training with food


At one time, Dolly was the pony of every horse-crazy child’s dreams. Snow white with big dark eyes. Petite. Pretty. Likely purebred Welsh. You could imagine her a unicorn. She lived in a small field behind her people’s house. The children rode her, but didn’t do pony club or 4-H, […]

Touching the Uncatchable Pony


I have a friend who lives a good distance away. We both have what we consider to be “perfect” trail horses. For months now, we’ve been trying to meet at a halfway point to ride together. We were finally able to find a date, on a day when the weather […]

When To Get Off


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



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


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


When the Rio Olympics happened back in August of 2016, I read accounts about how much the Olympic horses loved bananas. I brought a banana to the barn. Offered a piece to Tonka. He said an emphatic NO. Actually he gave me an incredulous look. How could I put that […]

Bananas for Horses



Earlier this summer, Tonka and I went to two schooling shows. Such competitions aren’t under the auspices of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF). The judges are very good, but they don’t yet have their full accreditation. The atmosphere is more laid back than at recognized shows, and your scores don’t […]

Harmonious


For me, the joy of riding is that mind-meld that happens when my horse and I are in sync and communication flows between us with subtlety and nuance. To achieve this, not only do I have to listen to and understand what Tonka is saying, but he has to understand me. […]

Saying “Thank You!” From The Saddle


There’s been a lot of press lately about raising resilient children. Educators and parents are noticing that kids aren’t able to recover from disappointment, or problem-solve solutions to obstacles. A culprit is the trend of adults to jump in and assist during even the smallest of challenges. To instill resiliency, […]

The Resilient Horse