relationship building


A nor’easter blew in yesterday, which was perfect timing for Tonka’s Halloween costume. I thought about outfitting him in the barn, but we’d have to walk past the indoor, and I didn’t want to scare any riders in there. So we headed out to the field only partially dressed.   […]

Halloween Horse Costume


In America, when a horse refuses to move, we call it balking. In Great Britain I’ve heard it called napping. The horse is labeled naughty and disobedient. At the least, riding a balky horse is frustrating, and at the worst, the horse can become dangerous, and rear and spin in […]

When A Horse Refuses To Move


It’s been six weeks since that Quarter Horse ran over my foot and broke it. My orthopedist says that I’m healing right on schedule and that I no longer have to wear the walking cast. I’m back to my regular shoes – which means my barn boots. However, the bone […]

Horse Enrichment!



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