Here in southern Maine, we have both invasive and native species of thistles. Pollinators love all of them, but not farmers. They render pastures and hay fields useless. Goats are one of the few animals to eat thistles, and even for them it’s a plant of last resort.   Thank […]


Here at Turtle Hill, this year’s resident porcupine is a female that I call Hattie. She has a distinctive band of white across her head. Looks like a hat. You can see her full markings in this photo of her climbing Oak Tree # 1 – a favored place to […]

Name the Porcupette

Tonka rarely reacts dramatically to the new or the suddenly frightening. He’s a horse, so things will scare him. But if they do, after a brief startle, he’ll thoughtfully assess the situation. Usually he concludes that all is well. Partly this is do to his innate personality. Just like people […]

Tonka Mentors Youngsters

There’s not much that truly scares Tonka on the trail. He’s a confident, curious horse who likes to go places. We go out on our own, and even without the companionship of another horse, Tonka is levelheaded. Once in awhile he’ll spook at a sound or unexpected movement in the […]

Trail Tadpoles

In the more than seven years since Tonka and I have been a team, we’ve had niggling issues with soundness. Except for a couple of specific instances, it’s not been dramatic enough to come up with a clear cause or cure. I tell my veterinarian that he’s not 100 percent, […]

Hoof Prints Tell All

Recently I pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone and go to a fancy show. That required a multi-night stay for Tonka at the showgrounds, and me in a hotel. I like small schooling shows. An easy day drive there and back. No braiding. No pressure. Not much […]

Our First Overnight Show

Last week Tonka’s veterinarian, Monika, and her vet tech in training, Sara, came out to do some work on him. Tonka was due for maintenance to keep his body functioning well: shockwave over his back, and hock injections. Because Tonka recently has shown signs of that intermittent left-front lameness returning, […]

Training Horses for Veterinary Visits

Last week I gave a private clinic to three wonderful clients. Only one of them had ridden when young, the others started riding after their own children had grown. Age isn’t an impediment to catching horse fever, and they all seriously had it. Not long after getting in the saddle, […]

Grooming For Happiness

Tonka had four days off last week, and when I got back on him he was gimpy. He mostly worked out of it, but if you looked closely you’d see a small head bob when he tracked left at the trot. This intermittent lameness is so frustrating! It’s difficult to […]

Not Quite Sound