horse training


It’s the small courtesies that make life pleasant. Someone holds a door for you as you enter a shop. A driver at an intersection stops to let you safely cross the road. In a crowded supermarket, you move your cart over to let another pass. These little things add up. […]

Manners at the Gate


For the last couple of months I’ve been trying to come up with a new tagline for my business. The Cooperative Horse is descriptive, but limited. Cooperating sounds great, but how do you do it, and to what end? A year ago, when I printed up business cards, I added […]

Three Words


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