relationship building


This is Tonka’s happy face when he heads to a jump. Up until now, Tonka and I have done dressage and trails. We’ve tried to keep all four hooves safely on the ground. That said, we’ve been doing ground pole exercises to strengthen his stifles, and he was so cheerful […]

How High, Tonka?


When Steve and I met, I was leasing a horse, so he knew that horses were part of the story of who I am. Your significant other might get that you’re “into horses” but at the beginning they never really know how that affects the relationship. In our case, it […]

Horse Husband Training


Yesterday Tonka and I had our fifth jumping lesson. Outside it was miserable. Sleet was pelting down. He’d been standing in his stall all morning. So we did a warmup walk for fifteen minutes, followed by a good trot, and then we trotted and cantered over a few ground rails. […]

Tonka Wants To Fly



One of the things that has held Tonka and I back from going up the levels in dressage has been the recurrent comment from the judges on our tests: needs more energy. He does the patterns correctly, precisely and with a willing fluidity. But my horse just hasn’t had that […]

Full of (Jumping) Beans


I have a banana.    Yes, I’ll share it with you, Tonka.   All gone. No, you don’t like banana peels.   Ewww. Banana snort snot.   No, that wasn’t funny.   Yes, we’re still friends. No, there are no more bananas.    

Banana Story


It’s been grey, cold and dank. January weather.   Then it poured rain and sleeted, which saturated the snow and turned everything into slush and then crust. The last few days, though, we’ve had a respite. Above freezing temps for at least part of the day. The paddocks went from […]

January Thaw



Tonka feels good.   This is a lovely, forward, rhythmic trot. Note that the photo shows Tonka’s moment of suspension. All four are off the floor. I’m really happy to see that. Outside it’s been snowy and bitter cold. Tonka gets turned out in a paddock, but doesn’t move much […]

A Respite From the Indoor Arena


For most of my many years with horses I didn’t think much about cross-ties. All of the barns that I’ve been in have them. Cross-ties keep the horse centered in the aisle. With lines clipped to both sides of the halter, a horse will stand where needed while the farrier […]

Teaching Ground-Tying


Your horse has a reason for everything that they do. I have a good story about this. After six years of riding Tonka on the flat, I’ve decided that jumping little cross-rails might be fun. Tonka agreed. During the first lesson he was a bit of an over-achiever!   Although […]

There’s a Reason Why