Are you and your horse doing what you love? After six good years with Tonka I stumbled onto a sport that he has told me is what makes him really happy. He likes to fly. We’ve had fewer than 20 lessons over jumps. We’re sensibly staying at a low jump […]

Joy of Flying


Tonka is an amenable horse. To the casual observer it appears that Tonka doesn’t freak out at the sort of novel things that scare other horses. Partly this calm demeanor is his innate nature. However, it’s at least equally the training that I’ve done, and relationship that I have developed […]

Dragging Jugs


When jumping your horse over an obstacle, that moment in the air when you’re soaring over the fence is the least of it. It’s the getting to the jump that matters. Riders talk about seeing the perfect stride – as you approach you know exactly where your horse’s legs are […]

Getting the Jump Approach Just Right



It’s hot. Hot and humid. I wilt and get grumpy in this weather. How hot? Before I tell you, let me remind you that I live in Maine. We don’t develop a lot of heat tolerance here. It’s low 80s with 80% humidity. I know that for some of you […]

Gear for Riding In the Sun


As part of Tonka’s search and rescue training (we’re members of this team), we have to get used to out of the ordinary situations. You can’t train for every scenario, but you can train for confidence around, over and through novel obstacles. Last week a few of us met to […]

Combining Curiosity and the Touch Cue


I’m not one of those matchy-matchy people who color-coordinate polo wraps, saddle pad and ear bonnet. BUT. What’s wrong with this picture?   My jumping saddle is brown. Brown leathers. Brown girth. BLACK bridle.   That is a dressage bridle. Soft, high-grade leather. Ergonomic. Custom browband that was a gift […]

Matchy-matchy



I’ve spent the last six years doing lower level dressage with Tonka. He moves off of, and bends around, my leg aids. I close my fingers on the reins and he takes a steady, soft and pliable contact. As horse people say, I’ve installed the “buttons.” I’ve recently started taking […]

Too Willing?


The girls at the barn have convinced me to “horse show” with them this summer. I have a lot of show experience but not in the hunter/jumper world. I’m used to dressage and ages ago I evented. The H/J shows have a different way of running things, from how classes […]

Training for Flower Box Jumps


Last year a smallish fuzzy plant grew next to our front deck steps. Our house is new construction and the ground there is packed dirt and gravel. I was happy to see something take root, and I liked the color and texture so although it looked to be a “weed” […]

Weed? Not to Me!