On Sunday, Tonka and I entered our first dressage competition since this past August. We spent most of last year dealing with difficult to diagnose and treat pain – it started in January of 2016 with bursitis in the poll, moved to damage to neck vertebrae, and continued on to […]

Getting Riding Fit


Yesterday I trailered Tonka to meet up with his friend Maggie. Tonka hadn’t seen Maggie for a year, but before that they’d been stabled next to each other and had been paddock-mates. As it’s said time and again, horses are herd animals, so Tonka was bound to be pleased to […]

Horse Friendship and Riding Issues


Friends at the barn invited me to go trail riding with them at a nearby Town Forest. I wasn’t able to join them, but it sounded like ideal hacking, so last week I found time to trailer Tonka over. As promised, the parking lot was large, flat, and easy to […]

Lost, or Exploring?



Tonka lives in a barn with six other horses. They each have their own roomy box stall. They spend their days, solo, in spacious grass paddocks. Tonka likes individual turnout. In the past, he’s been kept in groups, and in pairs, but he’s never been fully comfortable. Tonka has issues […]

Barn Talk


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


Horses carry more than half of their weight on their forelegs – about 60%. But sometimes the scales tip even more to the front, and the horse ends up pulling themselves along. Going like that strains the front legs and causes the shoulder to work too hard. Put a rider […]

Reworking the Engine



I have been working on a thoughtful training post. I was planning on writing it today. But the cherry blossoms are blowing off of the trees, and my thoughts have blown right out with them.   It’s May. This happens.   Hopefully, I’ll have something more cogent to post later […]

May Thoughts


My previous post talked about what I do to keep Tonka happy about trailering. I left out one, hugely important item. For him to get on willingly, ride without fuss, and exit calmly, I also have to be happy, and for that I need to feel confident and competent driving […]

Horse Trailering Checklist


You can train a horse to get on a trailer without balking, but for me, that’s not enough. I want Tonka to get on and have a cheerful, Where to? demeanor. And, I want him to arrive relaxed and ready. That’s asking a lot. Trailering means that Tonka is leaving […]

Happy Horse Trailering