relationship building


Riding instructors talk a lot about aids – how you use your hands, seat and legs – to communicate what you want to the horse. I’d add another aid, and to me it’s at least as important as the others. Your eyes. Do this. Right now, look to the right. […]

Look, Focus, and Go


I recently had to rework some sloppy training on my part. It took me awhile to notice that I’d let things slip. Tonka is a calm and amenable gelding. But even a horse like that is always adjusting their behavior to what their human is doing. Just because you’ve taught […]

Reworking Sloppy Training


All horses can potentially cause injury to us humans. Their vision, hearing and smell keeps them hyper-aware of danger, and their response to that is to put distance between themselves and the perceived threat. If prevented from fleeing, they will rear, kick and strike-out. Horses are especially wary of new […]

Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning Horses



As I’ve written about before, Tonka and I have been walking. Mostly, we’ve been in the covered arena, on safe footing, and sheltered from bitter cold winds. Two weeks ago, during a break in the weather, we managed to get down the road a bit. Tonka was on alert, but […]

Barn Sour Drama


Yesterday, when I arrived at the barn, the temperature was above 20° F! The sky was clear. A red tailed hawk was screaming above the hay field.   She could hunt – the rain last week washed away the snow. But, soon there was a bigger animal than a mouse […]

Getting Out Of The Ring


Tonka and I have been going for walks.   The walking is in addition to riding. Although Tonka is turned out during the day, he doesn’t move much. Not in the snow. Not when hay is right at his feet.   A horse is designed to eat and move. Bite. […]

Walking With My Horse



This is what we’ve been waking up to. Some days it warms up to 12°F. The animals need to have full bellies to cope with this. At Tonka’s barn, they’ve been getting extra hay. Even more important than hay is water. If horses don’t drink, they get colic, which is […]

Boring is Okay


Steve gave me the most thoughtful Chanukah gift. He tracked down Tonka’s family. I purchased Tonka in December of 2013 from Amy, a horsewoman in Maine. For a couple of years Amy lived in Texas, and while there she saw Tonka, and knew that he was the one for her. […]

Tonka’s Family


Before I head out on the trail with Tonka, I always put horse cookies in my pocket. Along with a few boring hay stretcher pellets (Tonka likes these, but they don’t thrill him) I take a few yummier cookies, and also peppermints, which are rare and highly valued treats. Yesterday, […]

Cookies In My Pocket