Relaxed & Forward Blog

Photo & Poem: Beginnings

  Dream Horse He’s midnight black with steely eyes, on hooves so light they make no sound as he sails...

Leading from Behind, Part Two and Beyond

Leading from behind is an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp, but most things about working with horses are counter-intuitive for humans...

Photo & Poem: Calendar

Tufting the Corgi Do I need a sweater? The evening air has cooled thinner, the time on the clock doesn’t...

Leading from Behind, Part One.

Here's Norman, the new kid at the barn. He's a young Percheron-TB cross with pretty wonderful gaits and a sweet...

Photo & Poem: Beginning the Fall

  A heat so profound that horses were knocked back, sheltering all day in small shade, relief for the sparse...

Riding: If We Can’t Feel It, We Can’t Fix It.

    After the last blog, a friend/trainer thought legs should have been mentioned. Or as she put it, "'The...

Photo & Poem: Roots

  There was a single elm on the short path from the house to barn, its trunk no larger than...

Riding: Feeling Every Stride, From Our Inside

This is the recurring nightmare. You're on a twisted version of Dancing with the Stars. There are glaring lights and...

Travel Blog: Shall I Be Mother?

Say hello to Bruce. He is the spokesmodel for The 2018 Long Ears Tour, an unexpected title bestowed on my...

Photo & Poem: At a Writing Workshop

  At a Writing Workshop A dog stalks the sofa, gazing with one eye and then crossing his nose to...

The Middle Path: Negotiating Care With Busy Professionals

My advice: Find someone who gets along with donkeys.   A question from two readers: "We...

Horse Prayers Book Release July 5, 2018 (Yay!)

  Horse Prayers, Poems from the Prairie is available July 5th! The release of Horse Prayers, Poems from the Prairie,...

Photo & Poem: Surviving Vulnerability

  Dark eyes, older than her years, the horse’s shoulder shows damage, thick scars and a stilted gait, the opposite...

Self-Awareness Without Apology

We aren't kids anymore. That's the complaint. Riding seems easier in memory. When we were younger, riding was rose-colored and...

Travel Blog: Addressing the Vegetarian Haggis

  Distant Balmoral Edinburgh, Scotland. The first moments in a new country are never the best....

Photo & Poem: Say Her Name

  As you say her name, your voice drops deep, a tight raspy croak. Not haunted with loss, but shaken...

Meeting the Przewalski's Horse in Scotland

  Val and her son, Hulagu They're wild horses discovered by Nikolai Przewalski, a Polish-born colonel in the...

Photo & Poem: Ducks and Geese

  Seven iced-over winters followed by sweet bugs on long summer days. Flightless old girls with twisted toenails and dim...

See It Through His Eyes

It's a perfect day. No wind, not hot. The kind of day that you spend most of the months of...

Photo & Poem: A Smoky Memory

  A dusky pink summer dawn, stepping out the porch door, halt. Dread at the smell of unnatural heat. How...

A Natural Instinct to Dominate

I find it fascinating to watch children talking to animals. It's almost like studying mustangs. Kids are who we are,...

Photo Challenge & Poem: All Time Favorite

Directions Turn on the dirt road at the bottom of the hill, then go past the big curve. Slow on...

The Middle Path: Lighten Up, It's All Your Fault

Sometimes people tell me that I'm preaching to the choir with my blog. That it's the other "really creepy horse...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Twisted

Midnight in Alaska   The wheels of my bag click over the tile floor, scanning signs...

Bringing Horses Home

We don't ask much from horses. It starts simply. On the day that we are thrilled to get the horse...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Liquid

  I saw him first, diagonal light giving a soft profile against a black-blue shadow, then he turned and time...

Heart Horses

  "He's my Heart Horse," she says by way of introduction. A hush falls over the room. Or maybe that's just...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Place in the World

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Water creeping across the prairie, a wandering path of small ponds in a landlocked state,...

The Art of De-Escalating

It's an ordinary day. Quiet, no wind. You could be on the trail or in the arena. You might be...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Unlikely

  She's an economical cat, a tabby with concise ears, a tiny nose, and pointy feet on my sternum, lowering herself to...

Building the Bubble #5. Just Honor Them

  Some of us value horses for their physical working ability on ranches, we "use 'em hard." Decent care, no...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Lines

  Such an arc to his stride, soft rhythm as his hooves cut the arena sand. Sit tall, rider, with...

Building the Bubble #4. Just Train Less

It's an obstacle course, by golly. And there's a pedestal, by golly. We both see it, but one of us...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Prolific

  Pray his back is broad, strength needed for the precarious load he bears, the seesaw blessing and curse of a...

Building the Bubble #3. Just Move

Morning. Once she's turned out, she bolts to a soft spot and rolls, and then this. No, her tail isn't...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Awakening

    It's for me to worry about a winter dry enough for early grass fires, mine the worry for a...

Building the Bubble #2. Just Converse

  One of us flaps our legs while standing still, banging our boots in the stirrups, twisting around in the...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Smile

A proud gray horse with a soft eye. Dwarfed by his manner, I almost don’t feel the barb of his...

Building the Bubble #1. Just Notice

Here's last week's Pretending to be a Horse scenario, from the equine point of view, abbreviated for sense-limited humans. His...

Photo Challenge and Poem: Rise/Set

  What is it about a sunset that I cannot look away? Trying to make out a small movement, barely...

Pretending to Be a Horse

There was a time, while I was in junior high school, that I rode my horse on the road. Lots...

Photo Challenge and Poem: (Her) Favorite Place

  There was a message on my phone. My dog was ready to come home, they said. It was just...

Reframing Competition as Relationship

We were playing around after a lesson, laughing about the curse of being spokesmodels for my blog photos. She leans forward...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Rather

Lying in bed, head deep under, the covers folded so it's dark and warm, and just a thread of fresh...

What Trainers Do You Like?

I often get asked what I think of other trainers. Sometimes I have no idea who the trainer is, any...

Travel Blog: Kangaroos Ahead

Here is another weird thing about my job. I never have any idea where I might end up. First, I...

Travel Blog Photo Challenge: Airport Story

Australia Verson: It's all about me. Me at the Melbourne airport. Me waiting for my flat white, teenager in line...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Story

Standing at his flank, in that sweet curve where his barrel ebbs to the swell of his hip, and gazing...

The Middle Path: Peaceful Persistence

I had two conversations recently; one a spellbinding conversation with a brilliant and beautiful young mare. The other conversation involved a...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Out of This World

You are right to be wary of us, little mare. Your hooded eyes dark and silent, you must be concerned,...

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