Relaxed & Forward Blog

Calming Signals: Planning for Stress

Calming signals are an animal's emotional response to their environment, expressed in body language, sometimes in increasing anxiety moving toward...

Homeschooling Your Horsemanship

  In one online class this week, a woman in Maine said it was 90 degrees that day and her...

Part of Your Horse Stays Behind

When it came time to say goodbye to my dressage mentor, a trainer that I'd ridden with several times a...

Why Horses Don’t Multi-task

Imagine what it means to have senses as keen as a prey animal. Feel the roar of nature even on...

The Best Horse Conversations Start With “No”

Imagine that each time you climbed on your horse, he began to move in a slow canter, so rhythmic and...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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;...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Who’s Risk-Averse?

This week a stranger asked for my prayers. She posted a photo of an incredibly young girl with a crushed...

Human Calming Signals: Authenticity

Some people are just so effortlessly magic with horses. They seem to do nothing, but horses hang on their every...

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...

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...

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...

Horse Woman, Our Narrative

Drawing by Rebecca Howard I usually write a gray mare rant annually on my birthday. I'm...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

Poetry Out Loud: Impulsion

 
It’s not unusual to feel still air rush over your cheeks and past your ears. It’s...

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...

Poetry Out Loud: Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog There was a message on my phone. My dog...

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...

Poetry Out Loud: Loss

    By request. Thanks, everyone. Loss The sun leaves just the sky behind,...

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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