Relaxed & Forward Blog

Photo & Poem: Let Down

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?

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

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.

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

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!

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!

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

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

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! 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: Relaxed or Lazy?

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

Relaxed or Lazy?

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

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?

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?

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

Photo & Poem: Old Guests

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

Writing and Riding

Happy New Year. It's my ninth year of writing this blog about riding. Thank you for reading along, and I...
Photo & Poem: After Snow

Photo & Poem: After Snow

This night snow floats down, each flake so light that it doesn’t land so much as hover precariously over fence...
Ta-Da! Join Me at the Barn.

Ta-Da! Join Me at the Barn.

Who knew I would love giving clinics this much? In the past, I've always done a scant few a year...
Photo & Poem: Calming Signal

Photo & Poem: Calming Signal

inhale light exhale peace ... Every good wish from our herd to yours, with gratitude for all you have given...
Mucking on Winter Solstice

Mucking on Winter Solstice

From Australian kangaroos sleeping in the dressage arena to Scottish castle ruins by the side of the road to the...
Photo & Poem: Dark Solstice

Photo & Poem: Dark Solstice

Christmas lights are a poor trade for the wildfire clouds at dawn, iridescent light draining the midnight purple fringe from...
Calming Signals Aren't Calming

Calming Signals Aren't Calming

Lots of the people who come to Calming Signals clinics are bright-eyed and hopeful that I have a signal to...
Photo & Poem: Not Allowed

Photo & Poem: Not Allowed

Animals were not allowed in our farm house, three rooms and an attic. Dark mornings with frost on the inside...
Calming Signals from the Saddle.

Calming Signals from the Saddle.

  Say you're learning to read calming signals, so naturally, you're scrutinizing your horse. Staring like a coyote. Very quietly...
Photo & Poem: Ice

Photo & Poem: Ice

Clouds fell to the ground in a fog, the air dense as mud forcing the sun dark early, resting so...
Calming Signals and Equine Stress

Calming Signals and Equine Stress

From a reader: What I am learning from you, Anna, is helpful as I work to understand the horse. What...
Photo & Poem: Stetson

Photo & Poem: Stetson

Sweat-stained pinch front Stetson, the flat color of sand, perched over straight eyebrows. I asked after the swayback sorrel grazing...
Calming Signals and "Happy" Horses

Calming Signals and "Happy" Horses

Blog I'm now officially calling this my Loudmouth Party-Pooper Series. Today I'm writing about love and happiness, for horses, not...
Photo & Poem: Thanksgiving

Photo & Poem: Thanksgiving

We’d be grateful for a kind winter. If that works out, maybe a sweet season of green grass, probably not...
Photo & Poem: Thanksgiving

Photo & Poem: Thanksgiving

Relaxed & Forward Blog We’d be grateful for a kind winter. If that works out, maybe a sweet season of...
Calming Signals and Sensitive Noses.

Calming Signals and Sensitive Noses.

"But My Horse Asks Me to Maul His Nose." I had questions about my loudmouth party-pooper post last week where I...
Photo & Poem: Winter

Photo & Poem: Winter

  A night so frigid the snow stopped at midnight, the farm dark under thick clouds. He takes a shallow...
Calming Signals and Loving Your Horse

Calming Signals and Loving Your Horse

On any ordinary day of any year, we get so filled with emotion talking about a ghost horse that our...
Photo & Poem: Moonlit

Photo & Poem: Moonlit

The path north to the barn, icy mud slick with decomposing leaves, as a spent season slips away under the...
Calming Signals and Pressure.

Calming Signals and Pressure.

Pressure. Even the Word Makes My Head Explode. Remember that circus old-time act with lions and tigers? We were supposed...
Travelblog NZ: The View From the Arena Middle

Travelblog NZ: The View From the Arena Middle

  Let me see. Where was I? Yes, having the time of my life at Equidays in New Zealand. On...
Photo & Poem: Soft

Photo & Poem: Soft

Hands go soft, give him his head. The red gelding wants to be braver than he is, shaking his neck...
Always Begging for Hay

Always Begging for Hay

Horses eat like a horse. They're designed to graze most of the day. I think horses worry about their next...
How to be Interesting and Mysterious

How to be Interesting and Mysterious

  Humans can be such dullish boors to horses. Not that we would ever actually admit that. Some of us...
Travelblog:  Business Pajamas to New Zealand

Travelblog: Business Pajamas to New Zealand

To get to New Zealand from Colorado, it's usually a twenty-five or thirty-hour trip. The big hop in this flight,...
Photo & Poem: Ghost

Photo & Poem: Ghost

  Her big sister won a contest, sharing breakfast with minor horse celebrities, so this shy red-haired girl with glasses...
Dismounting: How the Ride Ends

Dismounting: How the Ride Ends

  You're riding a horse who has taken care of you for years. You're riding a young, greener-than-green horse. You're...
Photo & Poem: Respite

Photo & Poem: Respite

Caramel and blond, a mare as beautiful as she is wildly alert to every sound, brittle bravado searching for control...
Finding Your Horse's Sense of Humor.

Finding Your Horse's Sense of Humor.

His name is Normandy, but he goes by Norman at home. He's been here almost a year now; he belongs...
Photo & Poem: Other

Photo & Poem: Other

  Stalking each other, the pale color of prairie straw, she should be a coyote but her tail has short...
Hindsight Argument for Affirmative Training

Hindsight Argument for Affirmative Training

He was a huge gelding with obvious draft blood. I could see white all the way around his eye. It...
Photo & Poem: Scream

Photo & Poem: Scream

  Her crusty old body wobbles, too frail to run on uneven hooves, no energy to eat. Don’t call her...
Consistency in All the Right Places.

Consistency in All the Right Places.

In the winter months, below-freezing mornings make for stiff joints and a cold bit; midday riding is the best. As...
Photo & Poem: Boundary

Photo & Poem: Boundary

  Dim light elongates in the lavender dusk, boundaries soften to faded nuance. Barn horses bolt at an inaudible sound,...

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