horse body language


On Saturday I trailered Tonka to Turtle Hill. He’s been here enough to get comfortable with being near a body of water. In the past, riding near ponds and rivers put Tonka on high alert. No longer. Tonka is also at ease being on his own. So, we had a […]

Tonka the Explorer


Tonka usually goes right onto the trailer. The other day I led him from his big paddock to the rig.   Almost at the trailer, Tonka stopped and planted his hooves. I tried to get him to shift his weight and move on. I gave a little tug on the […]

Trailering Disobedience?


Years ago I read a sci-fi short story about an astronaut who lands on an uncharted planet. He knows nothing about what he is seeing. In the distance there are mountains and huge trees. Or are they hillocks and small bushes? How would you be able to judge near from […]

Be the Sentinel



Wearing a face mask is expected of everyone who works and rides at my barn. People are still cheerful and friendly, but the masks themselves are having an effect on our interactions. We are keeping a distance from each other, (seeing someone in a mask is a clear reminder.) The […]

Do Horses React to Face Masks?


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