Photo Challenge & Poem: Tour Guide

Journey

Peeping through a knothole in a pine fence,
a wind-worn cheek pressed to splintered wood.
Craning to watch a small girl in a second 
hand green t-shirt and blue jeans, scuffing

rubber-capped tennis shoes toward the 
dairy barn. She's dragging a play-train;
three cardboard boxes, strung together with
dirty twine, stuffed animal passengers in

each one. Her voice carries; she's talking to
an old border collie in a manner so familiar 
that my chest aches, closer than kin. Crooked
bangs, cut too short. The girl pauses when 

the middle cardboard box catches on a weed 
and the gabardine seal goes tail up. She gives 
the twine a sharp tug to right the box and 
the train rolls on. So far to go, little one.

….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
Currently planning upcoming Concept Clinics. 2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here.

Tour Guide

Photo Challenge & Poem: Beloved

Eyes averted, shuffling an invisible 
walk. A predator who feels like sad prey, 
trying to pass for normal, trying to
hold balance. It doesn’t fool the mare. 

She sees it all, distant movements in
her periphery or tiny broken parts deep
inside of complicated humans; bruised 
children in aged bodies, splintered 

intentions colored with anger, brittle 
betrayed love, or honor abandoned for 
sake of convenience. Details are less 
important to the mare than the sour 

emotions we hold tight. It isn’t her 
job to patch us up and make us whole, 
but for a moment, she can let us 
feel what it would be like if we were.

….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
Currently planning upcoming Concept Clinics. 2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 

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 man, by 
accident of birth. The talk of 
animals bored him. Wouldn't it 
be better to focus on your own 

species? He might have meant him.
Clever and righteous, summing up
up the damning evidence like a 
closing argument in court, he asked, 
Isn't choosing to live with animals
actually a kind of avoidance 
behavior? Yes, I say. Exactly.

….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning upcoming Concept Clinics. 2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule he

Variations on a Theme

Photo Challenge & Poem: Silence

Is the horizon reflected in the 
pond or is it the water that sets 
the sky ablaze? Does the wind move
the branches or is it the leaves

that sweep the air along? Is it the 
rush of owl wings that calls out 
the moon or a muted lunar song that
wakes a wild coyote chorus? Perhaps 

silence draws close to warn us that 
we're lost, wandering so close to the 
Earth's misty edge that gravity goes
loose, just as the air breathes us in.

….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning upcoming Concept Clinics. 2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 

Silence

Photo Challenge & Poem: Weathered

It’s winter on this tumbleweed prairie. 
The sun comes up late and flat yellow,
without warmth. This dusting of snow 
will stay on the ground and my hands 
will stay stiff in my gloves. I hear 
him before he comes into sight. This

bay horse trots as effortlessly as
he breathes, a proud cadence, each
pair of feet, front and back, landing
with sharp unison. A crisp clop,
one-two rhythm, perpetual as a
metronome ticking a blunt backbeat, 

hooves to ground, steam to whiskers. 
Holding me frozen in his sway. This 
bay horse moves with the icy glide 
and flow of a skater covering the 
crystal earth with slick purity, 
never dreaming of another season.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning summer clinics in Scotland and the UK.
2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 

Weathered

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.

Donkey Wings

It's a cold north wind that blows through
my ribs today. Like a stand of quaking 
aspens, my bones are held together by
proximity and not connection. My heart 
hurts and I am joyous. She was special.

A rescue came here to die, early last year.
Instead she grew fat, made friends, taught
us the fine art of braying. She was tiny; a
a small standard, in donkey terms. A mighty 
presence, defined by hooves and quirkiness.

Decades of holding her ground brought her 
to this fair state, vision and hearing nearly
gone. The pain hidden for so long, undeniable. 
It must stop. She needs a predator to come 
for her. Perhaps some fearful moments but

then free. It would be a good trade. Her
long ears droop awkwardly, her eyes are
deep-still. Independent, she keeps a bit 
off from the herd. Like I do, together but 
apart. I hoped her ancient heart would let

her go but still she stands, shifting hurt
from one leg to another. Fetlocks quiver, 
can't hold weight long. She lost her taste
for canned pears two days ago. Nature is
dependable, if not kind. The pain of saying

good-bye is equally balanced with fear of our 
own passing. Pause. Sharing life with animals 
means keeping death close; welcoming mortality 
inside. She deserves calm breath, not selfish 
tears. Dear old girl, I'll be your predator.

I'll come for you in the full warmth of the
sun, without regret. The vet bends quietly to
feel that ankle and gets a kick for asking. One 
last profanity. My teeth catch the air with the 
the precious joy of knowing her. Cantankerous,

I'll keep that part for me. With one hand on her
halter and one hand scratching her forehead, the
way she likes. Keep focus; her impossibly soft
whiskers. She leans back so slowly, the weight 
growing just a pound at a time. It's a moment

to cherish. She's not trying to escape, she's 
trusting my strength to lighten the weight on 
her old legs. In her way, she's letting me hold
her. Then it's time, we breathe together, and 
both of us, just a pound at a time, release all.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning summer clinics in Scotland and the UK.
2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 

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, pulling the cart while
a group of resting horses follow me with
soft eyes. Not an intruder or visitor, as
ordinary as a barn cat. I work the gate,

announcing myself, "Housekeeping." Come
to clean, check legs, make things right.
Cool my thoughts. A gelding may wander
over to share a breath but more likely,
to contribute to the wealth of spent-hay
piled on the ground. I rake the droppings,

leaving tine marks in the soil, topping it
with bits of my own emotion. My fork slides
under the pile, lobs it the distance. The
horses continue napping, nibbling hay
remnants, swishing flies. More tine marks
collecting manure, doubt, and fresh grudges

ready to become fertilizer. Another fork
load tossed in an arc through the air, so
grains of dirt can separate, before it 
lands, mostly in the cart. No urgency, just
a rhythm to slow my own beating. Compost
the hurt evenly. Using the fork to arrange

thoughts between parallel tine marks,
fresh inspiration rises from night soil.
Tugging the load out the gate, looking
back with gratitude for the meditation of
tine trails and hoofprints and imperfect
lines in the sand of a dry-lot Zen garden.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning summer clinics in Scotland and the UK.
2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 

Weekly Photo & Poem: Favorite

 
Her years on flat open prairie, the 
hard-scrap jumble of danger and chance 
left only the essentials: ancestral wisdom
and longear sensibility and eyes that watch 
with great vigilance from deep under her brow.
She keeps an entrancing distance. Magnetic 
in her independence.

A woman. The caretaker on a small farm with
a strong back for throwing hay, filling troughs,
mucking and repairing. Bringing a warm alfalfa
mush to her stall but not willing to make it
a bribe. Neither of us mere beasts of burden, we
have each been both predator and prey. We know
the value of self-reliance.

The earth’s sustenance has always been our
natural due. She acquiesces no allegiance, 
acknowledges no dependence on me. She can
make the choice to come closer, without debt, 
and the mid-day sun will warm our bones, a 
blessing on the wind-tossed prairie we 
share. Now guarded equals.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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Currently planning summer clinics in Scotland and the UK.
2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 

Favorites

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
simple as kick 'em and they go.
The horse is a creature of habit
and tolerance. It's ride enough. 

But if the human rattle and bang
of expectation will go quiet, there
is a flash, in the space of time
between a foot letting lose of the
earth and a seat settling in the 
saddle, joining spines with a horse. 
 
In that vulnerable second, you might
glimpse an ageless intellect; have
an intuition that the inside of a 
horse has a terrain of its own.
Pause there at the edge. Understand 
sovereignty. A horse is beyond our 

control in this physical world but
there is a quiet place where entrance
is gained by invitation. No need to 
call out, he knows you're there. Clean
yourself up, tidy those emotions. When 
you're ready, he'll bring you inside. 

….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. I take these photos with my phone, on my farm. No psych, definitely not high-tech.)

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, he butts
his way his way through life. Normal laws of 
physics don't apply to goats. But the old donkey 
needs to eat in peace, so I slip my fingers into 

his collar to move him. He comes to my side but 
pulls forward. Running now, straight ahead with quick 
short steps in a tilting side-to-side speed waddle. 
I know better than to pull back, so I scurry next 
to him in an exaggerated race-walk. Some might 
 
call it a side-to-side speed waddle. Suddenly, the goat 
turns a ninety-degrees in and my knee makes contact. 
Up-ended in a stumble, my feet are thrown high. The
goat hurries a tight circle, taking my arm along as 
my body whiplashes through the air. It would have 

been a good time to let go. Crash-landed on soft ground 
with my hand twisted into his collar, too tight to pull
out. Deflated ego wondering now what? How far could he 
drag me? I see the bottom of his chin, his collar cutting 
tight, as he considers his options under a ruminant sky.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
Blog  FB  Email  Author  FB  Tweet  Amazon
Currently planning summer clinics in Scotland and the UK.
2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here. 
(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. I take these photos with my phone, on my farm. And then I write a poem. No psych, definitely not high-tech.)

Cheeky