horse training


While my saddle is being adjusted for Tonka’s more athletic physique, I have been riding bareback (with a pad, which, honestly, doesn’t do much!) Riding bareback has kept Tonka and I at a walk. There’s a lot that can be accomplished at this gait. Dressage is all about fine-tuning communication and developing […]

Schooling Dressage Bareback


I met Tonka three and a half years ago. He had a kind eye and was adorable. But he didn’t have much of a canter. After a few strides he’d get strung out, too long in front and short behind, and he’d fall back into the trot. This is what […]

Improving the Canter


This is how a horse should get onto a trailer. Blasé.   Easier said than done. A horse has good reason to be wary of getting onto a trailer. Here’s a partial list: The ramp and floor sound hollow. Horses like solid ground. Simply walking on causes it to move slightly. […]

Horse Trailer Loading



Quick recap: In January Tonka, who is usually a totally willing horse and happy to take contact with the reins,  started twitching his head when asked to arch his neck under saddle. His teeth were checked. A new bridle, that wouldn’t pinch his ears, was purchased. The behavior worsened. A […]

Back To Work


Miniature horses are often pasture pets. They’re loved on, but rarely trained. Adorable, but taken for granted. I was brought in to train this massive Percheron cross to walk safely onto and off of a trailer. After two visits to the farm this little guy had a conversation with me. […]

Training Is Fun for Everyone


Everything that we do is behavior. Even breathing – whether you are gulping air in a panic, or inhaling and exhaling in a relaxed yoga state – is a response to your environment and what’s going on in it. Before we do what we do there are antecedents – triggers […]

The Rewarding World



I grew up in a family that treated any achievement as a step to the next, more important, thing. This has its benefits. The world is a more interesting place when you take on challenges. The downside is that you never feel as if what you do is enough. My entire […]

Setting Goals


Although a horse’s safety can depend on putting distance between themselves and what scares them, it’s not true that they take flight without thinking. Blindly taking off carries risks – of running headlong into a worse danger, of injuring oneself, and of being separated from the herd. A horse prefers to assess the situation […]

Not “Bombproof”


As much as I enjoy working Tonka in a ring (click on the dressage category to the right to read posts about that), I believe in balancing that schooling with time on the trail. Not only is it good cross-training, but it makes both of us happy. Even when there’s snow […]

From Fearful to Calm