Relaxed & Forward Blog

Best Advice for Loading Horses on Trailers

I had a clinic stop in Flagstaff where the organizer was a long-time client and hero of mine, Barb. The...
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You Know I’m a Small Business, Right?

Do you like the writing I share? It's free, and it always will be. That's my gift to horses, hopefully....
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Thank You, Mother: an Ode to a Farm

It's late afternoon as I drive along the front of my farm to the gate. The field fence is shrouded...
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Do You Need to Keep Your Horse Calm?

I can't be the only woman of a certain age whose parents thought she needed to be muffled indefinitely. They...
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Listening is Acknowledgment: A Gray Mare’s Message

I pulled down the drive to a farm for a Calming Signal intensive. Meeting new horses and people who care...
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“Why Don’t You Post Training Videos?”

Photo by Ilona Gerou   It was at the dark ages of VHS, long before the...
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When Horses Can’t “Do” The Clinic…

Lena was elegant in that special way that Thoroughbred mares can be. Her face had long planes and gentle curves...
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Helmet Safety and the Ability to Buy Hay

If my horses could see the big picture, they'd still say my job is hay. They have not read one...
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Leading Horses with Spatial Kindness. What?

The exercise was to halter your horse thoughtfully, asking the horse's permission for each step of the process, and acknowledging...
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When Impatience and Cruelty are Normalized

Sometimes I find myself standing in front of people talking about horses' feelings. I'm almost embarrassed; I was raised to...
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How to Stop Taking Your Horse Personally

Bhim is a one-of-a-kind, I surely hope. People might say he's still with me ten years after he came for...
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The Season of Letting Go

The autumnal equinox is about change. There's a miserable fog today, dense and so uncommon on my high prairie. Chilly...
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How to Attend a Clinic

Gray Mare memories: It was one of the first clinics I ever attended. The clinician was famous; I signed up...
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Being the “Good” Horse Isn’t Easy.

People want to tell me about their challenging horse, the quirky one, the scary one, the kill pen (scam) horse....
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Calming Signals: Thoughts About Spooking at Nothing

There are two kinds of spooking. This is the first: It was midmorning on the ranch, and we were riding...
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Reverse Anthropormophism: Building A Better Relationship

Do you ever go to the barn and pretend to be a cowboy? You'd wear the shirt that matched your...
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Calming Signals: What Normal Looks Like

Do you ever think about what horses give up in living with us? Humans have a way of always seeing...
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Are You Having a Midlife Horse Crisis?

I got an email from a reader last week. She had a hard question. She acknowledges she was naive, but...
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Horses Are Like Bad Boyfriends (Or Why the Wrong Answer Might Be Better)

Horses are like bad boyfriends because they only want to talk about themselves. Wait, let me explain. First of all,...
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Bit Contradictions: A Confused Conversation

"Slower, please." "Here we go." "Don't bang..." "Almost ready." "... my teeth." "Good..." "Not good." "Stand." "Let go." "Back up."...
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Is Your Horse Mentally Exhausted?

No other animal is quite like a horse; never fully wild and never quite domesticated. Engaged with us but never...
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There Will Be No Faith Healings Today

  We've all seen it. Someone holding a lead rope and hyper-stimulating a young horse with a stick until he...
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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...
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Our Horses, Ourselves: Simple Steps to Having More Confidence

Want to do a kindness for your horse? Perhaps show your affection in a "love language" that suits horses? Did...
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The Failure of Good Intentions

There was a time that I thought if I saw my horse curled to one side, itching his flank, I...
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Euthanizing and Herd Anxiety

"I’m wondering if you could address animals and grief in one of your columns. We’ve lost a horse and a...
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How to Focus Simply.

I had just finished a lesson when another woman I knew at the barn came up to me with a...
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Affirmative Training: Navigating the Nebulous.

"I have a three-step process guaranteed to transform your horse into your perfect partner and it only costs ten thousand...
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A Barn Visit and a Fresh Reminder About Predator and Prey

It’s a thing called a Barn Visit. I offer them to clients mainly, those I’ve worked with online through the...
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Mental Maturity in Horses

Darryl, Darryl, and his other brother, Darryl I've never been good at remembering dates, so sometimes...
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Unwanted Favors: What’s the Affirmative Response to “No”?

Last month, we were in Texas and I'm still thinking about a near-altercation between two dog owners. I was one...
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Why “Ride ’em Through It” Is a Bad Idea

"Sure, your horse is tossing his head and wringing his tail, but you push him on. More leg. Ride 'em...
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What’s Love Got To Do With It? [Horse Version]

We love horses. We love to say it loud and proud. We love the ones we grew up with and...
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A Training Question About Hurrying Horses …and a Grass Fire

I see people in the grocery store thoughtfully reading labels and pondering choices. The Dude Rancher and I look like...
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“Why is Everything With Horses So Hard?”

"Can Competition Horses be Trained Affirmatively?" she asked. I know why she asks. This rider has been trained to think...
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The Simple Truth About Complicated Training

It was back around the time the light bulb was invented. My Grandfather Horse was a lanky spooky colt, I...
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Affirmative Training: Response Time and a Hail Mary Pass

My client and I were having an online meeting. We'd been working on a systematic process of getting her and...
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Calming Signals: They Call Me Mister Dog!!!

Sidney Poitier died this year and I mourn him. I was not the only girl who swooned over him in...
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Being the Railbird: Anniversary Edition

Beware: Colorado Prairie Railbirds, guaranteed to spook more people more than horses. A reader gave me...
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Does it Feel Like Everyone is Watching You?

It's you and your horse. Sometimes people looking at him think he isn't much but that's because they don't know...
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Training Your Horse: Spring Fever and Fluid Goals

Ants in your pants. It was a childhood affliction constantly mentioned by adults when we couldn't sit still in church...
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A Short List of Unfair Things to Ask a Horse

Old mares have a constant dilemma. They get stiff and stove-up. They're stoic so they don't whine about it, but...
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A Different Leg Cue

"My horse won't go forward!" the rider says. Many trainers respond with the traditional battle cry, "More leg!" What does...
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Forging a Path: What to Do Next With Your Horse.

It's that time of winter when you half-think spring isn't real. Are you frustrated with how you and your horse...
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Tunnel Vision for Problems and the Things We Don’t Notice

  The night-feed is my favorite. In the summer, the sky and clouds are as gaudy as the underwear department...
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Calming Signal Substitutions: Helping Your Horse

Most of us are old enough to remember what a rolled-up newspaper is for. Wacking the dog, of course. Because...
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What Does it Mean to be Domesticated?

If you have been reading along for the last 1300 or so weekly essays of mine, you know sometimes I...
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Finding the Ground But In a Good Way

Our T'ai Chi master told us to drop our weight? I was barely legal and my fledgling art career was...
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Auld Lang Syne Horses

I've heard it a couple of times just today: "As we head into the third year of Covid..." It makes...
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A Love Letter to Dirt.

It's the eve of Christmas Eve and I'm worried about my dirt. Maybe the world has bigger problems and maybe...
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