horse body language


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



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