On Sunday, Tonka and I went to a dressage schooling show. There will be no photos of us with a ribbon. Our score was one of the lowest that we’ve ever gotten – a 61.25 % I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care. I like those blue ribbons. […]

When A Low Score Is A Win


July 4th. Around here it means hot weather, cookouts, parades, and fireworks. Fireworks are gorgeous spectacles, but I’m a bit of a curmudgeon about them. The noise scares animals (and people) and they’re a fire hazard. They’re dangerous and I wish that individuals weren’t able to buy their own sparkling […]

Fireflies and Fireworks


The woman who sold Tonka to me told me a story about him to explain his temperament. Her horses were turned out in big grassy fields in rural Maine. It was deer hunting season and shots were fired in the woods. All of the horses startled and bolted away from […]

Horse Temperament Test



This is the view from the causeway of my driveway in Maine.   It’s a different sort of beautiful everyday. Enough to make one slow down and look. But I’ve got things to slow down for besides admiring that sky. I’ve got to keep my eyes on the road. The […]

Slow On The Driveway


I have a couple of adages that I ride and live by. One is ‘the slower you go, the faster you get there.’ Another is ‘the more you do, the more you do.’ I’m not a bold and brash rider. It’s all too easy to stay in my comfort zone. […]

The More You Do, The More You Do


Effective trainers know that when a desired behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to happen again. For that reason, we’re thoughtful about paying attention to what the animal wants and timing the reward so that they make the connection between what they’ve done and the consequence. But behavior isn’t only learned […]

When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong



Tonka has been going well, and so I’m planning to take him to a couple of dressage shows later this summer. We’ll be doing First Level, Test 3. We’re used to having a whole dressage ring to ourselves to train in, but now we’re at a hunter/jumper barn, where there […]

H/J Cross-Training for Dressage


Tonka used to cross tie perfectly. But then, last winter, we had two almost identical and serious incidents in the space of a week. He got zapped with static, startled backwards, felt pressure on his poll (which he’s always hated), panicked, and yanked to free himself until he broke the […]

Cross Tie Retraining


We first saw our new home in January. Behind the house are 4,000 acres of protected wildlands. One reason why no development is allowed there is that this ecosystem is home to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle. I’d not heard of this turtle species before looking at this house in this […]

The Turtles of Turtle Hill