relationship building


Meet Hank. He’s a Percheron X Appaloosa.   Hank is about 1,400 pounds of adorableness. Hank is as sweet as they come, but along the way, he stopped paying attention to the person at the other end of the lead line. When Hank was hungry, he ate.   Hank is […]

Teaching a Horse to Walk Politely


For the last month I’ve had a cast on my left foot. My dog nurse thinks that I should be on the couch with him for the duration.   But I’ve never been a good patient, and much to Scooter’s disappointment, I got a plastic protector for the cast, meant […]

Working While Laid Up


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



Horses are complex, sentient, emotional, physical beings who communicate via body language. It’s usually quite subtle, but we keep these animals in situations that amplifies their interactions, which can cause some rather dramatic and potentially harmful behavior. Perhaps you know a mare that hogs both hay nets,   or one […]

Horse Behavior Problem Solving


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


Tonka has a reputation at the boarding stable for being a quiet, well-behaved horse. Among the staff, he’s a favorite. What’s not to love? Tonka is adorable, affectionate and easy to handle. Which is why it surprised the heck out of the barn girl on Friday morning when Tonka pranced […]

Keeping My Horse Mellow



Tonka has been a bit balky lately. Instead of moving willingly forward from my leg, he’s been hesitating. I questioned whether the physical exertion that I was asking for was reasonable. It seemed to be. Tonka would work out of it, and I kept riding. On Friday we went for […]

Ulcers?


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


The first evening at the new barn, Tonka did not eat all of his grain. The owners and staff were concerned. I took Tonka’s temperature. It was a healthy 99º F. Other than ignoring his meal, he looked okay. By morning, the grain was gone, his manure piles were normal, […]

Settling In