Anna Blake's Blog (309)

Going the Full Heart Distance: Saying So Long


It’s deep fall here on our farm. Most of the leaves are gone; Canada geese are on the wing. Each morning there’s a thin shell of ice on the water tanks. Local…


Added by Anna Blake on October 28, 2016 at 10:40am — No Comments

The Best Reasons to Stop Riding



I think I’ve heard all the clichés about change that I can stand. At a certain age, we don’t need to be reminded how…


Added by Anna Blake on October 21, 2016 at 9:50am — No Comments

Riding the Inside of Your Horse


When I was just a dressage-princess-wannabe, before I became a full-blown Dressage Queen, I thought dressage riders all wore a kind of…


Added by Anna Blake on October 14, 2016 at 9:33am — No Comments

A Serenity Prayer For Both of You


The seasons are changing and the air feels cooler. That’s what you notice, but your horse seems just a bit more interested in his surroundings than usual. You feel his tension, so you push ahead. Maybe if you put him to work right away, he’ll pay more…


Added by Anna Blake on October 7, 2016 at 9:12pm — 2 Comments

The Truth Behind Bit Drama

WMClaraTack Do you know how your bit works? No, I mean really. Not some cowboy-on-YouTube’s fantasy about horses needing to learn to carry cold metal on bone. Not some idiot in…


Added by Anna Blake on September 30, 2016 at 9:09am — No Comments

Ride Shorter, Progress Farther.


If I were to write a training book entitled Less is More, it would be hundreds of pages long. The irony is not lost on me. At the same time, it’s an idea that I defend constantly. Us humans can be like rats on a wheel sometimes.

We’ve all seen the rider. Maybe she starts by lunging her horse in…


Added by Anna Blake on September 28, 2016 at 12:00pm — No Comments

You’re a Timid Rider?

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What if it isn’t a bad thing?

I have a “big picture” thing I want to say and it’s going to take some explaining. Just food for thought, really, but there’s some defining of terms that has to happen first. Just for the purposes of this article, and with full knowledge that making generalizations is always a bad idea. Here…


Added by Anna Blake on September 16, 2016 at 9:42am — No Comments

Halt, Rein-back, Cha-cha-cha.

WM LesAndante

This is how it feels: It’s a trot that’s resistance free. He glides with relaxed strides. At first you think it might be slow, but no, his strides are longer. He has time to push from behind. Every vertebrae in his back is loose. His movement is fluid and soft,…


Added by Anna Blake on September 2, 2016 at 9:15am — No Comments

The Fine Art of Cantankery.

I’ve had a hard time acting my age. That’s not it, exactly. It’s more like I’m straddling the Grand Canyon between my usual teen angst and dealing with the fact I’m supposed to be wearing support hose. It all started with my birthday. Two years ago.

Then recently a donkey came to the rescue that I work with.…


Added by Anna Blake on August 26, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

Judging Dressage: Hyperflexion in Dressage

Dressage isn't perfect, but what part is baby and what part is bath water?

Watching the Dressage competition at the Olympics was inspirational. And horrific. There were impeccable riders with fluid bodies and invisible cues. And riders who were brutal, with hard hands and cruel methods. There were…


Added by Anna Blake on August 19, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

A Trailer of One's Own

WM trailer Nova

A horsewoman told me that, at sixty-three, she was the proud owner of her very first horse trailer. I let out a congratulatory yell and I’ve been smiling all day. Trailers add a layer of independence to the freedom we feel with horses.

Do you remember your first horse trailer? Mine was a navy blue two-horse straight load. It was the late ’80s and no one I knew wanted to…


Added by Anna Blake on August 12, 2016 at 8:00am — No Comments

How to Ride Creatively.

Riding a horse is the simplest thing in the world. Just point ’em and kick. What’s so hard about that? And as long as you don’t care where you go or how you get there, no worries.

But we’re humans prone to having expectations and goals. And horses are sentient with thoughts and emotions of their own. Perhaps the first thing that horses and humans…


Added by Anna Blake on August 5, 2016 at 9:30am — No Comments

Money: If Wishes Were Horses…

WM Infinity Farm

“How much does a horse cost? Do you have to be rich to own one?”

I can tell you how much hay they eat, warn you about vet bills and farrier visits. There are many articles and books written about equine…


Added by Anna Blake on July 29, 2016 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Rescue: Training the Things We Take for Granted

Lethargy. Sweltering with a non-specific stickiness. Flies. More flies. Dilly-dallying. These are the wilting Dog Days of Summer, named for Sirius, the Dog Star. No connection to the napping habits of dogs so deflated by the heat that a sploot position on the linoleum is the…


Added by Anna Blake on July 22, 2016 at 10:01am — No Comments

Defending Horses with Words and Money

Fair warning: I'm going to ask you to do a favor for horses. It will involve some of your time and the money that you spend anyway.

I try to avoid any photos of abuse. I don’t share them because they titillate perpetrators. Besides, I’ve seen enough cruelty for a thousand lifetimes.

One got by me this week on Facebook; it was a photo of a dog…


Added by Anna Blake on July 16, 2016 at 10:30pm — No Comments

The Trailer Isn’t the Problem.

WM Trailer Grace

The owner said his horse had trailer issues. He’d watched a video and used a whip and rope, with bad results. Then he hired a local trainer but after two hours of fighting with his hysterical horse, she gave up and left. Now the horse was even worse, the owner said, and…


Added by Anna Blake on July 8, 2016 at 1:00pm — No Comments

A Lesson about Squeamishness and a Donkey.

WM mucking attire

Look, it’s a selfie of me mucking last week. I like to get an early start in the summer. Over six hundred blog posts about this horse/life, and no one ever asks me for fashion tips. I wonder why?

I wasn’t always this sophisticated. I remember when I was maybe fifteen; it was morning and I was standing out waiting for the school bus. I…


Added by Anna Blake on July 1, 2016 at 9:25am — No Comments

Admitting You're Wrong.

Do you remember the first time you wanted to be right? It might predate memory or even language. Being good is immediately quantified after birth; we’re tested before we even leave the hospital. It’s our first “percentile.”…


Added by Anna Blake on June 24, 2016 at 9:30am — No Comments

Reciprocity: A Softer Ask, a Softer Bend

I overheard some riders complaining like old campaigners. Asking a horse for bend sounded like the Hundred YearsWar. They weren’t mean, just grumbling that it was hard to make the…


Added by Anna Blake on June 17, 2016 at 9:30am — 4 Comments

Mansplaining in the Barn

Thirty-five years ago, I stood with a group of women protesting a murder sentence given by a judge in Denver. The defendant had shot his estranged wife in the face, point-blank. The judge gave a ridiculously light…


Added by Anna Blake on June 10, 2016 at 10:30am — 4 Comments

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