soundness


The quarantine break of 5½ weeks gave me the incentive to get serious about doing cross-training with Tonka. When you keep your horse at a boarding barn that has an indoor arena and limited trails, it’s all too easy to stay in the ring. But after a month of total […]

Horse Cross-training Success


By the time I’m back in the saddle, Tonka will have been sitting idly for 5 ½ weeks. I’ve been looking into the best way to return him to work. How much condition does a horse lose in just over a month of standing around? What’s safe to do and what […]

Bringing My Horse Back Into Work


A horse’s tail can be as expressive as their ears. The tail talks, but like with ears, you need to know the context. You need to know the horse. A swishing tail can mean I’m eager or I’m frustrated or I hurt or there’s an annoying fly or you’re annoying. When […]

Tail Talk



When Tonka shakes his head, something is going on with him, and I’d better listen. I first noticed this early on, when on a trail ride a friend who was up ahead put too much distance between us. Tonka wanted to trot to catch up. I wanted him to walk […]

What’s Bothering You, Tonka?


I follow Denny Emerson on Facebook. He’s a true horseman. Not only is he a gold medal Olympian (in eventing when it was long-form), but he has also completed the Tevis cup. He’s full of wisdom and opinions. I love that he writes about how he’s become more patient, empathic […]

Walk to Warmup Synovial Joints


As a dressage rider, I obsess over every every stride. I care where each hoof is placed, where the shoulder is, how my horse carries his head, the tilt of his jaw. Everything. In trying to position Tonka’s body just so, it’s easy to turn into a nagging rider. As […]

Let Your Horse Think



Dressage people call riding in the ring, “playing in the sandbox.” That’s just what we did on Sunday. For most of this year I didn’t think that Tonka was going well enough to compete, and the one show that we did go to confirmed that assessment. Recently, though, Tonka has […]

We’re Back in the Sandbox


In August, I shared (in this blogpost) how Tonka was moving when I rode him. Instead of clear two and three-beat gaits, with moments of suspension, Tonka was altering his strides so that he didn’t put his full weight on his hocks and stifles. He was also moving so that […]

Suspension!


Tonka and I have been jumping. Granted, the “jumps” are this high.   I’m at a hunter/jumper barn, where there are always jumps out, including the easiest of cross-rails.   But my little dressage horse isn’t ready for those cross-rails, and honestly, jumping over them isn’t a goal of mine. So, […]

Tonka is Enjoying Raised Pole Exercises