horse body language


Lately, Tonka has been making faces when I groom him. He’s clearly telling me that he doesn’t want to be brushed.   I ask him questions. What about being touched? He says he’d rather I don’t touch him if I’m moving my hand the same way that I do when […]

Grooming Tension


In January I bought a new (used) saddle. It fit great and Tonka let me know he liked it by going happily forward when ridden. But, neither saddles nor horses stay static. The saddle is filled (the horsey term is flocked) with wool. The stuffing compacts and shifts. I try […]

Tonka’s Saddle Fitting


It’s been a tough week. On Monday I had a 3.5 hour dentist appointment. I’m still achy. Don’t ask. Then I got a sore throat and sniffles. And had more snow to shovel. Today my landscape crew is here to remove the trees that came down this winter. I don’t […]

A Content Countenance



There’s been a lot of press lately about raising resilient children. Educators and parents are noticing that kids aren’t able to recover from disappointment, or problem-solve solutions to obstacles. A culprit is the trend of adults to jump in and assist during even the smallest of challenges. To instill resiliency, […]

The Resilient Horse


One day last week I was feeling tired and stressed. If the weather had been good, I would have taken Tonka out on a trail. But the weather was not. I could have ridden in the arena. Being in the saddle would have distracted me and the exercise would have […]

Let Your Horse Sniff


Recently, the buzzwords in animal training and welfare are choice and autonomy. The thinking is that the more animals have control over their own lives, the healthier they’ll be emotionally and physically. Certainly, giving the animal an environment in which they can choose their level of comfort – shady or […]

Choice and Autonomy



Some injuries are easy to diagnose and treat. When a horse stepped on me, it was obvious that he broke a bone in my foot, and the treatment plan was straightforward. I was told, in plain English, to ice, elevate, protect it in a boot, and rest. I might not […]

Tonka’s Personal Trainer


For Tonka, 2017 was year of symptoms but no definitive diagnosis. It started with a slight head shaking. Then his back hurt. Then Tonka felt great and we had some rides where he did brilliant first level work. Then he couldn’t bend his neck. Then his back was sore again. […]

Getting Moving


I recently had to rework some sloppy training on my part. It took me awhile to notice that I’d let things slip. Tonka is a calm and amenable gelding. But even a horse like that is always adjusting their behavior to what their human is doing. Just because you’ve taught […]

Reworking Sloppy Training