horse training


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


Tonka and I have been jumping. Granted, the “jumps” are this high.   I’m at a hunter/jumper barn, where there are always jumps out, including the easiest of cross-rails.   But my little dressage horse isn’t ready for those cross-rails, and honestly, jumping over them isn’t a goal of mine. So, […]

Tonka is Enjoying Raised Pole Exercises


Last week, my friend Emily came to visit.  Emily is brilliant. She’s a professor who teaches thought-provoking classes like one that delves into how lessons learned from epic ancient poetry can help defeat despotism. We first met at Vershire Riding School in 1973. When we see each other, which isn’t often, […]

Slo-mo Gait Evaluation



I’m at an art festival with my husband. We’re holding hands. I see something that I want to look at. I walk towards it, he feels where I’m going through our hands. He follows. He gets distracted by something and he stops, he pulls lightly on my hand so I […]

The Halter As Welcome Information


We all do it. We question whether we’re doing right by our horses. We question whether we’re riding them in a way that’s fair to them. We worry that their lack of physical perfection is due to something we’ve done, or haven’t done. We agonize over any pain or momentary […]

Self-doubt and Second-guessing


Susannah has an OTTB mare named Fawn. Fawn raced, not brilliantly, then was purchased by a family inexperienced around horses. A few years later Fawn went to a similar home. Then Susannah bought her. After a few months of getting to know Fawn, Susannah was ready to get to work […]

Catching A Horse Is In the Details



I have a couple of adages that I ride and live by. One is ‘the slower you go, the faster you get there.’ Another is ‘the more you do, the more you do.’ I’m not a bold and brash rider. It’s all too easy to stay in my comfort zone. […]

The More You Do, The More You Do


Effective trainers know that when a desired behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to happen again. For that reason, we’re thoughtful about paying attention to what the animal wants and timing the reward so that they make the connection between what they’ve done and the consequence. But behavior isn’t only learned […]

When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong


Tonka has been going well, and so I’m planning to take him to a couple of dressage shows later this summer. We’ll be doing First Level, Test 3. We’re used to having a whole dressage ring to ourselves to train in, but now we’re at a hunter/jumper barn, where there […]

H/J Cross-Training for Dressage