Something wasn’t quite right with Tonka. He trusts that when he tells me that he hurts, that I’ll listen and respond. I do. But I don’t always know exactly what he’s saying. It’s even more difficult to hear his message when it keeps changing. At the end of January I […]

Cascading Health Issues


After riding, Tonka and I have a routine. He taught it to me. The bridle comes off   and I rub the corners of his lips. They’re itchy from saliva and sweat.   He also likes the insides of his lips massaged.   Tonka tells me when he’s had enough […]

Thank You Scratches


French Manicure:   Barn Manicure: Everyday I go to the “spa.” I get a daily manicure (illustrated above.) There’s also the facial: which is a dirt mask treatment, followed by a soothing baby wipe to the face. Applying ice to joints is known to be beneficial, which is no problem when tacking up […]

Barn Spa Treatments



I grew up in a family that treated any achievement as a step to the next, more important, thing. This has its benefits. The world is a more interesting place when you take on challenges. The downside is that you never feel as if what you do is enough. My entire […]

Setting Goals


  When I was a very little girl I dreamed up my perfect horse. He was going to be black, with a white mane and tail. I even named him Midnight Snow. That color combination is not a genetic possibility, and I even knew back then that such a horse didn’t exist, […]

Dream Horse


Only in a laboratory does training happen in a sterile box. The real world is complex and changing. It’s impossible to keep the environment the same from training session to session. The list of potential distractions is long – it’s windy, a fly bites, a car backfires, a horse whinnies, someone walks by eating an […]

Context Matters



Although a horse’s safety can depend on putting distance between themselves and what scares them, it’s not true that they take flight without thinking. Blindly taking off carries risks – of running headlong into a worse danger, of injuring oneself, and of being separated from the herd. A horse prefers to assess the situation […]

Not “Bombproof”


Not quite a year ago I wrote my last blogpost for the HenCam, where I shared what I know about backyard chicken keeping. After ten years, I’d said everything that I wanted to say on that topic. But that blog wasn’t just a bunch of how-to articles. My readers got to […]

Goings On At Little Pond Farm


It hasn’t been the coldest or the snowiest of winters, but it has been miserable. We’ve had just enough slushy snow to make the footing either icy or muddy. There haven’t been many days that Tonka and I were able to get out of the indoor arena and walk the trails. […]

Shaking Off Winter