Tonka and I have been having a good summer. He’s been happy and sound. We’ve been competing – successfully! – in the dressage arena. Dressage is an incremental sport. You achieve one movement and you work towards the next, each builds on what came before and each is a slight […]

Knowing When To Ease Up


We’ve all grown up the visual story of cowboys on horses, herding cattle across the plains. Of horses fearlessly chasing down the rogue steer. But horses aren’t born believing that they’re the masters of cows. They have to learn this. Most horses that I know haven’t had the opportunity to […]

My Horse And Cows


It’s been a buggy and humid summer, the sort of weather that keeps you out of the woods where the deer flies and mosquitos stage their attacks. It’s better to ride in open spaces, but those are hard to find. Around here, most fields are in hay production, and farmers […]

Challenges Welcome



My work with clients and their horses is ostensibly about teaching the humans how to ride, or the equines new behaviors. But underneath that, before that training can start, I need both horse and rider to be in a calm and confident place. Whether it’s the off-track thoroughbred learning how […]

Build on Small Moments of Calm


The sport that I choose to compete in is not something that Tonka would have thought up on his own. Exerting oneself while doing precise patterns in a ring while the sun beats down on you, is not an activity that a horse would innately see as a sensible thing […]

Horse Show Happy


Tonka grew up on a ranch in Texas, where he learned to navigate open spaces, trust his companions, be alert for danger, and learn from his experiences. This upbringing is one reason why he has such an intelligent eye. I continue to encourage him to be thoughtful. When he is […]

Peep, Peep, Plop, Plop



Look Tonka! Your ribbon is almost as tall as you are!    Not impressed? You won an apple, too.   Yes, it’d be better if the apple were as big as the ribbon. Maybe at the next show.   *more about this weekend’s shows soon!

Tonka Wins an Apple


Tonka’s barn has a wash stall. Not only is it large, airy, and filled with sunlight, but it also has hot and cold running water. This is a luxury, although Tonka says that it is essential. There are few things that Tonka finds more discomforting than a cold water wash. […]

Communication In The Wash Stall


I took a lesson last night. It was hot and steamy, but Tonka worked hard. He’s giving me gorgeous elastic trot strides, but his canter is still flat. To teach him how to push off his hind end, my trainer, Kim Litwinczak, had us do leg yield at the canter. […]

I Fumble the Peppermint (Using the Clicker for Dressage)