Relaxed & Forward Blog

Life Coach: The Goat Version

It was a beautiful end-of-summer afternoon, just about feeding time. Cupid had been with us for almost a year by...

Photo & Poem: Holiday Place

  You had a plan for how this would go when you left home. Longing for a thing different than...

How To Spoil Your Horse

Will we ever stop telling long-winded horse stories? No chance. We are besotted with horses; we need horse friends because...

Photo and Poem: No Other

  You are wise to not let me see, stoic one. Show not your age, certainly not a weakness. Be...

Calming Signals and Color: Do Horses Understand Laughter?

  Every week new research comes out, some more ethically tabulated than others, about science proving horses are intelligent; an...

Photo & Poem: You Know the Way

  The rhythm of hooves over even soft ground, we’ve lost time out together rocked safe in the saddle like...

Do Horses Fear Death?

  It's been an ordinary year. Animals died here. What could be more normal? Infinity Farm has an extended herd...

Photo & Poem: Tea

  Stomping in the back porch to knock the dirt off my boots, there’s too much wind to work outside...

Free Advice: Everybody’s a Trainer

"What I see astounds me. It's difficult to be around other riders who constantly give advice I didn't ask for."...

Photo & Poem: Braced

  Black eyes sunk deep in her skull, certain she knows what will come next. The trail of scars on...

What is an Ethical Ride?

  We are great horse owners. We love our horses. Some of us compete and some stroll around the pasture,...

Photo & Poem: Goodnight

  Leaning on the gate. Checking water tanks at dusk, one last glance at the herd before heading in. I...

The Advantage of Less Time

It's the second big freeze here on the farm and it isn't even Halloween. Much too early for such polar...

Photo & Poem: Spine

  He repeats it all again, a little slower and louder each time, enunciating as if she cannot hear. Certain...

Calming Signals and the Myth of Desensitizing

  This chestnut mare is all that. Alert. Intelligent. Willing. And in possession of the quickest response time of any...

Photo & Poem: Spotted Horse

  Both horsewomen would remember this moment. A blustering wind, not cold, but bitter. Misty clouds settled the dust. A...

Calming Signals: What is a “Hard No?”

  I worry that humans are losing the ability to carry on a polite conversation. I'm talking about civility of...

Photo & Poem: The Call

  To feel the red soil, fine dust to pea gravel, with each toe through the sole of my shoe....

Calming Signals: A Vow of Silence

By now you should snort out loud when someone says their horse is ignoring them. Really, is there a more...

Photo & Poem: Owning Herself

  Save your pity. It means nothing. She’s a big mare, broad chest and straight legs, her coat the color...

Calming Signals and Implicit Bias.

The Barnies are really hitting their stride. I started an online subscription group earlier this year called The Barn. Soon...

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...

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