On The Road for Horses: Adventure, Drama, Dog Hair.

 

Aftermarket radar.

I hope you didn’t worry I’d get lost. I installed radar and didn’t take a wrong turn. Maybe a few alternate routes…

Holding Mister spellbound with horse talk.
Writing with Donkeys

A brief catch-up on my clinic travel. Even with the Covid shutdown, I could only overthink the situation for so long. Why not apply Affirmative Training to my work style? I could go slower and say good girl to myself in a more sustainable way. I wanted the flexibility of not being at the mercy of non-refundable plane tickets. I wanted to enjoy the ride. There must be a way for a clinic to be less like a drive-by shooting and more, well, relaxed and forward. So, I bought an RV. I admit, not an innovative idea. I have friends who have driven the gypsy trail for decades; insert their cackles here.We passed through 4 states in a month and returned home with a big bag of laundry and the confidence to head west.

Always a better view through ears.

Less than a month later, we started the trek to the Pacific with the first stop a Barn Visit in Arizona, where a wolf pack took down an elk in the pasture just beside us. It would have been especially upsetting to Mister if he hadn’t slept through it. On to California where there were writing workshops tagged onto the clinics. We traveled north through fields of produce and hillside vineyards and were reminded how we depend on the land. We took a one-lane mountain pass and were harassed by wild donkeys, but again, Mister saved us. It was wonderful to be teaching, wrestling with microphones, digging out neck rings for riders, and making new friends. The horses were perfect, the horse people were inspiring, and seeing the country through bug splatters is a beautiful thing.

We made it to the Pacific

Oregon was especially special with a visit to Duchess Sanctuary, one of my favorite places. There was a marauding throng of wild turkeys that surrounded our trailer and Mister had to run them off from the safety of the bed. It was a narrow escape. Two more stops in the open hilly countryside of the state where they don’t let you pump your own gas. The series of clinics were attended by kindred spirits; this horse world is changing for the better! We spoke in Calming signals, our mother tongue, to which Mister yawns and gives a good shake. The horses were perfect, the horse people were inspiring, and seeing the country through bug splatters is a beautiful thing.

Have I mentioned I’m working on a book? It has a great title, it’s more diverse and wide-ranging than my others, and has a dashing (if short) hero.

 

A holdup on a narrow mountain pass.
Duchess Sanctuary

With each mile, I fell more deeply entranced with the exquisite beauty of our Earth and simultaneously, more concerned for the myriad of challenges that horses and horse owners face from environmental change. It has a personal side; I worry about the size of my own carbon footprint while traveling to clinics, too. It’s a toss-up what’s worse, driving or flying, but neither is good for the Earth. I’m hoping for a solution that will serve the planet better. Any ideas?

It took us 6 weeks to make our way back to Colorado. I’m grateful to the organizers who invited us and the participants who welcomed us. Almost 7000 miles so far, in 10 states. I’ve seen miraculous sunsets, horrible fiery wrecks, diverse extremes in the landscape, and a smorgasbord of roadkill. There were elite resorts and destitute reservations. And of course, road rage. We are so many things, us Americans. I hope we all find our way home soon.

Waiting for the ferry in the San Juans.

Mister and I will hit the road again next week. After that short trip to Wyoming, we’re off in August to the Southwest, and in September, we’re proud to be part of the Higher Ground Fair in Laramie, WY. Then finally, we’ll strike out east for the Atlantic Ocean, stopping to work along the way, giving clinics where we’re invited. Arriving in a cloud of dog hair, but no less enthusiastic, we’re looking for horse training adventure and liver treats. It’ll be part clinic tour, part travelogue, part writing escape, and mostly a celebration of horses and dogs and people changing the world. You have stories and my pen is poised.

Calming signals from my self-care specialist.

We might be the only RV travelers NOT on vacation. Please consider hosting a clinic or a Barn Visit in the Midwest or east coast, check out my web page on clinics or contact me here. I encourage you to audit if you can. Obviously, I’ll need enough work scheduled in a region to facilitate going there. Updates are posted frequently on my travel calendar as clinics are added. Check back often.

In the meantime, Mister and I will rest up here at Infinity Farm, teach some online courses, eat cookies, judge a virtual dressage show, and spend some time in profound conversation about his belly.

Best wishes to all of you. Here’s hoping that you and your herd are finding some shade in these dog days of summer. Your horse wants to remind you it’s watermelon season.

 

We hope to see you… On The Road.

Anna Blake, Relaxed & Forward

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Anna teaches ongoing courses like Calming Signals, Affirmative Training, and more at The Barn School, as well as virtual clinics and our infamous  Happy Hour. Everyone’s welcome.

Visit annablake.com to find archived blogspurchase signed booksschedule a live consultation, subscribe for email delivery of this blog, or ask a question about the art and science of working with horses.

Affirmative training is the fine art of saying yes.

Anna Blake

21 thoughts on “On The Road for Horses: Adventure, Drama, Dog Hair.”

  1. Oh Anna, what a cool adventure you are on! I can certainly get “Arriving in a cloud of dog hair” we have that in common.

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  2. As I read your blog, a familiar feeling washed over me. It was the ability to see all the beauty nestled up against the sometimes mundanity of life on the road. Our country is vast and amazing, and, like you, I’m inspired every time we get to trek across it. Thank you for this beautifully written blog about your adventures. I savored every word and image.

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    • We are your mini-me, my friend. Tiny but thanks for the tip about muck boots! But it is a blessing to be on the road, I know you know. Thanks, Crissi.

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  3. I’ve been on the road for nearly two years now. I love it! I don’t have a home base any more, but I have home bases all over the country. Initially I wasn’t working with horses, but now I am. I am making a greater difference to the lives of horses and people than I ever have before.

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    • Hi Anne. I thought of you while traveling, and I see you’ve been working some with horses, too. It’s easier than it seems to live this small. You are my hero. Thanks for checking in and keep up the good living.

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  4. These days I’m puppy wrangling, using your lessons to guide me. Still get itchy feet, but high fuel prices and other madnesses temper that. So, enjoying the change of pace, and of course this too shall change. Dog hair, and cat hair, and red dust, simply normal. Living small is highly recommended😀😘

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    • Yippee for puppies. I think of you as well. You have landed for a time? It is a freedom as well, as I know returning home, where I also live small. Thanks, Annie. Best wishes to you!

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  5. So grateful that you made the trip, for selfish reasons of course…going to your clinic and workshop was a turning point for me. And, tell Mister that I will forever be on the lookout for pink tutus 🙂

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    • And a total delight to meet you! Mister is profoundly grateful that you share his vigilance. Thanks, Vicki Rose

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  6. I enjoyed this essay, partly because we were part of your journey here in central Texas. Love your sense of humor here and ability to transcend any negatives from this phase of your travels and focus on the positives. I CANNOT BELIEVE you are headed out again very soon.

    Thank you for mentioning climate change/global warming. By the way, there was a wildfire at Storm Ranch earlier this week, just across the street from Linda Garriott’s place where you had the clinic. Her neighbors had to evacuate their horses. Drought conditions, so little rain this year. …..

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    • We are still having fires here, too. Historic drought, they say. Best to those who evacuated… and there are always tests on the road. It’s like real life that way. Thanks, Sarah. Hey, Gusto.

      Reply

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