Relaxed & Forward Blog

Photo & Poem: Payment Due

  No more lingering in the melon-colored dusk, grazing late to the barn. The pasture is finished, even the weeds...

When Nice People Carry Whips.

"I just carry the whip. I don't use it." "I do liberty with my horse, it's just an extension of...

Photo and Poem: Black Bay

  She was for sale: a black bay Arabian mare and I was looking for a beginner lesson horse. Tacked...

The Real Helmet Heroes. (#ihad, #riders4helmets)

This week was ordinary in the horse world. We love horses, who have the quickest response time of any domestic...

Photo and Poem: What If?

  There is a crisp apple coolness to the air. Soon there will be frost, I tell the horses, soon...

The Thing About Donkeys

 

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    I wrote about mares and the response was so huge that I felt...

Photo & Poem: Reluctant

  Stay outside until the sun is low, reluctant to let the day end, tidying halters, raking loose hay into...

Does Your Horse Need a Tune-Up?

  This is how it goes: Sometimes it's just fine to go lollygagging around. The time isn't right; you're hungry...

Photo & Poem: A Donkey’s Years

  His bray begins with a shallow panting, as he aligns the end of his nose level with his back,...

What to Do When You See Cruelty

It was a sadly normal week in the larger horse world. Horses got hurt and humans waged war with each...

Photo & Poem: A Cure for Sadness

  Jerk out the fencing staples and carefully pocket them, leave nothing in the dirt. Pull the sagging wire fence...

How to Have a Conversation with Someone Who Doesn’t Talk

People talk to horses constantly. The words are unintelligible most of the time, to both us and the horse, but...

Photo & Poem: I Cannot Know

  We became strangers. I thought I knew her so well; that place just back from her ears where her...

Calming Signals: Trust Above Training

It was my job to haul him to his new trainer. He was a bright young gelding, some would call...

Photo & Poem: When the Sunset is Through With Me

  The sunset plays me. In the heat of the day, colors are flattened by glare and searchlight bluntness, work...

Calming Signals: Do You Tease Your Horse?

There was a time that I had a basset hound named Agatha and a bunch of friends with toddlers. It...

Photo & Poem: Sentient

  Long in the tooth, people say. Gray hairs dusting his temple, this gelding plays the part of good uncle,...

Aggressive or Assertive?

She was a breathtaking draft-cross mare who I met at Duchess Sanctuary this year. There was just a presence about...

Photo& Poem: Go Fish

  Mom took us kids in the station wagon to the church bazaar. Homemade women’s goods for sale; boring cross-stitched...

Affirmative Training for Colts and Fillies

  Foals are irresistible. They are precocious and lively; they cavort and air gallop and sleep flat-out. When they wake...

Photo & Poem: Faraway Friends

  I would show you the adolescent Canada geese on the pond. Better behaved than we ever would have been,...

Brain Science as a Training Aid

  It was a two-day-long science class and we were promised a brain dissection. I signed up immediately and have...

Photo & Poem: Dwindling Light

  His swayed back so warm in the late afternoon but he doesn’t lie down. His shoulders bear his weight...

Fear, Shame, and Affirmative Training

  This is a photo of when you first fell in love with horses. Maybe you dreamed it and it...

Photo & Poem: Dry Thunder

  The draft horses galloped out of the barn and down the fence line, stood on their hind legs, pawing...

Confidence Lost and Found

  We thought having a horse would make everything perfect. It's a dream most of us were born with; we...

Photo & Poem: Hand

  One draws attention, standing by a tolerant gelding and playing the horse whisperer, tickling withers, teasing his whiskery muzzle....

Affirmative Training and Spoiling Horses

Most of us hear voices. We might be working with our horses on an issue and floundering in the moment,...

Photo & Poem: Spine to Spine

His back is not solid, nerves run between banks of muscle, each vertebra linked to the next, from the base...

Be-Here-Now: Focus on Safety (Helmets and Response Time)

  You're standing in a tennis court just behind the baseline, being mildly uncomfortable in your tennis togs because the...

Photo & Poem: Home Farm

Skeletal power poles from the wind turbines out east litter the view of the mountains, splintering the sunset. New construction...

The Thing About Geldings

I'm the sort of horse-person who hears about a castration and pops a cork for a toast all around. I...

Photo & Poem: Missing Her

  Haunted by her hooves, jagged edges tilting her balance, she stood in filth, wooden pallets cobbled into a pen....

The Thing About Mares

A Przewalski mare and foal in Scotland When Larry McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove, he gave Woodrow...

Photo & Poem: Spring Storm

The storm came so late that shedding season was done, the horse’s coats already thin and slick. So late there...

Be-Here-Now: Focus on the Task

Does your horse get restless or bored when standing with you? Does he pull the rope, trying to graze when...

Photo & Poem: Asking for Her Eye

  She knows my presence before I see her. Under the tree in the far corner of the pasture, no...

Leading from Behind and Green Grass

Pia, a lovely intelligent mare who has no issue with grass. *Public Service Announcement* Your horses...

Photo & Poem: Bond

  He said show her who’s boss. Standing with her head in the corner and hooves nervous on the straw,...

The Argument for Curiosity: From Fear to Courage

Cadence teaching contact. I rarely have any idea where I'm headed. I get in a car...

Photo & Poem: Birds and Horses

  Fences mended with twine until there’s more time. Scrubbed water tanks filled fresh, drank down to half by noon....

Calming Signals and Holding a Grudge

Sometimes your horse isn't forward and it's frustrating. Or he doesn't like the trailer, and now neither do you. Maybe...

Travelblog: Introverts Everywhere

Humans spend so much time trying to “make” horses do things. I’m a little more fascinated these days with what...

Photo & Poem: Invisible Rope

Walking wide beyond my grasp, only ask for his eye, now wait. His forelock shelters a glimmer of movement. He’ll...

Can You Feel Your Hand?

  Can you feel your hand? How about your fingers? Literally, can you feel them if there isn't a paper...

Photo & Poem: The Sea’s Nature

  The sea’s nature is change, waves rolling one on top of the last, spent flat...

Calming Signals and the Thing We Call Stubborn

In celebration of Edgar Rice Burro's birthday, he's asked me to rant a bit about the thing humans call stubborn....

Photo & Poem: Flight

So still the herd, taking rest with soft flank to muscled shoulder, as the light shifts cooler. One nose lifts...

Calming Signals and Preacher Man: Still “Reactive” After All These Years

Bear with me, please. I miss my dogs, one in particular. I'm in Dunedin, and he's 12,620 km away. It...

Photo & Poem: Horse Trailer Conversation

Horse Trailer Conversation She takes me from the herd, pulling me to the box. Her hand is thick, there is...

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