I spent this past weekend in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was a holiday weekend, the peak time for leaf peepers to visit the region to see the fall foliage. But I wasn’t there for that. I was here.   I was at SOLO for a weekend wilderness […]

Emergency First Aid For Horse People


When I train a horse to do a behavior, I care about more than whether they accomplish the task itself. I want them willing, relaxed and focused. If the mental attitude isn’t calm yet eager, then I stop and evaluate what’s going on. But that assessment isn’t easy and I’m […]

The Horse’s Bigger Picture


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



For fifty years I’ve been trying to improve my riding skills. At this point I certainly know how I should be sitting, where my toes should be pointing, and to keep my elbows at my sides. I know it, but I can’t always do it. Like many women of a certain […]

Shorter Stirrups


Yesterday started out sunny and the two-acre field in front of our house was literally abuzz with bees. This landscape is a combination of blueberry barrens and overgrown lawn. It’s a bee, butterfly and firefly haven, and as scruffy as it looks from a distance, we’ll keep it that way. […]

Cold Bees


When I purchased Tonka (not quite six years ago), he went in a simple double-jointed snaffle with an oblong bean in the middle. This is considered one of the least intrusive bits that one can use. Tonka didn’t come with tack, so I tried to find a similar bit. After […]

A Change Of Bit



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!


Yesterday the weather couldn’t have been better. 66° F. Clear blue skies. A perfect morning to go for a quick trail ride with Kim and Booker. When we arrived, Tonka knew exactly where he was, and was calm, yet had a sparkle in his eye.   We headed out onto […]

Tonka Mopes


World events getting you down? Feeling overwhelmed? A small-town agricultural fair in Maine can replenish what the news has depleted. It’s a place where girls in tutus and cowboy boots feel right at home.   It’s where well-loved animals ask strangers for nose scratches.     (Note that if that […]

A Day At A Maine Agricultural Fair