Riding in sync and in balance with one’s horse is not easy. Every riding instructor teaches the independent seat, meaning that your bottom stays in the saddle, irregardless of what the horse or the rest of you is doing. But we also need to talk about independence of all of the other parts of […]

We’re All Asymmetrical


It’s the middle of winter. It’s dreary and cold. The horses are standing around all day on ice, or on hard ground, or in snow, and so are stiff and take a long time to warm up under saddle. We riders are tired of going around and around the indoor, or […]

Horse Friends Party


What drives some of us to ride dressage is the fine-tuned communication that you develop with your horse. A slight press with a leg, a subtle shift of a sitting bone, a closed finger on a rein, and the horse responds. All of us who ride dressage are after something called feel. It’s when […]

Feel



Remember Nate?   When I first met him, he sent out signals loud and clear: DO NOT TOUCH. All horses will pin ears and wrinkle their lips when they want you to go away. But Nate had taken it a step further. He bit. He bit when feeling threatened. He […]

Progress with a Biting Horse


Weather forecasters were predicting a snowstorm, so Michele and I decided to have some fun. With horse girls*, “fun” is often synonymous with work. There’s a half-mile loop through the woods behind the barn where I board Tonka. We had trail maintenance to do before the snow fell. There was […]

Winter Fun


Today Scooter is ten years old. He looks good. Perhaps that’s because he knows how to conserve his energy.   Scooter knows how to make the best of any situation, including trying out Lily’s oh, so comfortable bed while she is off being a useful farm dog.   He knows […]

Happy Birthday, Scooter!



We all have expectations of those around us. Spouses, children, friends. Since no one can ever completely meet one’s expectations we set ourselves up for frustration and sometimes anger. It’s true of our pets, too. The dog that was supposed to be your running partner is too fearful to jog. The […]

Let Them Surprise You


I’m pulling out a behavior science term today because it explains a lot about what horses do that can drive you a bit crazy. The science can give you a different and more generous way to view their behavior. So geek out with me here. Emancipated Behavior: behaviors that are performed […]

Emancipated Behavior


I use food rewards when training, but not in all scenarios. Here’s why. I train by identifying the behavior that I want, setting up scenarios that make it doable, and then rewarding the animal when it happens. I want to be able to get that behavior numerous times, the more […]

Training With Food – Sometimes