Relaxed & Forward Blog

Pretending to Be a Horse

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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,...
Riders Against Bullies

Riders Against Bullies

Railbirds. Everyone's a critic. I'm no fun anymore. I can't go to rodeos, a tradition I...
Travel Blog: Why I Should Stick to Horse Blogging.

Travel Blog: Why I Should Stick to Horse Blogging.

Confession: I have zero credibility as a food blogger. Each and every meal we had was spectacular. Nothing less. Even...
Photo Challenge & Poem: A Face in the Crowd

Photo Challenge & Poem: A Face in the Crowd

  It's the ninja cat skirting the shadows, hesitating, then moving on a silent path, leaving no trace. Or the...
Roo: Letting a Horse Be a Horse

Roo: Letting a Horse Be a Horse

I was doing what I do when I lay down at night; mentally taking the late night walk-through, tossing hay...
Travel Blog: A Leap of Faith

Travel Blog: A Leap of Faith

I get in cars with strangers. That's me by the airport curb with a suitcase. If things are going well,...
Photo Challenge & Poem: (bitter)Sweet

Photo Challenge & Poem: (bitter)Sweet

Volcanic walls hedge the black-silver sand all the way to the sea's edge. Waves clap the shore, misty clouds rising...
Horses Are Pessimists

Horses Are Pessimists

Your horse is a young horse or a rescue horse or the heart-horse of your life. A mare or a...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Tour Guide

Photo Challenge & Poem: Tour Guide

Peeping through a knothole in a pine fence, a wind-worn cheek pressed to splintered wood. Craning to watch a small...
Horses: Technique and Art

Horses: Technique and Art

"Shut Up and Dance" It was written on one of those little tin lapel pins and my friend wore it...
Travel Blog: Being Here Now

Travel Blog: Being Here Now

This is the view out the front of my deck: pastures to the ocean. I'm having a rest day, staying...
Travelblog: Being Here Now

Travelblog: Being Here Now

This is the view out the front of my deck: pastures to the ocean. I'm having a rest day, staying...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Beloved

Photo Challenge & Poem: Beloved

  Eyes averted, shuffling an invisible walk. A predator who feels like sad prey, trying to pass for normal, trying...
Travel Blog: Whitebait for Lunch

Travel Blog: Whitebait for Lunch

I was watching first-run Star Trek episodes before I ever took a commercial airline flight. I only mention this because...
Travel Blog: Where the Trail Leads…

Travel Blog: Where the Trail Leads…

  I know people who read cookbooks like they're high-drama best sellers. I know people who fantasize wild lives of...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Variations

Photo Challenge & Poem: Variations

“Isn't it dysfunctional?” he asked, his head cocked. His confidence steeped in every privilege due to a certain sort of...
Repetition Vs. Consistency

Repetition Vs. Consistency

There's a moment, sometimes at the beginning of a lesson or during a clinic, where I meet a horse for...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Silence

Photo Challenge & Poem: Silence

Is the bold sunset reflected in the pond or is it the water that sets the sky ablaze? Does the...
The Middle Path: Discipline

The Middle Path: Discipline

"I've noticed that you sometimes seem to take reader requests for your blog, and I was wondering if you might...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Weathered

Photo Challenge & Poem: Weathered

It’s winter; the sun comes up late and flat yellow, without warmth. A dusting of snow will stay on this...
Your Horse Loves Arena Riding

Your Horse Loves Arena Riding

Does your horse have a Night of the Living Dead lurch to the arena? Do you clock in like it’s...
Photo Challenge: Growth (of a Kind)

Photo Challenge: Growth (of a Kind)

Euthanasia is never easy, but it can be less punishing. The secret is to focus on love instead of loss....
Middle Path: The Curse of a Self-Aware Mind

Middle Path: The Curse of a Self-Aware Mind

We think too much. We're mostly introverts with an inclination toward perfection, and we think too much. Oh, and we...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Sanity & Sanitary

Photo Challenge & Poem: Sanity & Sanitary

Fingers in the worn glove curve to meet the shape of the wooden handle in my palm. Muck boots shuffle,...
EOY P&L: Life, Death, and Tears

EOY P&L: Life, Death, and Tears

EOY P&L... my last post of the year always has some math involved. I don't have the math skills to quantify the number...
Weekly Photo & Poem: Favorite

Weekly Photo & Poem: Favorite

  Her years on flat open prairie, the hard-scrap jumble of danger and chance left only the essentials: skeptical wisdom,...
Talking Animals at Midnight

Talking Animals at Midnight

Just in from the night feed. It's longjohn weather, my head bandaged with layers of hats and a muffler, thick boots,...
Photo Challenge and Poem: Ascend

Photo Challenge and Poem: Ascend

Riding looks as easy as sliding a boot into a stirrup and throwing a leg over the horse's back. As...
Seriously Lighthearted

Seriously Lighthearted

Do you ever get the impression that your show up at the barn and your horse is watching you with...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Cheeky

Photo Challenge & Poem: Cheeky

He's a goat who's had a bit of a weight problem since the cast came off. A free spirit, butting...
Big Dreams, Low Expectations

Big Dreams, Low Expectations

I've become a real party-pooper when it comes to talented young horses. It isn't that I can't see the potential;...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Serene

Photo Challenge & Poem: Serene

The cowboys I knew didn't dress like the movies. No neckerchiefs or fancy Mexican spurs. They wore easy smiles under...
Calming Signals and Pain

Calming Signals and Pain

  First, last, and always, make sure your horse is sound.  That's the warning that any decent equine professional gives...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Transformation

Photo Challenge & Poem: Transformation

  The old gelding's eye sockets are hollow or maybe he's pulled his gaze inward. Once a trumpet blast of...
Thanksgiving from a Cowboy Girl

Thanksgiving from a Cowboy Girl

You could tell it was the 1980's because I'd done something with my hair that made me look like a...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Experimental

Photo Challenge & Poem: Experimental

They live with us now, hooves half in their own history and half in ours, so closely inbred that our...
Trust: A Suspension of Disbelief.

Trust: A Suspension of Disbelief.

You love horses. No, you really, really love horses. Because they are so amazing. We share videos of blind horses cared...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Temporary

Photo Challenge & Poem: Temporary

He has walked on from this place into memory, this creature of heart and spirit. He can't remember a time...
Circles: A Soft Bend

Circles: A Soft Bend

I'd led a sheltered life. I was thirty years old before I visited my first Saddlebred barn. I was just...
Photo Challenge & Poem: Peek

Photo Challenge & Poem: Peek

  Did he want to be invisible? As still as wood, his head holds solitude in the corner. This bay...
The Middle Path: Why Gaits Matter

The Middle Path: Why Gaits Matter

Let's say you like to jump and so does your Arabian. Let's say you do endurance on an Appaloosa. Let’s...

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