Relaxed & Forward Blog

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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Patience in Real Time

A clinic organizer was telling me about a trainer she brought in, someone whose approach was significantly more aggressive than...
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Brain Science and the Art of Play

It's cold on the flat windy treeless prairie of Colorado. The next few months will be even colder but right...
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Relaxed & Forward in 2022. Now What?

The lockdown at the beginning of 2020, followed by months of quarantine, was a wonderful opportunity for a thoughtful assessment...
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Thanksgiving is for the Dogs.

Here are two of my dogs, Preacher Man and Manning, guarding the back door. You'll notice they are facing the...
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Gray Mares, Time, and Priorities

Do you notice that it gets a little easier to be yourself every day? Public speaking wasn't the sort of...
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Is Your Horse Distracted?

You want the horse to focus on the task and do it. Let's say your horse needs to stand still....
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Why Don’t You Ride?

"Why don't you ride?" It's the question we dread. Sometimes the people who ask are neophytes who don't understand that...
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Human Calming Signals: What Counterfeit Means

Back in the day, there was a word used when talking about a stoic horse that who seemed almost too...
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Calming Signals. You Can’t Save ‘Em All. Cat Version.

I walk in my pasture. Women of a certain over-thinking age do well to put a few miles in a...
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How Horses Train Us

You are a horse trainer. It does not always give me joy to say so, but it's true and other...
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What Does Having a Connection With a Horse Mean?

What does it mean to have a connection with a horse? You just know I'm going to be a loudmouth...
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A Legacy of Homegrown Ingenuity and Bull-Headed Confidence

I am the great-granddaughter of pioneers. They traveled far, mixed their blood with those not like them, and built lives...
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Calming Signals and Why the Second Time’s a Charm.

Want to know the smallest thing you could change in training for the biggest improvement? I usually say doing a...
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Your Horse’s Memory is Your Best Training Aid.

My friend, Bruce, died from colic one year ago today. You are remembered. Our memories of...
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Virtual Dressage and Girls in White Shirts

The FEI passed good rules this year, and the Olympic judging held to the high side. Dressage had things to...
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Does Leadership Mean Domination Now?

From a Reader: "Anna, you articulate the dance between horse and human so very succinctly. I wish it were easier...
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Boundaries: Whose Space Is It?

Horses gallop on pounding hooves that cut the ground and then melt to a stop, whiskers floating in the light....
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