Relaxed & Forward Blog

A Short List of Things Horses Don’t Need Us to Teach Them.

If Edgar Rice Burro were to title this Bev Doolittle-like photo, he might call it Beauty and the Beast. He...

Contact: Wait Too Late… Then Panic

  Dear Fellow Primates: It is our instinct to grab. It is our instinct to talk in imitation-semaphore with our...

Calming Signals: “But My Mare Likes This Bit”

I arrived at the clinic grounds Friday afternoon so I could meet the organizers and check out the facility. They'd...

The Word Inside an Exhale: EASE

It's January first. The calendar has flipped over and I'm happy with the new numbers. New Year's is an excellent...

When There’s No Room At The Inn…

Even on holidays, our family dinners don't look like other people's. Neither do our hands or shoes. We look different;...

Living the Question

"Why can't my horse behave for the farrier?" Sarah isn't the only one who asks this question. Picking up feet...

The Solitary Journey to the Heart of One Horse

I listened to a podcast interview with Jane Goodall this week. She is my personal superhero, and I will never...

Calming Signals and Whiskers

I always thought of grooming as part of the warm-up for the ride. It's the price paid up front, a...

Poetry Out Loud: Horse. Woman.

This blog will get back to some sort of new "normal" soon. What a year, huh? For now, just a...

Calming Signals: How the Farm Says Thank You.

      It's Thanksgiving time and I should write something special, but I feel kind of ordinary. All I...

Altering Time to Benefit Your Horse

You have a plan for your horse and an expectation of how it will go, but it's taking way too...

Who’s Risk-Averse?

This week a stranger asked for my prayers. She posted a photo of an incredibly young girl with a crushed...

Human Calming Signals: Authenticity

Some people are just so effortlessly magic with horses. They seem to do nothing, but horses hang on their every...

Human Calming Signals: What’s Your Barn Persona?

How aware are we when we pull on a persona? We're usually aware when we tidy one up to make...

COVID-19 with Horses: How Are We Doing?

If horse people know one thing, it's that it's never just one thing. Having horses also means we partner with...

Real-Time Communication: The Land of What-If

My horse always pulls his head away. My horse never wants to go first on the trail. My horse always...

Horse Woman, Our Narrative

Drawing by Rebecca Howard I usually write a gray mare rant annually on my birthday. I'm...

A List of Inedible Treats for Your Horse

It's funny how something someone says can turn over in your mind for years after. I had a visitor, and...

Do You Need Riding Lessons?

It was a conversation about riding lessons. My friend said she thought it was strange that I'd worked so extensively...

Affirmative Training: Can You Take a Hint?

  It's a story that I've heard quite a few times. You've heard it too. The horse was getting a...

How a Legend is Born

What is it about horses? I think I might have drawn them on cave walls at the beginning of time,...

How to See It Like a Horse

My friend was tracing her Arabian's family tree. She'd driven north of Denver to see her horse's sire and ran...

The Problem with Humility

I've gotten sour on a word. Why does it matter? Words are how we understand each other but some words...

Poetry Out Loud: Impulsion

 
It’s not unusual to feel still air rush over your cheeks and past your ears. It’s...

What Horses Want to “Talk” About.

  What is it about the snout of an old horse? Especially a pink and black muzzle? How can it...

Poetry Out Loud: Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog There was a message on my phone. My dog...

Requiem for an Old Truck

req·ui·em/ˈrekwēəm/noun 1.(especially in the Roman Catholic Church) a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead. There is...

Poetry Out Loud: Loss

    By request. Thanks, everyone. Loss The sun leaves just the sky behind,...

Is Affirmative Training Denial?

It was during a meeting in an online class called Back in the Saddle. We'd shared videos of the week's...

Poetry Out Loud: Wish

  I'm changing things up a bit. I'll be posting video of my poetry being read on Mondays. You can...

Distraction: A Simple Answer for Bright Shiny Things

  Is your horse distracted? Is he always swinging his head at every noise? Does he knock you with his...

Photo & Poem: Her Words

If her words didn’t matter, her father would lift his eyes from the television commercials and not busy his mouth...

Calming Signals and What You Can’t Unsee.

  Here's our barn rat. She started earlier than most. Now, she's tall and smart and brave and what we...

Photo & Poem: Weather Change

Hail blown sideways by the wind, dark clouds churning across the horizon, as the horses brace against the stinging ice...

Making Peace with Anxiety

A caption for this photo? "Dressage rider doesn't grasp the fundamentals of team penning." How about "Dressage rider brings a...

Photo & Poem: Forever Now

Walking past the mare, I let my hand follow the shape of her body, her hair so short it has...

What Will Happen if You Don’t Ride Today?

It's really hot here. How hot is it? I'm not saying. People get competitive. You'd just say it's hotter where...

Photo & Poem: Her Place

A stick pony to start, with a wooden head and twine for a mane. The tiny girl stomped unevenly, imagining...

Calming Signals and Living on the Ulcer Continuum

Forty years ago, we didn't know about ulcers. Some horses acted crazy and we tried to train them out of...

Photo & Poem: Midsummer

Midsummer, the mare stands square, hooves flat and neck low, her muzzle faced into the corner of a dark stall,...

Affirmative Training and the Rhythm Method

Remember when you first heard the term The Rhythm Method? I was almost certain it had to do with something...

Photo & Poem: Old Dog

A deliberate old dog pacing the yard fence with gray dreadlocks and a stiff stride. A mixed-breed badly constructed, a...

A Funny Thing Happened During the Euthanasia.

We've been having llama line dances here for over twenty years. It happens at dusk and it is boundingly beautiful....

Photo & Poem: As if Love

She declared that she loved her horse as if loving took a sort of noble skill rare to our kind....

Things My Dogs Don’t Care About.

I'm the kind of person who has big dogs. I always have been, not that my dogs care. I have...

Photo and Poem: Three-Quarter-Ton

  Driving home from the feed store on a back road, easing my foot from the gas pedal, the three-quarter-ton...

Long Dark Night of the Soul: Colic

Andante's nickering. I've pulled the hay out of his run and swept the mats. He has a baritone voice, a...

Photo & Poem: Sage Under-hoof

An elder red mare and her rider babysat us as we climbed in and out of ravines, my young horse...

Why Training Techniques Don’t Work

  It's Sunday night and the clinic has ended, but there might be a horse or two that can't seem...

Photo & Poem: Words

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” Voicing her anxiety first, was my blouse revealing something more than unconventional taste? Welcoming...

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