relationship building


This post goes on and on about small details that we dressage riders obsess over, like angles of the hock and suspension of a stride. But I hope that those of you not into such geeky horse things will stay with it, because this blogpost is actually about noticing the moment […]

Canter Jump


What drives some of us to ride dressage is the fine-tuned communication that you develop with your horse. A slight press with a leg, a subtle shift of a sitting bone, a closed finger on a rein, and the horse responds. All of us who ride dressage are after something called feel. It’s when […]

Feel


Remember Nate?   When I first met him, he sent out signals loud and clear: DO NOT TOUCH. All horses will pin ears and wrinkle their lips when they want you to go away. But Nate had taken it a step further. He bit. He bit when feeling threatened. He […]

Progress with a Biting Horse



Weather forecasters were predicting a snowstorm, so Michele and I decided to have some fun. With horse girls*, “fun” is often synonymous with work. There’s a half-mile loop through the woods behind the barn where I board Tonka. We had trail maintenance to do before the snow fell. There was […]

Winter Fun


We all have expectations of those around us. Spouses, children, friends. Since no one can ever completely meet one’s expectations we set ourselves up for frustration and sometimes anger. It’s true of our pets, too. The dog that was supposed to be your running partner is too fearful to jog. The […]

Let Them Surprise You


I’m pulling out a behavior science term today because it explains a lot about what horses do that can drive you a bit crazy. The science can give you a different and more generous way to view their behavior. So geek out with me here. Emancipated Behavior: behaviors that are performed […]

Emancipated Behavior



I use food rewards when training, but not in all scenarios. Here’s why. I train by identifying the behavior that I want, setting up scenarios that make it doable, and then rewarding the animal when it happens. I want to be able to get that behavior numerous times, the more […]

Training With Food – Sometimes


and through the snow… the horse knows the way… I’m fortunate to keep Tonka at a stable with an indoor so that I can ride all winter. But, oh, Tonka and I get so tired of those four walls! In the last week it has been bitterly cold, the winds have […]

And Through the Snow…


Hey, Tonka, let’s take a selfie. Hmm, maybe not so close to the camera.   It’d help if you didn’t lean quite so much on me.   Maybe I could get into the photo, too?     I guess this will do. 

Selfie With Horse