Relaxed & Forward Blog

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

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.

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

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

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

Christmas lights are a poor trade for the wildfire clouds at dawn, iridescent light drainingthe midnight purple fringe from the...

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo & Poem: Thanksgiving

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

Horse Prayers. Available. No, Really.

Horse Prayers, Poems from the Prairie.  First there were hold-ups in the printing. Then distribution went sideways. There were lost...

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...

No, Really. I Mean It. Horse Prayers is Available!

I used to be a real black and white thinker. Right or wrong.

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

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

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.

Pressure. Even the Word Makes My Head Explode. Remember that circus old-time act with lions and tigers? We were supposed...

Travelblog: Introverts Everywhere

Humans spend so much time trying to "make" horses do things. I'm a little more fascinated these days with what...

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

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

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

  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

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

  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

  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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

Photo & Poem: Boundary

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

Battlecry of the Gray Mare

Sun's up, I've thrown hay, and now I'm in the shower. My second-best thinking happens here because there's a window...

Photo & Poem: Unsettled

Unsettled in-between days, a musty fog slows the sunrise, flannel jacket zipped-up for early chores. The chill is a relief...

The Power of Yes

Ever noticed how easy it is to see the horse who's resistant? How easy it is to pick out the...

Photo & Poem: Dignity

If only she was more demure, that her words had come with a coy smile, eyes dropped to her sunken...

The Big Picture, Thank You.

  Horse people can be a little intense. Come to think of it, I can't say I've ever met anyone who...

Book Review:Horse Prayers by Anna Blake

Horse Prayers has landed! So grateful for this wonderful review from Anne, and she shared two of my favorite poems.

Photo & Poem: Sanctuary

Moving like a newborn, narrow body swaying on spindly legs, but stumbling on hooves so long that you must push...

A Problem With Grazing.

From a reader: The ideas and thinking presented in your blog have been hugely helpful in improving the time my horse...

Photo & Poem: Cold Front

A flannel barn shirt buttoned but resisting a jacket, feeling as uneasy as the horses, hay blown wide, flighty hooves...

Jack the Dog: Calming Signals and Anthropomorphism

Maybe there's a rule that if you have dogs long enough, you eventually end up with a terrier even if...

Photo & Poem: Counterfeit

  The herd stands close as the midday heat saturates the air, shadows black on the earth, their bodies held...

Photo & Poem: Counterfeit

  The herd stands close as the midday heat saturates the air, shadows black on the earth, their bodies held...

Riding From Behind

In my fantasy world, you've read about leading from behind and beyond, and tried it with your horse. It wasn't...

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