Relaxed & Forward Blog

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

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

Is the bold sunset reflected in the pond or is it the water that sets the sky ablaze? Does the...

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

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

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)

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

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

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... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  First, last, and always, make sure your horse is sound.  That's the warning that any decent equine professional gives...

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

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

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.

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

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

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

  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

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

Photo Challenge & Poem: Rounded

  The whorl beneath a forelock, the velvet comma nostrils, the curve of a neck, the serpentine of a spine,...

Severe Weather Warning

It was 78 degrees yesterday. It's late October so the sun is lower in the sky. There was a slight...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Glow

The sun hurries now, eager to be gone. A chill breeze scatters the last embers of fall, crisp leaves layer...

Riding the Middle: My Horse is Lazy.

My horse is lazy. He won't go forward. He doesn't listen to my legs no matter what. Do I need...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Scale

The thing you call cute, in a high-pitched squeal, hears no compliment. Is it your goal to demean me? Because...

Too Much Love: Is it Partnership?

Last week I answered a reader question about Making War on Horses and it got a predictably positive reception. It's...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Pedestrian

Young mare, on the full-moon night you were born, we recognized one another. It was an awkward kinship of un-belonging,...

Making War on Horses: Is it Leadership?

By reader request: "Horses need a dominant leader; you have to make him respect you." "You can't let him get away...

Photo Challenge: Windows

  Has it been a year? Scanning the pasture from the kitchen sink, I don't see your swayed back. A...

Escape the Death Spiral: Asking For a Step.

Let me begin by defining a death spiral. It's asking a horse to do something he just avoided, by circling...

Photo Challenge: Layered

  It began with a word so small and unspoken that it waited in a bitter slick at the back...

Sleeping With The Wrong Dog

Warning: This is not an upbeat rescue story. It's a sad story with a sad ending.  Proceed with caution. Or...

Photo & Poem Challenge: Visiting Friends

We shared stories as we drove up the canyon road that angled between rocks, colored grape and copper and sienna;...

Helmets: When Complacency and Experience are Killers.

"She had a helmet on and she still got hurt," the woman said. Well, sure. I take vitamins and I'm still...

Photo Challenge & Poem: Waiting

The air goes still on the prairie during that instant when my finished inhale lifts gravity and just before the...

How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist: Horse Version

You know how the cat magically goes to the person with the allergy? Or she goes the person who happens...

Photo Challenge: Structure

  This horse covers the ground more quietly on four hooves than my old feet can manage, dynamic strides so...

Leadership Percentages and Confused Horses

Pause here. Look in his eye. He's sensitive and intelligent and looking for a partner who's his equal. If we're...

Photo Challenge: Corner

The first hint comes just at moon rise on an ordinary August weeknight. It's hardly a breeze at all, certainly...

How to Relieve Your Horse's Anxiety

Growing up, only one person in our home was allowed to have a temper and the rest of us kept...

Photo Challenge: Shiny

  Birdwatching in the dark is an art best practiced with no yard light. Start just after the colors are...

Horsewoman. Internet. Wine.

It's been a melancholy week at Infinity Farm. I'd call it the dog days of summer but truth is that...

Photo Challenge: Elemental

I remembered to sink the corner post deep, filled the hole with Quikcrete, and topped it off with dirt. Then...

Redefining Work Under Saddle.

I had a blog request, in two parts. First: "[Does] training and working a horse inherently make a horse less...

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