relationship building


Icelandic horses have, over a thousand years, adapted to the landscape. There’s a lot to adapt to. Dark winters. Snow. Ice. Rain. Wind.   Icelandic horses are stout, sturdy, have thick coats, and those hindquarters are sloped for a reason – rain and snow sheets off. There is little in […]

Icelandic Horses And The Wind


Summer is a Quarter Horse who was rescued from the kill pen by Rita. She is one lucky mare. Rita is lucky, too, because Summer is a super little horse. Summer does, of course, have issues, but Rita accepts and accommodates them. In return, Summer adores her person. I was […]

Being Calm is Self-reinforcing


Today, Karen Pryor and I went on our annual autumnal outing to apple orchards. We buy this and that, what catches our fancy. This year both of us couldn’t resist the five varieties of plums grown at Westward Orchards, nor the delicata squash, still with dirt on them, from Carlson […]

Karen Pryor And Tonka



In my last post I wrote about how horses can show herd-bound behavior in some situations and not others. I have a story for you to further illustrate this. Tonka lives in a barn with seven horses.   There are only six grass paddocks. During the day, all of the […]

Herd Bound, Continued


I can ride Tonka past the paddocks and into the woods, and he doesn’t give the barn a backward glance. He loads willingly into the trailer and looks forward to adventures off of the farm. We can arrive at a trail head where there are other horses, and he’ll sometimes […]

Situationally Herd Bound


Since clearing the downed trees and opening up the trail, Tonka and I have gone through this verdant, narrow path and over this bridge several times (three over, three back.) Tonka has remained careful, but when we traversed it the sixth time he was matter-of-fact, which I was quite proud […]

Spook at the Different, Not the New



The weather yesterday did not feel like fall. It was hot and muggy, but Tonka and I had a special lesson to take, so off we went to a farm twenty miles away. Eva Rainsborough, a German Grand Prix rider and trainer, was here for a clinic. She coaches my […]

Sticky Peppermint Mouth


There’s an expression in riding that you “throw your heart over the fence and your horse will follow.” The idea is that if you have courage and are committed to a path, that your horse will bravely carry you there. If only it were that simple. You can throw your […]

Heart First


I have a friend who’s been struggling to be in balance with her horse. The word balance can mean so many things. You can define it as the measurable even distribution of weight. Or it can refer to keeping the more metaphysical elements of life in proportion: work and relaxation, […]

Balanced Horse For Riding Longevity