Over the Fence



KitsonKitson Jazynka – Over the Fence
A lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Kitson writes regularly for Horse Illustrated and Young Rider. She has written for the USEF Equestrian and Chronicle of the Horse. She regularly contributes to dog magazines including Dog Fancy, Popular Puppies, Rescue Me! and Natural Dog, as well as children’s magazines like American Girl and National Geographic Kids. She also contributes to the Washington Post’s KidsPost. She writes children’s books for National Geographic Kids and Boys Camp Books. Kitson lives in Washington, DC with her husband, their two sons, two know-it-all German Shepherds and one very tolerant cat. Her horses live nearby in Potomac, MD. Read more about Kitson at www.kitsonjazynka.com. See full bio >>


Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Rambo Summer Series Turnout Sheet Product Review


I love a Rambo sheet. Stylish, functional and I feel like I’m outfitting them in some of the best gear available. But my field-boarded horse needs something versatile that can go from the Midatlantic’s cool rain to sunny and humid and back again, even if I’m not there to change out a sheet. Last summer, I tried the Rambo Summer Series turnout (light) and it fits the bill.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
My Horse, My Teacher


How many times have you heard someone say “horses teach us patience”? Maybe my horses have been the quiet kind of educators over the years, teaching invisible lessons that had unnoticed impact. But that’s not how it was one Friday night last summer. My horse (using an equine version of positive reinforcement) refreshed my skills in managing frustration.

Thursday, December 15, 2016
The Fascinating History Of Taxidermied Horses


A fellow horse-lover takes look at a few of the famous horses in history preserved by taxidermy.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Saving Little Orphan Orchid


A rescue foal gets a second chance at life thanks to Days End Farm Horse Rescue.

Monday, October 31, 2016
Extraordinary Horsewomen of Alaska


Serious horseback rider Terri Mielke of Wasilla, Alaska says you can never get too much saddle time in, and she certainly does her best to try. I met and rode with Terri in the backcountry of Alaska when I was there in September.

Friday, October 28, 2016
Remembering Teddy O’Connor


For some reason this morning I woke up super early thinking of a pony I wrote about in 2008 for Young Rider magazine. He was a seriously-super sport pony and champion eventer — even the Olympics might not have been out of the question for this bold pony, ridden by eventing legend Karen O’Connor.

Friday, October 21, 2016
The Washington International Horse Show


It’s my favorite time of year in D.C. and one of the hallmarks of the season is having a huge international horse show set up downtown. Members of the U. S. Olympic silver medal show jumping team will be at the Washington International Horse Show this year, fresh from Rio, and many of the nation’s best horses and riders on the indoor circuit and many other incredible competitors and performers – human, equine and even a few canine.

Friday, October 7, 2016
Diary of a Hurricane


I went to bed last night thinking of my friends at Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue in Loxahatchee, Florida, knowing they were about to be hit by Hurricane Matthew, along with the 55 horses, three cows, two llamas, four goats, one pig, chickens, a feral cat and six dogs in their care.

Monday, October 3, 2016
Horseware HWH20 Jacket and Long-Sleeved Base Layer Competition Shirt Review


If there was one article of clothing that I reached for every single day of my recent riding trip to Alaska, it would be this rainproof Horseware HWH20 Jacket. I pulled it out of my carry on and slipped it on when I landed it in Anchorage. I wore it riding. I wore it hiking to a glacier. I wore it pack-rafting. I wore it walking along the shore of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula scouting resident sea otters and orca. I wore it out to dinner.

Monday, September 26, 2016
Arctic Horse Skirts Review


Ask marine biologist Jen Dushane how she keeps her horses warm during Alaskan winters and she’ll tell you about the “insulation value” of a horse’s coat and the importance of keeping them dry. When a horse grows a long winter coat, it creates – or traps – pockets of air which are then warmed by the horse’s body heat. It’s the same reason she wears her moose-hide Mukluk boots a size too big – to leave room for that pocket of air to warm her toes while riding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
A Horse Called Flickers, Part Three


By summer’s end, the mums outside the barn have opened up to share their autumn colors and the flowering vines have reached their full pink glory. Flickers the giant rescue horse spends long days in a large, cool stall as his foot heals. It may take another six months for soundness to return.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016
A Horse Called Flickers, Part Two


The morning after high-school senior Cassidy Paradis committed to buying the rescue horse she would later name “Flickers,” the 18-year old made her mother coffee and oatmeal and told her that they needed to be in Pennsylvania by 3 p.m. to pick up a horse.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016
A Horse Called Flickers, Part One


The cavernous golden nostrils sniffling and snuffling the bars of the dark stall caught my attention. I reached out to touch the horse’s nose and noticed a hand-written note attached to the stall door: “No Treats.”

Friday, August 26, 2016
In Defense of Whining


It got dark really fast in the woods that day. A million leaves overhead danced and shook in an onslaught of soaking rain. Thunder rumbled in the sky beyond the swaying canopy. My horse, slick with sweat, rocked back and launched into a canter. My reins tangled in his long wet mane. I put my weight into my heels, leaned forward and grabbed mane…

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Meet Cortes ‘C’


To get to the Olympics with a horse is a staggering accomplishment: Having the right horse. Making it through the Olympic trials catastrophe-free. Peaking in fitness at the right time. The strain of constant travel. And the astronomical amount of money that it takes an individual to organize – fundraising, sponsorships, perhaps selling one’s first child.

Monday, August 8, 2016
Horses in Art History


There’s not a horse in sight at the baseball tournament I’m at this week in Connecticut with my family, but I got my fix on Sunday at the Yale University Art Gallery, on a jaunt in between tournament games to New Haven.

Friday, July 15, 2016
Horses and the Golden Gate Bridge


I’ve been distracted this week researching the history of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge for a story I’m working on. There’s so much I didn’t know, like the seriously death-defying acrobatics that were required to actually build the iconic 1.7 mile-long suspension bridge back in the 1930s and, like, that an ostrich escaped from a cargo van in 2005 and caused a major traffic tie up.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Riding Skirts


Jen Dushane grew up around horses – riding, teaching and guiding others on the trail. She’s also a wildlife biologist. She started out in Vermont and now lives and works in Alaska. Whether she’s trail riding in the back country around the big, cold rivers, mountains or glaciers near her farm or studying endangered beluga whales on the chilly waters of Cook Inlet off Anchorage, she’s outside a lot in cold and often wet conditions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Bereaved Mare + Orphan Foal = Magic


Here’s a happy story, in contrast to most of the sad news making headlines this week. In this story, Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue serves as the critical intersection for two horses that needed each other badly.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Zippy Chippy


Horse lovers everywhere can agree on one thing: that horses have a lot to teach us, whether it’s patience, responsibility, or in the case of the irresistible bay thoroughbred race horse named Zippy Chippy, that one should never give up. And always go out laughing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Meet Exterminator


Last month, my friend Eliza McGraw’s new book about the unforgettable World War 1 era racehorse, Exterminator. I wrote here about Eliza’s journey to write the book, but I wanted to dig a little deeper about the horse who was such an irresistible subject: Exterminator, the phenomenal racehorse who won the 1918 Kentucky Derby at 30-1 odds, and then went on to become one of the most beloved animals of his time.

Monday, April 25, 2016
A Therapy Donkey in Training


A 13-year old girl in Nashville is training the cutest-ever mini-donkey to be a therapy animal. Sarah is my husband’s cousin’s daughter and she is a real horse-loving gem. She competes in hunter shows and trail rides her horse Monkey. Most of all, she loves her equines.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Eliza and Exterminator


Conversations with my longtime-friend Eliza McGraw (you might have heard me mention her in the Over the Fence blog before) have an auto-shuffle appeal. Lots of topics to cover, take your pick. Over the years, our favorite playlist of conversations has included horses, more horses, writing, book publishing, the raising of kids in northwest DC, writing, horses, writing, horses, marriage, writing, and one of our favorite combos: writing about horses.

Monday, April 11, 2016
Wild Ponies Featured on New Stamp


Wildlife photographer Tim Fitzharris is the artistic mind behind a beautiful new stamp released this month by the National Postal Service. Tim’s photo of wild horses at the Assateague Island National Seashore (a beautiful sandy, beachy barrier island park that straddles Maryland and Virginia) will be commemorated on a Forever stamp as part of a pane of 16 stamps celebrating the National Park Service’s Centennial this year.

Thursday, March 22, 2016
Review of the Rambo Newmarket Grooming Kit


There’s something beautiful on a raw day that is the spring equinox, which is of course the first day of the spring season here in the Northern Hemisphere. I took the opportunity to try out some new gear provided by Horseware last night. It was a great, albeit chilly, way to spend the first spring evening of the year.

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Dreaming of Irish Mud


So I’m sitting at my desk at home in Washington, D.C. Outside, the buses are rumbling and the roads are raging and I have a deadline looming, but my friend Eliza is at the barn where we keep our horses. She keeps texting me photos of beautiful almost-spring mud and other images of barn scenes. It’s distracting, but I love it.

Thursday, March 10, 2016
The Story of Tony D


Last week, I got a message through Facebook that surprised me and warmed my heart. It made me cry, actually. You might have read my blog post about Tony D. here a couple weeks ago. I was writing about a horse and a girl I’d gotten to know through a story I wrote for American Girl magazine. That story pulled a lot of heartstrings, to begin with. But what I didn’t know at the time I wrote that blog entry was that Tony’s original owner, the woman who has surrendered him to the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, had seen my story.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Quincy the Caisson Horse


This morning I pulled on my paddock boots and headed out on an urban equine adventure. My friend Eliza and I have gone on many such adventures – not always on horseback. We’ve trekked to Pennsylvania in pea-soup fog to tour a sport horse breeding facility for a horse magazine story assignment. We’ve flown to Wellington, Florida to join the fun at the Winter Equestrian Festival. We’ve schlepped to Middleburg, Virginia to dilly dally and watch race horses work behind the scenes at the Middleburg Training Center. For today’s adventure we didn’t have to go too far.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Two Peas in a Pod


I have been acquainted with the story of Tony D. for a while now, but my heart still goes pitter pat when I stop to absorb the full throttle of his cuteness. The generous arc of his neck, his doll-face expression, the wide chest, that dish of a face. And the spots. Don’t even get me started on the spots.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The Mini Therapy Horses of Gentle Carousel


Recently I chatted with Debbie Garcia-Bengochea, the founder education director for Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, a charity organization that provides teams of tiny therapy horses who visit adults and children in hospitals, assisted living and disaster survivors. I blogged about my chat with Debbie here. That post ended with a promise to introduce you to more of these precious therapy minis, so here we go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Happy Birthday, American Pharoah!


You probably already know that all Thoroughbred race horses in the northern hemisphere share a birthday on January 1 (It has to do with wanting a uniform way to classify race horses by age. Here’s an explanation if you want to know more.) The amazing American Pharoah, though, was actually born on February 2, 2012 at Stockplace Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Today he turns four. Here’s a little something I wrote about the day he was born.

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Therapy Horses Have a Snow Day


I’m not sure what if anything is cuter than a miniature therapy horse off work on a snow day. The hard-working minis of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses live in forever homes on private farms. The organization’s tiny therapy teams visit schools, hospitals, assisted living centers, disaster survivors and even work with law enforcement. But when these mini therapy horses are off duty, they run and play, buck and kick like any other horse—especially in the snow.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Before a Snowstorm


There’s a certain brand of happiness I’m feeling today, in anticipation of a big snowstorm. It’s cold at the barn but my bare fingers are warm from currying a thick coat of apricot pony hair. It’s windy, but I’m warm carrying Taff and Chico’s warm Rambo rugs (check out product review here). I drape, adjust, buckle and smooth. I clip the tail straps, pick the hooves and decide to leave the hay-laced forelocks just as I found them.

Monday, January 11, 2016
Wish for a Unicorn


Downtown DC sparkled with fairy dusty and unicorn glitter in December when Days End Farm Horse Rescue collaborated with Fox5 DC and Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to make a dream come true for a 5-year old girl who has spent the last year fighting brain cancer. On December 15, 2015, a little girl named Eden was a princess for a day. She got to ride a unicorn decked out with braids and hooves painted with shiny pink glitter.

Thursday, December 24, 2015
The White House Christmas Tree


Cue the sound of jingle bells…For 42 years Harmon’s Hayrides has provided horse-drawn heaven in Virginia – from parades and weddings to military reenactments. For the last four years they have delivered Christmas trees to the White House. This December, 18-year old Karry and 12-year old Ben, both Belgian draft geldings, pulled the holiday evergreen down Pennsylvania in the nation’s capital.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Slick the Rescue Pony


Rescue organizations like Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, Maryland harness the power of social media to help the horses in their care find permanent homes. This week on Facebook, I kept returning to the pictures of Slick, a pony rescued by Days End here in the Washington, DC-area.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Fox Hunting with George Washington


Did you know that George Washington was our country’s most famous fox-hunting president? The first president’s home, Mount Vernon, is a place I have visited often. I always think how fun it would be to tour the grounds on horseback. Washington loved horses and all kinds of four-legged friends.

View Blog >>

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


American Pharoah Won the first Triple Crown in a generation, then went on to win racing’s next biggest achievement by winning the Breeder’s Cup Classic on Halloween. Now there’s a campaign going on to make this wonder horse Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Have you given Pharoah your vote yet?

View Blog >>

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Snug as a Bug in a Wug


I love a cold rainy day. The pressure is off. The barn feels snug. The world seems quiet. Hot chocolate seems like a good idea. Horses munching hay. You get the picture. My pasture-boarded horses don’t seem to mind a rainy day either. They’ve never been fans of a run-in shed. They prefer the wind-break provided by a thick line of pine trees and the warmth of their little band of pasture-mates. A Rambo rug on a raw December day doesn’t hurt, either.

View Blog >>

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
War Horse


This morning, Veteran’s Day, I saw a picture on Facebook that honored the 8 million horses that died during World War I. The blurry, black and white image took me back a few years to seeing the play War Horse on Broadway. It was such a thrill to “meet” those heroic horses up close and interview a few of the actors backstage.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Interview with Mitch Borenstein


In 2009, author, horse trainer and attorney Mitch Borenstein met an “unfixable” horse that changed his life and challenged what he knew after 20 years of experience fixing the unfixable. He recently wrote a book, Last Chance Mustang, about the wild American mustang, Samson, and the twists, turns, and harrowing moments of their relationship, along with the hope that shined through as his friendship with the abused horse developed.

View Blog >>

Friday, October 23, 2015
A Tribute to a Noble and Beloved Horse


Back in 2011, I interviewed Grand Prix dressage rider Jean Kaplan Thornton about her four-in-hand team of dazzling golden American Warmbloods. I was writing about the breed, but our conversation started with a story about her treasured Lipizzan stallion, Conversano II Aloha II, or “Lou” for short.

View Blog >>

Friday, October 16, 2015
Update on Dreamer’s Faith


A sad update from Chincoteague on the fate of the foal named Dreamer’s Faith. On October 14, the Chincoteague Police Department reported that the body of the little filly was found in an overgrown corner of a corral on the fire department’s carnival grounds. A lawn maintenance contractor found her in a corner where she seemed to have been fatally tangled. An accidental death, not a theft after all.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Interview with Equine Photographer Shelley Paulson


A couple weeks ago a friend and I set out to the farm where our horses live, cameras in tow. Our mission was to end up with some nice sunset shots of each of us and our horse. Our first mistake (aside from not hiring a professional photographer in the first place) was bringing our kids with us. Our second mistake was rushing, thanks to mistake number one. We got some OK shots, but are currently planning a redo. The experience made me wonder what makes the magic of a great photo.

View Blog >>

Monday, October 5, 2015
How Did They Train the Ponies in That Horseware Ireland Ad?


Get a behind-the-scenes look at this viral video starring a team of Connemara Ponies.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Meet Moose


I love following the happenings at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-acre breeding farm in central Missouri where baby Budweiser Clydesdales are foaled. This year, the farm has had more than 20 foals born. They have two foaling cycles – spring and fall – to avoid the summer heat.

View Blog >>

Friday, September 18, 2015
Chincoteague Foal Stolen – Please Share!


Late last night the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department announced via Facebook that they are investigating the disappearance of a 2015 Chincoteague “buy back” foal. Dreamer’s Faith was taken from the corral area at the Chincoteague carnival grounds either Sept 6th or 7th. The Chincoteague Police Department is leading the investigation and numerous other law enforcement agencies in several states are investigating. They are offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people involved.

View Blog >>

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Sweat Scraper Soulmate


Have you ever developed an unreasonable attachment to a piece of grooming equipment? If yes, then you’ll know how I feel about my old sweat scraper.

View Blog >>

Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday Teeth Floating for Quest and Rio


By now you must have heard about Quest and Rio, the emaciated horses rescued with awful hoof neglect this month in Maryland by Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The horses each had more than three feet of excess hoof growth and had been locked in a stall for at least 15 years. The story has made national and international news (even made Animal Planet), but here in my neck of the woods, this is a local story.

View Blog >>

Friday, August 28, 2015
Surfer Dude’s Legacy


When the famous Chincoteague pony Surfer Dude, died this spring, the stallion’s passing made national news. His legacy lived on this year at the 90th annual swim as his offspring made history at the July auction that follows the swim. One of the late stallion’s foals, a black filly with a white face and two blue eyes, sold for $25,000. It was a record sale that will benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, the organization who manages the herd and organizes the swim every year.

View Blog >>

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Chincoteague Pony Swim


Getting to see the ponies swim at the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim is a dream that involves a bit of patience. When the day finally arrives and you’ve made your way to Chincoteague, across the bridge, down Main Street and (very the next morning) early all the way the a pier that looks across the channel, the muggy air hangs heavy hour after sunny hour with one question: when will the ponies swim?

View Blog >>

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Horses on Vieques Island


While on a visit to this arid, beachy paradise called Isla de Vieques, I’ve had way more beach time and daiquiris than Internet connection or even a pen and paper. But I have had my camera handy. In between pictures of white sand, turquoise inlets, wild sea turtles and kids in flippers and bathing suits, I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the island horses that roam around.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Pony, Meet Muzzle


For the last few years, poor Chico has been condemned to a dry lot during the lush Maryland springtime. He gets too fat on pasture and that’s that. This year, we tried a grazing muzzle at the suggestion of his trusty vet, Dr. Pete O’Halloran. It’s been a great success.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Donna Barton Brothers


Recently I had the pleasure of talking horses with NBC Sports horse-racing reporter Donna Barton Brothers. You might have read about her this spring here on HorseChannel. On Friday, an essay she wrote about the emotional side of reporting on this year’s Triple Crown appeared in the New York Times. It was a really moving piece.

View Blog >>

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Evening Edition


When I was pregnant with my first child, I worried: Will I loathe the baby if he keeps me from my horse? Fortunately, life juggling kids and horses has been nothing like my gloomy, fretful forecast. Yes, I’m on a shorter rein when it comes to getting to the barn. But a new balance has taken over. Life has a choppier cadence now (think posting trot versus cantering), but it’s one I can work with.

View Blog >>

Monday, June 8, 2015
Can You Ear Me Now?


It’s full-on bug season here in the Mid-Atlantic and I’m keeping the flies out of my horse’s ears in style. That’s my Welsh Cob gelding, Taff, wearing what I call “Horse on Fire.” Hayden, Alabama-based LaClaire Couch made this little piece of wear-able equine art. She makes more than 12,000 Ear Me Now Fly Bonnets a year.

View Blog >>

Monday, June 1, 2015
Farm Tour


There is a farm in off the beaten path in Virginia’s beautiful horse country that I have been driving past since I was about 12 years old. Picture miles of well-kept black fencing that follows the ups and downs of a winding country road. There’s the main driveway for Wind Fields Farm and then the farm entrance with a cute cottage at the road (of course, I’m partial to the farm entrance) and endless tree-lined stone walls that border the fields.

View Blog >>

Thursday, May 14, 2015
The Oregon Trail


What do you call the jitters that take over a horse when it’s left behind in the barn while everyone else goes out? I don’t know, but that’s what I felt like in the summer of 2011. I was home in the city with two little kids while two of my dear, horse-loving uncles were trekking 1,800 miles across the country the old-fashioned way. Their goal? Retrace the original Oregon Tail in a replica wagon pulled by three gorgeous and sturdy draft mules.

View Blog >>

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
A Young Endurance Champ


The Kentucky Derby is an exciting two minutes, but what about a race that lasts 100 miles and a teenage girl and her humble horse win it all, finishing in less than 14 hours?

View Blog >>

Thursday, April 9, 2015
What Happened to the Stolen Horse?


Last Friday night I was glued to the national news watching the awful footage from California about the suspect attempting to flee the police on a very stoic stolen horse.

View Blog >>

Thursday, April 9, 2015
George the Unicorn


I’m on the phone with New Zealand this afternoon and I’m speaking to a unicorn. Well, I’m speaking about a unicorn, anyway. His name is George.

View Blog >>

Thursday, April 2, 2015
Pony Penning Fun


A dear friend who lives overseas emailed me the other day, subject line: IMPORTANT DECISION! I couldn’t have clicked open that email any faster.

View Blog >>

Monday, March 16, 2015
Remembering Windy


I guess Facebook has a way of taking us down memory lane when we least expect it. A recent post from Horse Illustrated asked “Has your horse ever done something amazing?” I immediately thought of my horse, Windy. She was amazing pretty much every day of her life.

View Blog >>

Monday, March 9, 2015
Meet a Shetland Pony Jockey


It’s snowy like crazy here in the Mid-Atlantic, but I’m keeping warm with thoughts of sunny days and sweaty ponies. Pony racing is a big deal in Maryland. Young catch rider Colin Smith says, “It’s all about fun and going fast with lot of wind in your face when you’re galloping around the track. It can be a flat race or over fences. It’s an exciting feeling with all those galloping feet. Sometimes you can hear the crowd cheering, if they’re loud enough to overcome all the galloping.”

View Blog >>

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Meet the Equine Stars of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space


For Andalusian stallions Chico and Paco, life at Spring Fever Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland (not far from where I live) has as a nice steady rhythm: dressage lessons, turn out, lots of carrots and admiration, exhibitions and wedding jobs. Years ago I attended a classical horsemanship clinic at the farm, and met owner Diana Beuchert.

View Blog >>

Monday, February 16, 2015
Llama Love


In the world of horse rescue, you never know what “tools” you’re going to have to pull out from under your hat to deal with daily surprises. This week – Jennifer Swanson and Brad Gaver, co-founders of Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida had an unexpected bundle of joy on their hands – a miracle baby llama born with serious medical issues.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The Bran Mash – Thumbs up or down?


Yum – there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of comfort food when it’s cold out, right? At times over the years of owning a horse, when the temperature plummets in the winter, I think about a nice warm bran mash for my horse. What could be better – extra hydration, applesauce for flavor and lovely bran to keep things moving in the digestive department?

View Blog >>

Monday, February 2, 2015
A Chat with Jillian Michaels


It took me many months of follow up to get an interview with health guru and horse lover Jillian Michaels. In case you missed it in print (Horse Illustrated October 2013), here a recap of the fun interview. In all my years of interviewing horse people – no one has ever told me that they “suck” at jumping.

View Blog >>

Monday, January 26, 2015
Broken Bones Won’t Break this Girl’s Love for her Horse


I’ll admit, I’m too quick to dismiss people who say they like horses, and then complain about mud, flies, cold, heat, rain, dirty blankets, sore legs (or worse) and clothes that smell like the barn. On the other hand, when I come across someone who loves horses like I do, especially when she’s a 13-year old girl on an adorable pinto, I fall in love a little.

View Blog >>

Monday, January 12, 2015
Helping Rescue Horses Shine


Doug Bruce is a South Florida “R” judge who has specializes in hunters and equitation since 1997. He’s also got a soft spot for unleashing the hidden talents of off-the-track thoroughbreds. This year, he’s combined his experience as a trainer on the show circuit (local shows all the way to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington) to showcase the hidden talents of some very special “diamonds in the rough” at Pure Thoughts Horse & Foal Rescue In Loxahatchee, Florida.

View Blog >>

Monday, January 5, 2015
I Heart My Horse Dentist


Call me crazy, but I love hanging around the barn when the horse dentist pays a visit. Dave Butts is a terrific horseman, and always has something interesting to say. He’s also helped keep my horses’ teeth in great shape over the last 15 years.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Holiday Treasures


If you’re in Wellington, Florida – the equine capital of the world this time of year – it’s perfectly normal to walk into a department store wearing britches and boots and smelling like the barn (even carrying a dog into Nordstrom is A-OK). Sadly, I’m not in Wellington this winter. In Washington, DC (where I sit inside on a cold, rainy day without a single palm tree or drop of sunshine in sight) – riding boots stick out like a sore thumb, at least in a department store.

View Blog >>

Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Cookie Cutter Horse


My obsession with holiday cookies started when I was in high school. Over the years, I have made, decorated, packaged and delivered herds of boxes of holiday cookies. I have a collection of copper cookie cutters from moose to chickens to owls, dogs, cats, X’s and O’s, a giant dragonfly, flowers, birds and even a Martha Stewart giraffe and corresponding elephant and crocodile (safari theme).

View Blog >>

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sleigh Riding


“The Appearance of the Weather, reminds me of the use of a Sleigh”
— George Washington, December 16, 1782

It’s nearly winter here in the nation’s capital and the taste of cold in the air makes me wish for snow and a sleigh ride. George Washington loved horses. If he didn’t feel well, his personal physician was likely to recommend that the president get on his horse and ride for two hours to make him feel better.

View Blog >>

Friday, December 12, 2014
Meet an Equine Illustrator


Children’s book author Ruth Sanderson’s heart beats to the drum of hoof beats. In the 1980s she illustrated the covers of the Black Stallion books. These days, she illustrates Random House’s Horse Diaries series – terrific horse stories and illustrations for young readers.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I Heart Brighty


Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s wonderful 1953 children’s book, Brighty of the Grand Canyon? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it – it’s one of my all-time favorite children’s books.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
A Chat with Beezie Madden


While I should have been working on more pressing deadlines today, I couldn’t resist the chance to chat with international riding superstar Beezie Madden. She was on the road to Toronto’s Royal Horse Show (held during Canada’s Royal Agriculture Winter Fair).

View Blog >>

Friday, November 7, 2014
Rewilding Europe


Did you know that of all the thousands of endangered species in the world, hundreds are breeds of horses? I’ve been doing a lot of research on endangered species over the past two years. Last year I discovered a very cool program called Rewilding Europe. It’s a group of government agencies and conservation groups across the pond working to “rewild” huge swaths of land starting in Eastern Europe with endangered species from wolves to wild horses.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
An interview with Jessica Springsteen



It’s Friday night at the Washington International Horse Show and fans are screaming for Jessica Springsteen, who quietly canters a circle on her Grand Prix mare Lisona. Jessica has been competing at WIHS since she was ten years old. The 22-year old and her 13-year old mare are both calm and cool – you’d never know they were about to jump the biggest jump of their career – a faux brick wall that grew to 2.080 meters (or 6.82 feet) in the show’s famed Puissance class.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
New York’s Carriage Horses


My family has a long history with carriage horses. My grandfather had a barn full of them. Once he drove his two favorite horses (Percheron work horses, Benny and Betty) all the way from his farm in New Jersey to Pennsylvania, pulling a covered wagon full of kids including my mother. As for me, I drove my first pony cart at about nine years old. I remember the moments vividly, trotting the pony through that small town to the beat of a proud clip clop with the reins in my hands, and taking in pony smell with every breath. What could be more fun?

View Blog >>

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The Story of Sacagawea


Everyone’s heard of Sacagawea, but did you know that the root of her famous story starts with horses? It happened like this: In 1804 Lewis & Clark set out in boats on their famous expedition to explore territory on the other side of the Mississippi River (President Thomas Jefferson had just acquired it in the Louisiana Purchase from France). In order to reach the Pacific, the explorers had to cross the Rocky Mountains. In order to cross the Rocky Mountains, they needed horses.

View Blog >>

Thursday, October 9, 2014
The Washington International Horse Show


There’s something exciting about the closing down of city streets in the nation’s capital to make room for horses. The park police drag out the concrete barriers. Motorcades detour. Temporary stalls go up. Trucks back up, beep, beep beeping and unloading hay, shavings and heavily stitched bags of feed. All this happens amid the chaos of rush hour traffic, power lunches and public transportation that makes the sidewalks tremble.

View Blog >>

Monday, September 29, 2014
Puppy, Meet Pony


My family and I came home from Maine this summer with a puppy. She’s a little German Shepherd dreamboat and we’re working hard to hone her manners and socialization skills. At home in the city, life is something like a page out of Richard Scarry’s “Busytown” books. Tabby has been introduced to all kinds of people like friendly telephone pole workers, bus drivers, delivery men, people wearing hats, people riding scooters, teachers and lots of children.

View Blog >>

Monday, September 22, 2014
Creepy Trail Encounters


I don’t know what scared me more, the creepy guy in the woods my friend and I encountered yesterday on horseback, or the look on the park police ranger’s face when he realized we knew where the man was hiding. We encountered the officer just as accidentally as we’d encountered the creepy guy. One, it turns out, was looking for the other.

View Blog >>

Monday, September 15, 2014
Justin the Artist


Eight years ago, Adonna Combs bought a gorgeous two-year old Friesian gelding as a dressage prospect. But at a schooling show early in his career, Justin made it clear that dressage was not what he had in mind for a career.

View Blog >>

Monday, September 8, 2014


Can I just say first that I don’t normally delight in killing things? Even when it comes to insects – I admire hardworking ants and have taught my kids to stand still (instead of swatting) in the presence of a bee. We relocate spiders and crickets and weathered last year’s 17-year cicadas with a heavier dose of scientific interest than disgust. But horseflies are different.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


A friend of mine once declared it’s not a party ‘til someone opens a bag of cheese puffs. I say, it’s not a party ‘til a horse shows up. When my son Quinn turned eight this summer, he wanted to celebrate with friends in nearby Rock Creek Park with a hike to the creek followed by an endless game of kickball. He got all that (plus cupcakes and a lot of poison ivy). He also got a visit from: Stonewall!

View Blog >>

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


“Which horse is yours?”

It was an innocent question. I was leaning on a fence watching a lesson in an outdoor arena at a stable near Centreville, Virginia. But the girl I posed the question to (early 20s, like I was, also in riding boots) took it hard. Her face crumpled. I thought she was going to cry.

View Blog >>

Monday, July 14, 2014
Survival Adaptations

While researching wild animals for various projects over the past couple of years, the term “survival adaptation” often rears up. A survival adaptation is a physical attribute or a behavior that helps a wild animal survive. Like wolves’ innate ability to be tough. Or a tiger’s ability to swim, which gives him an edge while hunting and helps him widen his territory. But what about wild ponies?
View Blog >>


Monday, July 7, 2014
Freak Accident

Webster’s dictionary defines an accident as “a sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury.” The word “freak” means “one that is markedly unusual.”
View Blog >>


Friday, June 20, 2014
Meet the Przewalski’s Horse

As usual, no matter what topic I’m researching, call of horse talk pulls me in. This time, I was researching tigers for a children’s book that I’m writing for the National Geographic Society. In the past few weeks I’ve zeroed in on details related to species survival plans (SSPs) created around the world to save endangered species
View Blog >>


Thursday, June 12, 2014
Cultivating Balance

According to Alivio Farms lead trainer Tina Ann Legno-Cope, cultivating and strengthening balance in your horse provides an opportunity to strengthen any weakness.
View Blog >>


Saturday, May 31, 2014
Meet Amos the Wonderhorse

About a year and a half ago I interviewed a little horse with a big personality for a story in National Geographic Kids magazine. Amos is a super-cute basketball playing equine that made for a super-cute story. His story also appears in a book I contributed many stories to for Nat Geo that came out this month. So I got in touch with Amos to see if he’d be up for a quick interview.
View Blog >>


Tuesday, May 27, 2014
April Showers Bring May Flowers

I’m sitting in a field of buttercups on a sunny day on Memorial Day weekend. Stress blows away on the breeze. The buzz of insects replaces the hum of a hectic life. I’m grateful for my horse. Grateful for the beauty of buttercups (yes, I have read they can be poisonous to horses, but in our 15 years here, it’s never been an issue.) I love how having a horse encourages (forces?) me to live in the moment long enough to appreciate all of this.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
A Young Horse-Rescue Volunteer

A few months ago, I took on a story assignment for a new magazine in the Horse Illustrated/Young Rider family called Rescue Me. The magazine is all about the world of animal rescue. The story was to be about young volunteers at animal rescue organizations–totally my kind of story. I knew I wanted to include a horse rescue kid, but I had a hard time finding just the right super-star volunteer.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Pure Thoughts Horse and Foal Rescue

For a homeless horse, entering the realm of Pure Thoughts Horse and Foal Rescue in Loxahatchee, FL sparks a magical transition: a starving horse becomes well-fed; a neglected horse becomes cherished; an unwanted horse becomes part of a family. Jennifer Swanson and Brad Gaver have rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed close to 2,000 equines over the past ten years. I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve known them for most of that time. I have seen it with my own eyes–for horses at Pure Thoughts, the grass really is greener.

View Blog >>

Wednesday, May 1, 2014
Baby, Baby, Baby

Back in December I blogged on The Sweet Feed about an unexpected and super-fun visit to the Glenhaven Welsh Ponies and Cobs in Unionville, Virginia where my Welsh Cob, Glenhaven Atheron (aka Taff), was born. At the time, owner Suzanne Moody showed us around her farm and introduced us to some of her ponies. Eight of her Welsh pony mares were in foal. She invited us to come back in April when she’d have foals.

View Blog >>

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Easter Pony

Easter morning couldn’t have been more beautiful, the sun shining down on the spring-green fields that gently slope up from the Monocacy River toward Maryland’s iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. This year, we took our chocolate bunnies to go, on our way to Monocacy Equine Veterinary Associates. Hmmmm you say. Who’s in the hospital?!

View Blog >>

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Horses and Wolf Conservation

My husband tells me I can turn any conversation to the subject of horses. Last year, as I was working on a children’s book for National Geographic Kids about wolves (it comes out this week!), I took this as a personal challenge: how would I fit horses into a book about saving wolves? As it turns out, I didn’t have to work too hard to figure out a connection between wolves and horses.

View Blog >>

Monday, March 31, 2014
A Real Flying Horseman

It’s always a thrill when a magazine with an article I wrote in it shoots through the mail slot. Conducting interviews and meeting deadlines is one thing, but seeing that work transformed into a glossy spread with gorgeous photos is another. Like last week when the May/June issue of Young Rider arrived.

View Blog >>

Monday, March 24, 2014
Like Magic

There’s a magic that happens between ponies and boys. It’s a quiet partnership. A silent understanding, perhaps, between tamed creatures whose wild spirits bubble close to the surface.

View Blog >>

Monday, March 17, 2014

Have you ever wondered about the word “aromatherapy” in the context of horses? The word has to do with using good smells to make one feel better. I was thinking about this today when I noticed the grocery bag of barn apples that I keep in my refrigerator.

View Blog >>




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here