Anna Blake's Blog (202)

A Call to Arms. (or hooves, really.)

You’ve had this happen. Someone finds out you have a horse and they ask, “Do you know my sister’s friend, Diane. She has a horse.” Like there are eleven of us in the state.

People who own horses are a wide and diverse group. We divide ourselves by breed and riding discipline.…

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Added by Anna Blake on September 26, 2014 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

Ground Play, Cavalia style!

This week, I attended Cavalia, the Cirque du Soleil-inspired performance event combining horses, acrobats and dancers. There were beautiful horses, an outlandishly great live band, and a stage that altered time and space. Unrecognizably. It’s the largest traveling show in the world, mind boggling in it’s scope. And yet, there were moments so…

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Added by Anna Blake on September 19, 2014 at 9:29am — No Comments

A Cowgirl Looks (Squints) at 60.

WM60selfie

I notice I wear my glasses in the shower more often these days. Unintentionally. I mention it because as I write this, it’s my 60th birthday and I had a revelation in the shower.…

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Added by Anna Blake on September 12, 2014 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

Breath: The Miracle Cue.

It might be the word I say more often than any other during a lesson. I know it’s the cue that does the most good. It’s certainly the cue that’s the most natural:

Breathe.

Alas, it’s also the cue most under-rated. I see riders disregard the suggestion immediately.…

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Added by Anna Blake on September 5, 2014 at 9:27am — 2 Comments

*Needs Confident Rider*

*Needs a confident rider*. If you see those words while paging though horse ads, what do you think? Used car salesmen don’t have a thing on horse traders. Would you climb in the saddle? Is it the punchline for a joke?

Maybe the real question is what horse doesn’t need a confident rider? It’s kind of a no-brainer when you look at it…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 29, 2014 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

A Recipe for Patience.

I want to start by saying I used to consider patience the exact same thing as procrastination. I had no time for patience. It was a dull, slow-witted thing, so foreign to me that I couldn’t even figure out what it was that people did while they were being patient. You know? Patience…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 22, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments

You be the Judge.

“Too bad about that half pass to the left.”

My horse and I were leaving the arena after my test, reins long and my trademark competition smile: Lips stuck on my gums above my teeth. I had a great horse.

The comment was made by a woman who felt no sympathy at all for…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 15, 2014 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

What does the horsie say? Seriously.

Our barn rat, Hannah, didn’t meet the horses her first visit to the farm. She was only 3 days old. We waited till her second visit later that week. It was love at first sight for all of us. By the time she was toddling and learning to talk, she knew all the horse’s names. Her parents taught her the animal sound game, “What does a horsie say?” Hannah’s…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 8, 2014 at 9:18am — 2 Comments

Dressage: Cackling at the Canter.

Beach attire for the serious dressage rider.

In the 80’s, I marched with the Ladies Against Women. Do you know the organization? They were a national group…

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Added by Anna Blake on August 1, 2014 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

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 8:30am — 3 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

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