horse body language


Remember Nate?   When I first met him, he sent out signals loud and clear: DO NOT TOUCH. All horses will pin ears and wrinkle their lips when they want you to go away. But Nate had taken it a step further. He bit. He bit when feeling threatened. He […]

Progress with a Biting Horse


Weather forecasters were predicting a snowstorm, so Michele and I decided to have some fun. With horse girls*, “fun” is often synonymous with work. There’s a half-mile loop through the woods behind the barn where I board Tonka. We had trail maintenance to do before the snow fell. There was […]

Winter Fun


I’m pulling out a behavior science term today because it explains a lot about what horses do that can drive you a bit crazy. The science can give you a different and more generous way to view their behavior. So geek out with me here. Emancipated Behavior: behaviors that are performed […]

Emancipated Behavior



I use food rewards when training, but not in all scenarios. Here’s why. I train by identifying the behavior that I want, setting up scenarios that make it doable, and then rewarding the animal when it happens. I want to be able to get that behavior numerous times, the more […]

Training With Food – Sometimes



Hey, Tonka, let’s take a selfie. Hmm, maybe not so close to the camera.   It’d help if you didn’t lean quite so much on me.   Maybe I could get into the photo, too?     I guess this will do. 

Selfie With Horse



When Tonka and I are in sync, he’s flowing with energy and cadence, and I can talk to him with a the most subtle of body language, like by relaxing a ring finger, or by changing where I look.   But it’s not always pretty. What matters is what you do […]

It’s Not Him, It’s Me


This was my first impression of Nate.     Note the pinned ear, tense eye, wrinkles around the narrow nose and the clenched corners of the mouth. This is a horse with a message. He couldn’t be saying it any louder. DO. NOT. TOUCH. ME. If you did approach, more likely […]

Loving on Nate


A round pen is an enclosure for horses that can be quite useful. It’s usually about 50 feet in diameter, big enough that the horse can move, but small enough that they can’t get too far away from you. It’s a safe place to start a youngster or do trick training. I […]

Joining-up or Giving Up?