is Communication. Listen!