Relaxed & Forward Blog

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...

Behavioral Euthanasia of Horses

  "Anna, do you have any articles that touch on behavioral euthanasia?" It's from a question about a rescue horse...

Photo & Poem: Wild and Tame

  You’ve landed in a place you don’t belong, the cat let me know, as she howled at you on...

Can a Horse Try Too Hard?

It was the first day of a Calming Signals clinic. I was talking to a group of people about leading...

Photo & Poem: Known

Across the long diagonal to the west corner of the dry lot, he’s on the far side of the herd,...

The Horse Trainer and the Dermatologist.

My gray mare calming signals included squinty eyes, a dry mouth, and a weird chicken-like movement with my neck and...

Photo & Poem: Waiting Out the Storm

  Rusty coat, a spiky mane, and a spotted blanket, he would have been a firecracker of a colt, plain...

Horses in Solitary.

This is my fence panel. I lost count of the other's just like it, eight, I think. I find them...

Photo & Poem: Burning Snow

  Nature swats at the pasty insects fussing with watch stems, adjusting mechanical time. Taking one hour, exactly sixty minutes,...

Creativity and the Problem with Training Techniques.

We were standing around the barn after the vet had left, a group of trainers and riders and horses, telling...

Photo & Poem: Lead Me

  The horse’s eye curtained by his forelock, his ear turns to stare back as we walk in matched strides,...

Learning to Let Go: Pearl

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She arrived at Infinity Farm unceremoniously. We moved a fence panel, backed the rig in close, and...

Photo & Poem: Explain the Sky

  Restless eyes behind closed lids, the early hours lay flat, dull to these scurrying thoughts. Rise to use the...

Calming Signals and Boundaries

A request to write about boundaries, in which the Loudmouth Party-Pooper returns. Am I allowed a pet peeve? I've began...

Photo & Poem: Let Down

  So convinced of her isolation, she had become its primary cause. So exhausted to chance, she had retreated to...

Does Your Horse “Respect” You?

I'm just the sort of old-fashioned cowgirl/dressage queen/dork that loves the concept of respect. Philosophically and in real life, I...

Photo & Poem: Finding Voice

  “Curiosity is a sign of courage,” she said, hushing my correction. Bright praise for my colt chasing her dog...

Calming Signals and Ambivalent Horses.

Humans are impatient worriers. On the high side, it means we care but we want to know everything immediately. Perhaps...

Photo & Poem: Her Return

  Lawn chairs got tossed, doors banged and windows rattled. She came back late, maybe even drunk. When I ventured...

Change: A Virtual* Barn Raising!

No, I'm not building a real barn. That would be easy. I'm handy with tools and I've been known to...

Barn Raising this Friday!

We're making some upgrades, remodeling the website, and adding on a new "Barn". We'll go dark for a few days...

Forward: Give Him His Head

Give him his head. You know what it means in the horse racing world and what it means in the...

Photo & Poem: Corgi Moon

The prairie rings with strange voices, this Wolf Moon is owned by coyotes, less visible by day in dry winter...

Ta-Da! Meet Me at the R&F Barn.

Ta-Da! Join Me at the Barn. Who knew I would love giving clinics this much? In the past, I’ve always...

Forward: Relaxed or Lazy?

Forward, having a ground-covering fluid gait, is the foundation of balance and comfort for a horse, mentally and physically. Horses...

Travelblog: Addressing the Vegetarian Haggis

And again, sorry if this is a repeat, but it was time for the blog to come home to roost......

Photo & Poem: Snapshot

How did these things get so old, when I remember as if just a week has passed? This snapshot of...

Training Issue or Pain?

"My horse won't go forward," she says. Are you sure he isn't in pain? "No, he's fine. No signs of lameness."   Not going...

Forward: Training Issue or Pain?

"My horse won't go forward," she says. Are you sure he isn't in pain? "No, he's fine. No signs of lameness."   Not going...

Photo & Poem: Old Guests

Told to fear the dark, my tiny legs bolted the breathless distance from the milking barn across to the house,...

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