Relaxed & Forward Blog

COVID-19 with Horses: How Are We Doing?

If horse people know one thing, it's that it's never just one thing. Having horses also means we partner with...

Real-Time Communication: The Land of What-If

My horse always pulls his head away. My horse never wants to go first on the trail. My horse always...

Horse Woman, Our Narrative

Drawing by Rebecca Howard I usually write a gray mare rant annually on my birthday. I'm...

A List of Inedible Treats for Your Horse

It's funny how something someone says can turn over in your mind for years after. I had a visitor, and...

Do You Need Riding Lessons?

It was a conversation about riding lessons. My friend said she thought it was strange that I'd worked so extensively...

Affirmative Training: Can You Take a Hint?

  It's a story that I've heard quite a few times. You've heard it too. The horse was getting a...

How a Legend is Born

What is it about horses? I think I might have drawn them on cave walls at the beginning of time,...

How to See It Like a Horse

My friend was tracing her Arabian's family tree. She'd driven north of Denver to see her horse's sire and ran...

The Problem with Humility

I've gotten sour on a word. Why does it matter? Words are how we understand each other but some words...

Poetry Out Loud: Impulsion

 
It’s not unusual to feel still air rush over your cheeks and past your ears. It’s...

What Horses Want to “Talk” About.

  What is it about the snout of an old horse? Especially a pink and black muzzle? How can it...

Poetry Out Loud: Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog There was a message on my phone. My dog...

Requiem for an Old Truck

req·ui·em/ˈrekwēəm/noun 1.(especially in the Roman Catholic Church) a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead. There is...

Poetry Out Loud: Loss

    By request. Thanks, everyone. Loss The sun leaves just the sky behind,...

Is Affirmative Training Denial?

It was during a meeting in an online class called Back in the Saddle. We'd shared videos of the week's...

Poetry Out Loud: Wish

  I'm changing things up a bit. I'll be posting video of my poetry being read on Mondays. You can...

Distraction: A Simple Answer for Bright Shiny Things

  Is your horse distracted? Is he always swinging his head at every noise? Does he knock you with his...

Photo & Poem: Her Words

If her words didn’t matter, her father would lift his eyes from the television commercials and not busy his mouth...

Calming Signals and What You Can’t Unsee.

  Here's our barn rat. She started earlier than most. Now, she's tall and smart and brave and what we...

Photo & Poem: Weather Change

Hail blown sideways by the wind, dark clouds churning across the horizon, as the horses brace against the stinging ice...

Making Peace with Anxiety

A caption for this photo? "Dressage rider doesn't grasp the fundamentals of team penning." How about "Dressage rider brings a...

Photo & Poem: Forever Now

Walking past the mare, I let my hand follow the shape of her body, her hair so short it has...

What Will Happen if You Don’t Ride Today?

It's really hot here. How hot is it? I'm not saying. People get competitive. You'd just say it's hotter where...

Photo & Poem: Her Place

A stick pony to start, with a wooden head and twine for a mane. The tiny girl stomped unevenly, imagining...

Calming Signals and Living on the Ulcer Continuum

Forty years ago, we didn't know about ulcers. Some horses acted crazy and we tried to train them out of...

Photo & Poem: Midsummer

Midsummer, the mare stands square, hooves flat and neck low, her muzzle faced into the corner of a dark stall,...

Affirmative Training and the Rhythm Method

Remember when you first heard the term The Rhythm Method? I was almost certain it had to do with something...

Photo & Poem: Old Dog

A deliberate old dog pacing the yard fence with gray dreadlocks and a stiff stride. A mixed-breed badly constructed, a...

A Funny Thing Happened During the Euthanasia.

We've been having llama line dances here for over twenty years. It happens at dusk and it is boundingly beautiful....

Photo & Poem: As if Love

She declared that she loved her horse as if loving took a sort of noble skill rare to our kind....

Things My Dogs Don’t Care About.

I'm the kind of person who has big dogs. I always have been, not that my dogs care. I have...

Photo and Poem: Three-Quarter-Ton

  Driving home from the feed store on a back road, easing my foot from the gas pedal, the three-quarter-ton...

Long Dark Night of the Soul: Colic

Andante's nickering. I've pulled the hay out of his run and swept the mats. He has a baritone voice, a...

Photo & Poem: Sage Under-hoof

An elder red mare and her rider babysat us as we climbed in and out of ravines, my young horse...

Why Training Techniques Don’t Work

  It's Sunday night and the clinic has ended, but there might be a horse or two that can't seem...

Photo & Poem: Words

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” Voicing her anxiety first, was my blouse revealing something more than unconventional taste? Welcoming...

Deconstucting Fear with Affirmative Training

  Something is off with your horse, but you can't tell what. You might be leading him or you might...

Photo & Poem: Sunset to Dark

Talking with her while I walk the farm, I say look what you’ve done with the new grass. Earth sends...

Affirmative Training and Corrections You Regret.

People tell me that when they're with their horses, they aren't always perfect. They sound apologetic, you'd think I wore...

Photo & Poem: No Gloves

The woman doesn’t make a good first impression. Her hair is dry as straw under a ball cap from Tractor...

Edgar Rice Burro on Covid-19 and Physical Distancing (on World Donkey Day)

  Does Covid-19 impact my herd? The email asked, "I wonder if you've noticed the quieter world in your horses?...

Photo & Poem: Slap Hands

Sit next to Jack, she said. Mother’s youngest brother on leave from the Army at our kitchen table. He pinched...

It Could Be Worse. You Could Be Married to Me.

"Honey, when you're in town will you pick something up for me?" I don't quite wait for the answer. "Great,...

Photo & Poem: Aged-Out

Aged-out with his horse, he said, like a sell-by date in the grocery store. We all stop riding, just a...

How to Be a Safe Anchor for Your Horse

For us long-timers, if we've been lucky, it feels like we're always standing in a ghost herd. They're good company...

Photo & Poem: Breakout

  Our horses are not young, neither are we. We negotiate with winter, bartering against the wind that our horses...

A Calming Signal Way of Being

  I have to credit a decent mid-life crisis for changing the course of my horse life. Not that I...

Photo & Poem: Limbo

  As if struck by lightning, the horse died; a clean and horrible quiet. No diagnosis, no cure, no negotiation....

Affirmative Training and Trust During an Emergency

  You started with horses the same way most of us were taught. You tried to show them who's boss,...

Photo & Poem: Home Farm

The mare stands square, extending her neck, surveying the pond marsh. Are the coyotes on the move? She takes three...

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