Relaxed & Forward Blog

Advice? Take a Deep Seat and a Faraway Look…

My young horse was lame, so my mentor asked if I'd like a lesson on her horse. It wasn't a...
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Take a Cue from Your Horse

He was a bright young gelding. Alert, athletic, and so willing. One day he would become the kind of breathtaking...
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Affirmative Training: A Cowboy Walks Into a Bar…

A cowboy walks into a bar. He's dusty, fresh from the barn. Shuffling his feet, keeping his eyes low, he...
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Horses and the Pain We Can’t Stop.

The Grandfather Horse: Dirt Bath Interrupted. We've all done it. We look at that horse and...
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Saying Yes to a Horse When You Mean No

Sometimes something someone says sticks with you because it's brilliant. Sometimes it sticks because it's plain wrong. I was working...
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Learning to Herd: How Dogs Become Family

I was raised by people who didn’t let dogs in the house. The common opinion was that dogs should live...
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How Humans are Different from Horses

In the beginning, a filly is born. In the hospital, a baby girl human is born.  The filly stands almost...
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Calming Signals: How Do You Listen To a Horse?

What is your first memory of listening to a horse? Not standing next to a horse and being certain he...
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Horse Intelligence: What Are We Missing?

  I love reading about science like hungry people love over-cooked greenish-gray Brussel sprouts. And that's the kind of sentence...
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Life Happens: The Unplanned Dismount

"I owned horses for 20 years until divorce happened," the reader said, asking me to write about it. "I think...
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Whoa. A Hands-Free Halt.

She's an 18hh Thoroughbred-Shire cross. She's 30 years old and her name is Thyme.  I'll give you a minute to...
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She Said Her Horse Was Pensive.

L. and her gelding, Andante, are boarders here. I always ask how the ride went as they return to the...
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Spring Fever, Bad Behavior, or Flight Response?

It's February on the high prairie at the fringe of the Rocky Mountains. The pond is still frozen so there...
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An Allergy, Spyglass Tunnel Vision, & a Valentine

    Most of us start with an allergy. Our noses get stuffy and our eyes are red and teary...
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Can Horses Forgive Us?

The reader said that an essay I'd written "brought to mind how many times my involuntary predatory instincts have surfaced...
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A Short List of Things Horses Do Need Us to Teach Them.

For all our love for horses, humans are still predators. We don't like to hear that. We're defensive; we've seen...
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A Short List of Things Horses Don’t Need Us to Teach Them.

If Edgar Rice Burro were to title this Bev Doolittle-like photo, he might call it Beauty and the Beast. He...
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Contact: Wait Too Late… Then Panic

  Dear Fellow Primates: It is our instinct to grab. It is our instinct to talk in imitation-semaphore with our...
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Calming Signals: “But My Mare Likes This Bit”

I arrived at the clinic grounds Friday afternoon so I could meet the organizers and check out the facility. They'd...
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The Word Inside an Exhale: EASE

It's January first. The calendar has flipped over and I'm happy with the new numbers. New Year's is an excellent...
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When There’s No Room At The Inn…

Even on holidays, our family dinners don't look like other people's. Neither do our hands or shoes. We look different;...
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Living the Question

"Why can't my horse behave for the farrier?" Sarah isn't the only one who asks this question. Picking up feet...
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The Solitary Journey to the Heart of One Horse

I listened to a podcast interview with Jane Goodall this week. She is my personal superhero, and I will never...
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Calming Signals and Whiskers

I always thought of grooming as part of the warm-up for the ride. It's the price paid up front, a...
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Poetry Out Loud: Horse. Woman.

This blog will get back to some sort of new "normal" soon. What a year, huh? For now, just a...
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Calming Signals: How the Farm Says Thank You.

      It's Thanksgiving time and I should write something special, but I feel kind of ordinary. All I...
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Altering Time to Benefit Your Horse

You have a plan for your horse and an expectation of how it will go, but it's taking way too...
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Who’s Risk-Averse?

This week a stranger asked for my prayers. She posted a photo of an incredibly young girl with a crushed...
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Human Calming Signals: Authenticity

Some people are just so effortlessly magic with horses. They seem to do nothing, but horses hang on their every...
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Human Calming Signals: What’s Your Barn Persona?

How aware are we when we pull on a persona? We're usually aware when we tidy one up to make...
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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...
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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...
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Horse Woman, Our Narrative

Drawing by Rebecca Howard I usually write a gray mare rant annually on my birthday. I'm...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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...
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Poetry Out Loud: Impulsion

 
It’s not unusual to feel still air rush over your cheeks and past your ears. It’s...
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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...
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Poetry Out Loud: Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog There was a message on my phone. My dog...
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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...
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Poetry Out Loud: Loss

    By request. Thanks, everyone. Loss The sun leaves just the sky behind,...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Calming Signals and What You Can’t Unsee.

  Our Barn Rat first met horses when she was three days old. She started earlier than some. Now, she's...
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Photo & Poem: Weather Change

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