trail riding


It’s been a buggy and humid summer, the sort of weather that keeps you out of the woods where the deer flies and mosquitos stage their attacks. It’s better to ride in open spaces, but those are hard to find. Around here, most fields are in hay production, and farmers […]

Challenges Welcome


My work with clients and their horses is ostensibly about teaching the humans how to ride, or the equines new behaviors. But underneath that, before that training can start, I need both horse and rider to be in a calm and confident place. Whether it’s the off-track thoroughbred learning how […]

Build on Small Moments of Calm


Tonka grew up on a ranch in Texas, where he learned to navigate open spaces, trust his companions, be alert for danger, and learn from his experiences. This upbringing is one reason why he has such an intelligent eye. I continue to encourage him to be thoughtful. When he is […]

Peep, Peep, Plop, Plop



Yesterday I trailered Tonka to meet up with his friend Maggie. Tonka hadn’t seen Maggie for a year, but before that they’d been stabled next to each other and had been paddock-mates. As it’s said time and again, horses are herd animals, so Tonka was bound to be pleased to […]

Horse Friendship and Riding Issues


Friends at the barn invited me to go trail riding with them at a nearby Town Forest. I wasn’t able to join them, but it sounded like ideal hacking, so last week I found time to trailer Tonka over. As promised, the parking lot was large, flat, and easy to […]

Lost, or Exploring?


Which do you think is scarier to my horse? This:   or this? The answer is the branch! Although Tonka has settled calmly into his new home, and has seen that downed pine bough every day since he’s arrived, when I tried to ride past it, Tonka deemed it something […]

What’s Scary?



Tonka and I haven’t been off-farm in months. It’s winter in New England. The footing has been treacherous. On top of that, after cascading health issues, I’m carefully bringing him back into shape. But when it’s 60° F in February, and there’s only a few patches of snow left on […]

Tonka’s Disappointment


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


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