The only thing predictable about the weather in March in Maine is that it is unpredictable. Two days ago it was warm enough for Tonka to have his first naked roll of 2021.   A day later it’s 10 degrees F with wind gusts of 35 mph and the horses […]

Weather and Behavior



Tonka had something sticky on his nose, so I used his favorite soft curry on it.   Seven years with Tonka, and I never knew that he liked this. Now he wants me to curry his nose everyday.   A relationship is never static if you pay attention to what […]

Something New: Nose Grooming



To the uninitiated, a horse’s body language can seem inscrutable. A horse prefers to be subtle and nuanced in their conversation. A horse communicates what they’re thinking with a turn of the ear, a wrinkle that appears in the corner of the nose, a shift in weight. Unfortunately, when those […]

Horse Body Language 101: Relaxed


After years of me writing about things, it’s time for Tonka to have his say. Here’s his point of view of last week’s lesson.         Show season starts soon. I’m sure that Tonka will have a lot to say about that!

Tonka’s POV


While Tonka and I did our warmup walk in the ring yesterday, we stayed out of the way of a lesson. The horse being schooled is a big, powerful mare, with a goal of competing in the jumpers. There’s a lot of energy and drama when she goes. The fences […]

Listening Despite Enthusiasm



Tonka and I continue to learn to jump as a team. I listen to our trainer, Steph, and then try to convey her advice about how to approach the obstacles to Tonka, but he has his opinions about the best way to do it. When Tonka gets frustrated, his way […]

Jumping Teamwork


Yesterday we had a fresh snowfall of about 5 inches. This is Maine, so it’s not a big deal. Our power is on, our water still flows, and the plows have cleared the roads. However, conditions were such that the horses couldn’t be turned out safely. One reason I like […]

Snow Day


Shorten your reins! I’ve heard that my entire riding life. On the most basic level, your hands hold onto the reins, the reins attach to the bit in the horse’s mouth, and how you move that bit tells the horse what you want them to do. Turn left. Turn right. […]

Shorten Your Reins