Anna Blake's Blog (193)

Breaking up is hard to do. Is it time?

It was lunch break and the clinician came into the lounge to eat. She was an experienced competitor and focused clinician with a reputation for being a bit cantankerous.

A few of us were there eating and after a moment an auditor asked if she might have some advice about her…

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Added by Anna Blake on July 25, 2014 at 8:44am — No Comments

Donkeys for Peace: Edgar Rice Burro, my Hero.

It was the gelding’s day for the south pasture, the best turnout spot. They are athletic boys who like to start with a few wind sprints. Then somebody pretends to be afraid of something invisible and they bolt off bucking and farting and air kicking .…

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Added by Anna Blake on July 18, 2014 at 9:03am — No Comments

Listen First, Train Later.

Photo by Patrick McMahan

The first time I met him, he was two months old standing in a stall with his mom. He was bright and intuitive, an Andalusian/Appendix…

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Added by Anna Blake on July 11, 2014 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

A Muck Meditation on Barn Swallows.

I feel sorry for people who don’t muck. How do they organize their thoughts? Or come up with creative training options? Or share peace of heart with the herd?

This time of the year the barn swallows are very busy. They might be my favorite bird. There is some serious…

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Added by Anna Blake on July 4, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Contact: Holding hands with horses.

What is the world’s speed record for learning to ride on happy contact? 18 years? Maybe 23? It’s a joke about contact and see what I mean? It isn’t funny. Nothing about contact is funny; it’s really difficult. It’s the sort of frustration that makes a rider want to take up insanely precise and complicated needle point just for a breath of fresh…

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Added by Anna Blake on June 27, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments

Wrestling with Helmet Safety.

 



I almost got in a bar fight a few months back. It was bad: I got frustrated and when that happens, I resort to sarcasm. It was not professional of me, and I would feel better about this whole episode if I was sorry. The problem is that I’m not sorry.

Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day is…

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Added by Anna Blake on June 20, 2014 at 8:30am — 7 Comments

An Argument Against the Whip.

There is a time-worn adage about whips. Just like bits or spurs, whips are only as cruel or kind as the rider using them. Maybe.

My mentor rarely rode with a whip, but if she did, she carried two. The most challenging horses loved her. Her corrections were impossibly quick and always fair. She was twice as quick to reward. The conversation with her hands, on…

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Added by Anna Blake on June 13, 2014 at 8:59am — 2 Comments

Inspiration from Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue.

Some rescue groups prove their point by showing graphic photos of the very worst cases of abuse and neglect. These horrific images cower in a dark corner of my brain forever. Their torture leaves a mark on us, too. Maybe people think that the more blood-dried wounds, protruding bones and…

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Added by Anna Blake on June 6, 2014 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Walter Sings the Songs of his People.

WM3dogs

Walter, Tomboy, & Preacher Man supervising chores.

My friend Sarah says, “All dog stories end the same way.” I know what she means. None of us humans are getting out…

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Added by Anna Blake on May 30, 2014 at 7:12am — 1 Comment

Training is Like a Box of Chocolates…

Say hello to Mr. Mustache. That’s what I call him. He was relinquished to Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue and my barn was his first stop. To say he didn’t get out much is an understatement. He’s six and this is his first time away from his mom. With very minimal handling in the past, he isn’t all that attached to people but at the same time, not really wild. He has a…

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Added by Anna Blake on May 23, 2014 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Getting Happy About What You Don't Know.

Most of us started as back yard riders. No shame, we were kids, we climbed up and rode. When we fell off, we climbed up and rode some more. I must have known there was tack, I watched westerns on TV after all, but we didn’t own any. We thought you kicked a horse to make him trot and…

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Added by Anna Blake on May 16, 2014 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Being Post-Mature in the Spring.

 

It’s a Grandfather Spring. Those words don’t go together well, any more than watching elderly horses in the freshness of the season. I wouldn’t trade a moment. My Grandfather Horse survived the winter to see another birthday. After our emergency vet call in…

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Added by Anna Blake on May 9, 2014 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Horse Agility and Calming Signals.

It’s that time again. I fill a cart the dollar store and a glimpse in the rear view mirror while driving away looks like a clown exploded in the extended cab of my truck. Then the wading pool comes out of the rafters and I dust off the bubble makers. Cones, barrels, and hula-hoops make their way to the pasture, and I hang my favorite sign: Snakes in the…

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Added by Anna Blake on May 2, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments

It's a Riding Lesson- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

It starts innocently enough, just like every other thing that happens around horses. A rider might have a problem with their horse, or maybe a goal. It sounds…

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Added by Anna Blake on April 25, 2014 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Calming Signals: Are You Listening?

If you are standing next to your horse and he looks away, do you think he’s distracted or even disrespectful? When your horse yawns, is he sleepy or bored? If he moves slowly, is he lazy? These are important cues from your horse, are you hearing him correctly?

When it comes to communicating with horses, some humans are a bit like a self-obsessed…

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Added by Anna Blake on April 18, 2014 at 8:30am — 12 Comments

Training Confidence and Trust.

There’s a way that a mare can pin her ears back so hard that they make almond-shaped divots on her neck hairs. You don’t have to know much about horses to pick up on that cue. It’s big and dark and she looks like a serpent. By the time this is happening, there is even an argument she will have a hard time hearing you, literally, what with her ear drums…

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Added by Anna Blake on April 11, 2014 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

Dressage on a Rescue: Doing More with Less

Photo:Andante, ex-PMU, casts a giant shadow.

I have a confession. I shop-lifted when I was in high school. No, I don’t seem like the type. It was the only time I ever stole anything and what they say is right:…

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Added by Anna Blake on April 4, 2014 at 8:30am — 4 Comments

Volunteering 101: Come Get Me.

This week spring hit the Colorado prairie. You can tell because the temperature and the wind speed are the same. Tumble weeds broke into my barn and sure, Edgar…

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Added by Anna Blake on March 28, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Subtle Abuse: When Aids Become Weapons.

My client’s mare is lovely; a very well-bred athletic horse. When my client bought her, the previous owner suggested my client get a cowboy to ride her at first, she needed spurs all the time and the horse was ‘mare-y‘, whatever that means. I get a little…

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Added by Anna Blake on March 21, 2014 at 9:00am — 10 Comments

The Art is in the Transition.

When I see kids learning to drive these days in compact cars with automatic transmissions, I wonder where’s the challenge? Back in my day, (beware when a gray-haired…

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Added by Anna Blake on March 14, 2014 at 9:04am — No Comments

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