horse care


Each day brings incremental improvement to Tonka’s ease of movement. As I mentioned in the last post, Tonka, my usually willing horse, said that he was hesitant to trot, and full-out refused to canter. To the uninitiated, horses look like sturdy beasts. But to those of us who know them […]

Incremental Improvement


Tonka and I have been having a good summer. He’s been happy and sound. We’ve been competing – successfully! – in the dressage arena. Dressage is an incremental sport. You achieve one movement and you work towards the next, each builds on what came before and each is a slight […]

Knowing When To Ease Up


The sport that I choose to compete in is not something that Tonka would have thought up on his own. Exerting oneself while doing precise patterns in a ring while the sun beats down on you, is not an activity that a horse would innately see as a sensible thing […]

Horse Show Happy



When the Rio Olympics happened back in August of 2016, I read accounts about how much the Olympic horses loved bananas. I brought a banana to the barn. Offered a piece to Tonka. He said an emphatic NO. Actually he gave me an incredulous look. How could I put that […]

Bananas for Horses


Tonka loves his box fan. On hot and humid days, he stands in front of it. His mane blows up and down (how cute!)   Fans can be a godsend for a horse in the summer. This big guy has an allergic reaction to bug bites. Despite drugs and excellent care, […]

Box Fan Joys and Dangers


It’s important for horses to stretch. Many equestrians have a routine of exercises for this purpose. Using carrots as lures, they get their horses to reach around with their necks to their sides, lift their backs (known as crunches) and bend down to put their noses between their legs. Tonka […]

Tonka’s Stretching Advice



We’re in the middle of a heat wave. Daytime temperatures are in the low 90s (in Celsius mid-30s) and the humidity is almost as high. Horses can overheat, so we have to be careful not to ask our partners to do too much. You’d think we’d be able to escape […]

It’s HOT


I have a fondness for horse whiskers. They certainly make selfies ridiculously fun.   But they’re also an essential piece of anatomy that the horse relies on. Each whisker has a nerve ending that conveys information to the horse – input that they can’t get in other ways. A horse […]

The Importance of Whiskers


For the last year, Tonka has been at a boarding barn which gave him impeccable care – a deeply bedded stall, clean water, daily all-day turnout, and excellent food. But it was a long drive for me, and there were no trails off of the property. In all honesty, Tonka […]

Tonka Moves Stables