Anna Blake's Blog (319)

Safety and Being a Spoil Sport.

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I’m a riding instructor. Wait, it’s worse than that. A riding instructor who has read the small print of her liability insurance, as if I didn’t feel responsible enough before. Beyond that, I’m certain that if one of my horses hurt someone, it wouldn’t be his fault and it would break my heart. Maybe literally.

My…

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Added by Anna Blake on January 6, 2017 at 11:32am — 2 Comments

Remembrance: Someone’s Always Dying

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It’s that weird week between the holidays. I never know what day it is so I mess up scheduling around Christmas, only to follow through and mess up the same exact way one week later for New Years. Squinting at the calendar doesn’t help…

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Added by Anna Blake on December 30, 2016 at 11:30pm — 2 Comments

The Politics of Holiday Pie

Inconceivable: I’m going to share my pie recipe. I’ll pause and give my friends time to pick themselves up. They know this sort of thing could go either way.

There was that time years ago, that I had a date over for dinner. We hadn’t known each other long and I always want to get off on the right foot. We were sipping wine…

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Added by Anna Blake on December 26, 2016 at 8:30am — No Comments

Negotiating; Not Fighting



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It was last spring when this ancient donkey came to the farm. In the beginning, we thought she might not make it. Nobody likes change but we couldn’t tell if it was a hunger strike or her organs shutting down.

Then she nibbled and…

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Added by Anna Blake on December 17, 2016 at 12:27pm — No Comments

Riding a Suspension… of Disbelief



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Some of us are okay with who we are in the saddle. We don’t question the ride, or if we do, we put it on the horse and he’s fine with that. It is what it is, and it works for lots of horses and…

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Added by Anna Blake on December 17, 2016 at 12:15pm — No Comments

Negotiating; Not Fighting.





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It was last spring when this ancient donkey came to the farm. In the beginning, we thought she might not make it. Nobody likes change but…

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Added by Anna Blake on December 9, 2016 at 9:45am — No Comments

Mental Focus Means Not Trying Too Hard





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My friend and I took yoga while we were in high school. It was 1971 or so, and I can’t remember if the group met in a church…

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Added by Anna Blake on December 2, 2016 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

The Passion to Punish





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First, last, and always, this is the truth about communication with animals: Punishment is the lowest form of expression.

A photo of…

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Added by Anna Blake on November 25, 2016 at 10:04am — No Comments

Winterizing the Compassion Fatigue. Again.





Chatting lightly about weather is considered the tiniest of small talk, unless you live outside the urban bubble. We take it more seriously out here…

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Added by Anna Blake on November 12, 2016 at 4:34pm — No Comments

Bite Your Tongue.





It’s an election year and I’m a politics geek. There, I said it. But the rhetoric is deafening. Sometimes there are just too many words. I’ll bite my tongue right…

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Added by Anna Blake on November 4, 2016 at 10:05pm — No Comments

Going the Full Heart Distance: Saying So Long





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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…

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Added by Anna Blake on October 28, 2016 at 10:40am — 2 Comments

The Best Reasons to Stop Riding





 

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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…

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

Riding the Inside of Your Horse





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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…

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

A Serenity Prayer For Both of You





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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…

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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…

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

Ride Shorter, Progress Farther.

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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…

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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…

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

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

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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,…

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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.…

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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…

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

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