Horsy News, Views and Attitudes   Vol. 1 Number 25 January 7-13, 2008

Pony Pal Lisa C. goes for a ride at 0 degrees F.



How to tell the difference


COYOTE                          DOG

Coyote prints are on the left, dog prints are on the right. Note that coyote's nails are visible and that the toes are more pointed. Coyote tracks are narrower and longer than most dog tracks.

Call of the Wiggins?

Local Coyotes' Tracks Found

      A pony rider who followed last Tuesday's nature hike saw some tracks in the snow. She asked wildlife expert Tom Sanders to take a look. He confirmed that during the guided hike on Mount Morris, Anna Harley of Wiggins had spotted tracks left by coyotes.

       "My friends Pam (Crandal) and Lulu (Sanders) had made up flash cards to help me practice knowing about animal tracks. So I could tell that these were different than dog paw prints, " Anna said.

      Park Ranger Jack Stranton was with the hikers and saw the tracks, too. He agrees with Mr. Sanders.

        "Eastern coyotes are common in some parts of Connecticut," Stranton said, "but this is the first time we've seen evidence of more than one or two around Wiggins."

       Four separate sets of tracks in the snow lead Tom Sanders to make his identifications.  "Eastern coyotes are larger than their western cousins – they can reach 50 pounds. Their tracks are larger than fox prints but smaller than wolf tracks. They are narrower and longer than most dog tracks, " Sanders said. "Anna was pretty sharp to spot that difference."

    "Coyotes like suburban and rural farm areas. They will eat dog food or cat food that is left outside," Sanders continued, "or even the small pets that food is left out for! They also eat plants, fruit, insects, rodents, birds, deer, rabbits and woodchucks."

      "Connecticut's wolves were all killed in the late 1800s," Ranger Stranton said. "Their loss caused an increase in hoofed prey like deer, moose and caribou. In the same way that birds show up at a feeder because there is plenty of food, the coyotes have come in since the late 1940s."

       Tom's daughter Lulu Sanders was proud of her friend. "Anna was studying for a quiz in natural history. She saw the difference between coyote and dog paw prints because she'd really studied!"  

Thought for the day - -

You can't tell a horse's gait until you start to ride.

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Horsy News, Views and Attitudes   Vol. 1 Number 25 January 7-13, 2008 



Q.   I have just started leasing a horse named Maggie.  She is 15 and is a quarter horse.  I know she is trying to test me and at this point I am getting an F.

      When I get her from the field she comes pretty easily with the help of a treat.  Then, as I take her out of the gate, she tries to walk away, she actually pulls away very strongly.

         She wants to eat the grass around, and if I do let her for a little bit, she does not want to stop.

         Then when I finally get to the stable, I have to struggle to get the cross ties on her because she continually walks out of the barn and I have to take her back in and then she will go into OTHER horses stalls, for no obvious reason. AHHHHH! What should I do?


A.  Your horse does not think you are the boss. In her mind you are part of a herd and she is lead mare. To make her do what you want, you must change her mind to think you are her boss.


     How do you do this? First, never move around a horse in anything resembling a tentative fashion. Move around a horse like you own it. Always act decisive. You can teach Maggie to do what you want by setting things up so that the easiest thing for the horse to do is exactly what you want it to do.


   If you have never worked in a round pen with a horse, get help to learn how to work a horse there. As you work with Maggie, she must learn that you decide where she goes.  The round pen work is the safest place to help her learn this.


     Once you are the boss in the round pen, you can use the walk in and out of her field each day as a training opportunity too.  Make sure to think about where you want her to be and then ask clearly for Maggie to move to that spot. You aren't going to hurt her feelings or be mean by 
taking control, it's something you do to keep yourself and the 
horse safe. Remember to praise her when she does what you want.

 Pony Pals  Letters

Dear WebMaster

 Hi my name is Lauren, I just turned 6 on Dec. 10th and for my birthday I received 28 of your pony pal books.  I started reading book # 1 when I turned 5 and prayed for the other books and now I am on book # 11.  My favorite book so far has been The Wild Pony where The Pony Pals found Beauty.  I love your books and I love ponies and horses I have lots of toy ponies and horses, but I really want a real pony.  My mom says they are a lot of work and we have no room for one.  But maybe when we get our new house I can get a pony. If I had a pony I would name it Acorn or Snow White or Lightning. What is a good age to get a pony?  How can I find your other books?  Is there really a Wiggins estate, if there is I would want to come and visit.  Please let me know.


Dear Pony Pal Lauren

If you read the "about" page at


I too wanted a pony when I was growing up.

      My riding students get their own pony when they can ride by themselves, until then it is best to take lessons or join a pony club to learn how to care for a pony. You may be able to trade work at a barn or stable for lessons, that is a good way to learn about horses.

       ClubPonyPals.com has links where you can buy new or used Pony Pals books.

      The Wiggins Estate is north of Wiggins, which is a very tiny town in Connecticut. If you want to visit, you can write to Wilhelmina Wiggins about why you want to go there. I can make sure she sees your letter to her if you email it to me.                          Editor

 Wiggins Weekly


P. S.  You can take a look at my pony at

That picture was the first day he had a saddle and bridle on at the same time, I am facing him looking at the fit of his bit, which is a little too tight.   8-)

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 Horsy News, Views and Attitudes   Vol. 1 Number 25 January 7-13, 2008

Ski Joring   photo courtesy of North East Ski Joring Association (NESJA)

Ski Joring Clinic Update

       North East Ski Joring Association members will help with the training day on January 26 from 10 to 2 at Olson's Farm in Wiggins, CT. 

       "Ski joring is a great way to meet new riders and skiers," Geoff Smith, President of NESJA, said. "It is fun and fast and should be tried by all.  I grow up an alpine ski racer.  My family has been strong into western riding, trail riding and showing. Putting the two sports together has improved our riding skills and the strength and agility of our horses.  We now have more fun with our horses in the winter than we do in the summer." 

      Interested riders are encouraged to register at Olson's Farm, or call 555-1255 for more information.

Just for Fun Match up the tracks -- answers from last week.  

1 Raccoon

2 Fox

3  Bear

4 Deer

5 Coyote

Send in a drawing or photos of tracks you see in the snow, Tom Sanders will try to identify them.  Email the Wiggins Weekly at   WebMaster@clubponypals.com