Natural Sporthorse

Have Fun While Learning


Educational Crossword Puzzles

The Crooked Trail

A growing list of crossword puzzles will continue to be placed on this site for your education as well as enjoyment. When Tom Dorrance worked with people, privately or at his clinics, he always carried around with him a booklet of mind-teasers that challenged those he worked with to think outside the box, to reach for an answer, and to be mentally stretched in the process. He felt it helped folks do the same with their horses ~ as well as in their personal life. It is in this spirit of broadening awareness that these mind games are provided for you. Work them right from your computer screen, or print them out and work them on paper, or both. Enjoy!

PLEASE NOTE: Not every browser supports the form used to make these crossword puzzles appear on your screen.

Most Browsers can be downloaded for free, so you might consider that option. Select the links above, or in the location bar at the top of your browser screen, just type in for instructions on downloading. HOWEVER, if you don't like that option, you can also CLICK HERE FOR A PDF PRINTABLE VERSION of this crossword puzzle.

Helpful Tips!
for the unseasoned puzzler:

~All words to this puzzle are ones you know, but most of them will probably not be obvious to you from the clues given. For many of us that is a recipe for frustration. If that becomes true for you, treat this puzzle like you would a horse you're trying to figure out. Start with what you know. Those answers will give you clues to more answers you thought you didn't know. Sometimes you won't be able to imagine what it is you're supposed to come up with, but if you just stick with it (not necessarily all in one sitting) something will occur to you. Try it. If it turns out not to be the right answer, try something else. Tom used to say, "In my life I've tried quite a few things. Once in a while, I'd find something that worked." He was still saying that at 93.

~There is no hurry to finish this puzzle. If you get stuck, leave it and come back another time. You might be surprised at what else occurs to you when you see with new eyes.

~The answer will only be obvious after you've figured it out.

~The answers are purposefully not shown on this page. That's to make the answers something to reach for, to think for. All of the answers are in your everyday language, but if you must peek, several of the answers can also be found in the book, True Unity, by Tom Dorrance, the USDF Directory, and/or in the USEF Rule Book. Yes, merely more "puzzles" you'll need to go through to get to the answers you thought you wanted. The good news is that by following up on the resource links, you might find the answers to some other questions you had. ;)

~PLEASE NOTE: When you leave this page, any answers you typed in the puzzle will not be saved! Printable Version

"You are the starting point. You are the destination. Enjoy the journey." ~Bruce Smith


1. Required step for any good horseman
8. Frisky pasture play
12. Sews skins, sometimes
13. What we learn to be comfortable without
14. Relief from pressure
16. Makes horses flexible
19. Aspect of a trail, a buck, or a type of bit
21. The slightest should be rewarded
23. Serpent, Gust, or Christ ender
24. Walk, trot, or canter
25. You, being you
27. You're lucky if you have it, in case of a fall
29. Golden place, required for listening
30. Our horses are carriers, but so are we
32. Bringing up the life, to a Japanese horseman, perhaps?
33. Trot beat
36. Vocal expression of lightheartedness
39. Rd. for autos, not horses
40. Neither has it
42. Circle starter
45. Hint, from horse to human, perhaps
46. Getting the point, the rein, or the mane
48. Negative feeling in us
49. Put others off (slang)
50. What horses require us to do half the time
51. How horses require us to be, all the time
53. A way of being too hard on our horse and ourselves
54. Name for a Texan four-legged?

Horsemanship Basics


1. Horse's ideal reach-action with the feet, especially at the walk
2. Do the business of is-ness
3. Horse's body properly aligned
4. This better be good
5. One or more
6. There's no objectivity when we're feeling this
7. Inherent normalcy for all living things
8. Secondary letters on the dressage wall
9. "Man, that fall hurt!"
10. A part of the big picture
11. Assumed way of looking at the world, or your horse
17. One sign of a horse who's well adjusted to a bit
18. Circle starter
20. What we all are, in the end
22. The answer to every question
26. The unseen part you couldn't live without, or if you could, you wouldn't know it
28. What a horse can't tell
31. When everything fell apart, Tom often said to take it
34. A boundary set with your horse
35. Stiffness
37. One thing
38. What it's like to benefit from a good horsemanship foundation
41. What promoters of their way like to do
43. Horse's warning
44. What we're trying to do with our horses, and each other (abbr.)

56. One rotation of a dressage court
57. Go beyond your intellect and skill with a horse
58. A horse that's air born? (abbr.)
59. No luck, no horse, no life
60. Makes a horse frisky after a rain
62. Inappropriate to the horse (abbr.)
63. Tom's plastic bag
67. Machine that takes messages for a busy horseman (abbr.)
68. Our retired 4-legged partner (abbr.)
69. Aware, or astride
70. What we have to grind, when we're grumpy
71. What we give to our 4-legged partner, when we're generous
72. St. where Tom lived after leaving home
73. Tom's words for "a good feel"
75. Side of horse, or direction of movement
76. Rapper getting his horse's attention?
77. Highest score on a dressage test

45. With 52D, what we can do to get out of a fix, or complete this puzzle
47. What the horse requires us to be sometimes
52. What we can't do without 26D
53. We must have faith in it
55. Being this makes us, and our horses, aware of our world
57. What you can do to make a horse supple, from the ground or in the saddle
61. Vocal expression when you have a really good moment with your horse
64. Crazy mare, to a Latino
65. Required subj. for a vet
66. A horse stretching nose to the ground, or the way true horsemen work
70. Space between a hoof and the ground, or a rider's seat and the saddle sometimes
71. When we should remember respect for our 4-legged partners, ourselves, and each
other, poetically speaking
74. What you learn to say after beating yourself up too many times for making yet
another mistake

More Crossword Puzzles

AT THE DRESSAGE SHOW: What You Might Find There
TOM DORRANCE: A Collection of Expressions
DRESSAGE and Related Terms
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