Thankful for You.

thanks-2

 

I’m doing something different today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving. When I started my blog, almost eight years ago now, I had a nebulous thought. It was inane, and simplistic, and lacked any kind of forward-thinking plan. And it was personal.

I wanted to help horses, simply because they have helped me.

You have to love a plan so huge and formless that there seems no way to start it, but that one-step-at-a-time method works, if pursued with a mule-like tenacity. At the same time, it occurred to me that I was a forced reader (a trainer’s responsibility to stay informed) of horse articles and books. They were textbook-dry sometimes. To get my word out meant that my writing had to improve, in order for readers to want to read. So that just made my nebulous plan larger and more complicated, and of course, those two condiments–time rich and income poor. Can I just affirm that even now I have no idea what I’m doing?

Then this started to happen:

I wanted to reach out to you and thank you profoundly for your insight. I just finished reading your book, “Relaxed and Forward” and it has transformed my ride. Like most of us DQs I was bitten by ambition and desire to get the perfect dressage horse, push through the levels, impress the judges and my dressagy friends with the beauty of our team work. Well that didn’t work. I internalized the persistent cry from trainers and friends for “more, more, more” as push, push, push, kick, kick, kick, pull, pull, pull, grunt, grunt, grunt. I manhandled and worked way too hard. I knew I was the one who needed to change but I didn’t know how. Now with a fresh perspective I have decided to get over myself and listen to my horse, to reward the smallest try with lavish praise and avoid the resistence by refusing to pull or manhandle. After 3 rides with this intention my horse has relaxed, opened up with forward flowing energy and his eye is happy and sweet at the end of the ride. Instead of pulling I have re-trained myself to release unabashedly no matter what my brain tells me and he is thoroughly appreciative of this new woman on his back! I have bookmarked many pages and will refer to them often for fortitude and inspiration to continue this path. I believe Winter, my lovely horse would like to say thanks to you as well. I think we can go as far as we want if we continue on this path. Like most of us I’ve read a jillion equestrian books, magazine articles, and watched countless videos. The only one to transform my ride was your work. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the lovely, strong amazing horse I am privileged to love and ride.

PS Just had to share one more thing! A barn mate gave me a totally unsolicited comment on my ride today and said, “wow, your horse looked really relaxed and forward today!” Omg! Have not had any conversation with her about reading your book or making changes in my ride. Pure joy!

This note came from a reader recently; to say it sent me sailing would be an understatement. I end up writing thank-you notes for thank-you notes.

It’s the thing I never expected, that overwhelms me on my tiny farm, and I’m dwarfed by your hearts. I struggle with how to say this… it isn’t about me at all. It’s all about you and your horses. I get more messages like this than I deserve, and each time, they lift me up.

Reading the blog comments every week has kept me writing. I don’t struggle with writer’s block because of your encouragement. So yes, it’s really you, Reader, who is responsible for my writing. And it’s me who is grateful for this extended barn family we’ve created here. It’s been a rough year for a lot of us, but coming together here with horse friends has been a sweet balm. At times like this, words do fail me.

Thank you kindly.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Equine Pro

47 thoughts on “Thankful for You.

  1. Kate Schmidt-Hopper

    I have sought help from many good horse folk, readers of your blog, over the past several years, but it is your humor and humility which has spoken to me most! From deep within my soul, thank YOU!

  2. Jennifer Canfield

    I think we know your words, your blog, come from love. There is nothing better. Humility and gratitude come to mind because we know you are writing from that which we share among those who love…our horses. I once read a comment by a well known writer and clinician who had observed an old man working with horses. The old man had helped countless troubled horses and their transformation was mind boggling. People were astounded. So this clinician who already had an impressive reputation had to go up to the man to ask what it was he actually knew or did to help the horses. The old man’s only response was “It’s love. That’s all it is. It’s love.”
    But you already know this. For those of us who love, this is a safe place to read and ponder. Thank-you Anna.

    1. Yes, and I don’t understand the number of trainers who really don’t even like horses much. Not to mention, love is easier… Thank you for sharing this story.

  3. Celeste

    If the beginnings of your blog were questionable and you say even now you don’t know what you are doing, all I can say is whatever you are doing just keep right on because it is great! You give words to the thoughts that swirl through my brain but I cannot articulate so each post resonates and strikes home in my heart and reassures me this is the way to go. I am thankful.

    1. It takes time to find a voice with words, that was the necessary and tricky part. Thanks to my readers who stuck around and were tolerant, I get closer all the time. It’s so worth it. Thanks, Celeste.

  4. Thank you for your contribution today – the day after Thanksgiving when I don’t want to be out shopping. Inside, shopping for a pony is fine!

    I shared a few of your words about a plan and having mule like qualities on my FB page. I have you credit. I hope you don’t mind. If you do, let me know and I will take it down. I thought maybe a few friends would go read your blog and about being grateful for a joyful ride!

  5. pishkeen

    Thank you Anna,

    Everytime I read your blog I remember the chapter in Black Beauty, where Ginger bites the young groom, but the old groom says “try her with kindness.” I hear you, and that line from the book, echoing… “try her with kindness.”

    1. Well, there’s a book I should read. (We didn’t have books when I was little and have missed it since.) What a great sentence, and I do love a great sentence! Thank you.

  6. Suzanne in NC

    Funny thing happened to me the other day. I am not a Facebook user and had joined just so I could see my son’s page. I did not open my page to others nor entered much information – but to my amazement I got a friend email from Facebook telling me I might know a few people. Guess whose picture was right there – asking if I wanted to friend this person. I recognized the picture immediately and grinned from ear to ear and actually felt pretty honored to be matched up by the Facebook algorithm. It was Anna Blake – the writer who has changed my horse life in many many wonderful ways. I have five horses now – all of who have benefitted from the information I have been able to get from the blog and all the books.

    I cannot list the number of things I have found out since reading the blog and books. I’ve noticed my horses personalities and how to communicate differently with each one positively and successfully. I have learned to stop using my hands first, to stop trying to get more leg by squeezing harder, and that you can look in an eye and see a message. The imagery in these blogs is great – my fav being the one where you visualize asking a horse to perform something and where that message has to go from your head to your leg to the horses side to the horses head….so slow down in your expectations!

    Thank you cannot say all the gratitude I feel and am sure others do as well.

    1. See, this is what I mean. Who is luckier than me? Thank you so much. And for all the trash and complaining on FB, I have to say, it’s where so many readers have found me. We make our world what it is. Thank you, Suzanne! Thank YOU.

  7. Gave myself the gift of a Thanksgiving day in pajamas to read Stable Relation. Loved it and your blog and look forward to reading Relaxed and Forward. Keep doing what you do, Anna. All the best to you and yours, Dell

    1. Thanks so much for reading it, glad you liked it. And I didn’t get dressed yesterday either! The horses like it when I muck in my pajamas) Thanks, Dell. I appreciate it!

  8. I was in a Chuck Grant clinic many years ago. He has been known as the father of dressage in the United States. He had many wise sayings. One of them was, “Ask often. Demand little. Reward generously.” It has been a mantra for me ever since.

  9. Yes, Thank You! I read your blogs every day. I bought and read both books. I tell people that you wrote the book I wanted to write. And you did it better. God Bless you and your efforts. Please continue. Yes, you changed my riding and my horses appreciate you from afar. Hail!

  10. You speak from the heart, Anna. There is no more powerful voice than love. I know you know that, it’s here on you blog, in every post. The lessons apply not just to horses, they’re universal. I was blessed to have Rudd and Dot and their loving methods with horses and children. I am blessed that you echo those teachings, the reminder of someone seminal in my real education (the one where you learn what should be in the world and the one to work towards). You do help horses, you also help people, dogs and I suspect many other life forms as well. I may not have a horse, but I do talk to people that do and i recommend your books and blog. You walk the walk, girl. Thank you for YOU.

  11. Anna, may I add my voice to the chorus. You have changed my perspective on what I would like to “achieve” with my wonderful sweet TWH gelding. Since “real dressage” is unlikely with him, I simply ride for the joy of it and reward him for any attempt he makes at trying to understand what I ask. Our new challenge is riding aside. He is lovely about it, listening intently and trying to understand this new thing. You have helped me to see that it’s not about the end result that matters, it is about the process of learning together.

    1. Well, that sounds like a good description of dressage to me… and yes, gaited horses don’t “trot”, but who cares? Wonderful for you and him. Thanks for the great comment, I appreciate you!

      1. the funny thing is, he has this huge floating trot at liberty and on the lunge line but is not aware that it is ok under saddle. I don’t think anyone ever allowed him to trot in his early training. I have heard about gaited dressage but not sure how to tap into it in my area, I am one english rider in a sea of cowgirls here in North Central Washington.

      2. I work with several gaited horses; find a dressage trainer with an open mind. My clients tell me that gaited trainers recommend this.

  12. Dee Morris

    Hah! I wish all of my own nebulosities (?) had matured into stuff as rockin’ as your blog and books. Soft centres pretending to be caramels have always been my weakness- particularly the clever ones lol. Keep it coming💪

  13. What a lovely Thanksgiving post, even if I am late to the party. I’ve been in Texas this week, with no Internet, and it was truly an amazing week of “being.” Taking care of Rio while I am there is like getting a gift. When I take care of Rio it feels like taking care of Dad, and the connection is something I cannot explain. I read your words every day, even if I do not always comment, and while I do not train or ride, I use your wisdom in my classes, with my students, and in my own life. It is solid, and not just for horses. Thank you for what you do, and that you are willing to share it–it matters in more ways than you can imagine.

    1. Oh, thank you. It’s always my hope that these words travel farther than the barn. So happy for your unplugged Rio time… It’s been a challenging year. Take care.

  14. Nope, thank YOU, Anna. I feel like I’ve found a kindred soul in you. Just finished reading Stable Relation. Enjoyed it immensely and every once in a while would come across a sentence or a passage that would take my breath away: a full-body YES! I know this to be true in my soul. SO looking forward to E.R. Burro’s work (admit it…you’re just the ghost writer LOL) next.

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