In this episode I speak with Anna Blake who is a dressage trainer, author and blogger. Anna’s blog Relaxed and Forward has had a weekly entry since 2011, so if you would like to delve into the world of Anna Blake, then this is the perfect place to begin. Anna works so gently and clearly with horses, she can hear what they have to say and she is able to help so many people all over the world with her incredible work.
Anna had an interesting life and the best way to understand this part of her life is to read her first book Stable Relations. This is where I was first introduced to Anna. This is a beautifully written book on her life and the animals she brought into there family along the way. It’s a rich and beautiful story of something most of us can relate to, healing our past to get on with what we came here to do!
The book’s description says it better than I can
When most women go through a mid-life crisis, they start a diet, get plastic surgery, or have an affair. My life went to the dogs…and horses…and llamas… and did I mention happy hour with the goats? My urban world came apart, so I took a leap of faith and crash-landed on a dilapidated would-be horse farm on the flat, windy, treeless prairie of Colorado. It was a place where white horses turn pink at sunrise and I didn’t have to worry about locking the back entry to the house, because the door was missing. The biggest social event of any week was greeting the trash man on Tuesday. And what should I do about the deceased llama in the laundry room? Any decent midlife crisis has a quality of time travel, in this case swinging back to my childhood farm and my disconnected, secretive family, then forward to the animals who became my family on the prairie. My dogs and horses were soon joined by some line-dancing llamas and a biker-gang of goat kids, defying gravity and every other rule. I rescued an abused donkey who told me he was Ernest, and Windy, an un-wanted chestnut mare who became our beloved herd matriarch. Even Fred, the duck lived by a code. It’s the memoir of my bittersweet transition from a mid-life orphan to a modern pioneer woman, building an entirely different kind of family farm. Stable Relation appeals to all animal lovers, midlife survivors, and anyone whose parents had problems of their own. It’s told in a strong, bittersweet voice, sharing life and death on a small farm and the healing power of animals: James Herriot meets Janette Walls.
Anna is one of those people who has a life well lived and is here to give back to horses, she really understands what horses, and all animals really, are trying to tell us, living out there on the prairie she realised there were so many conversations going on that she was not a part of. And living out in the middle of nowhere where there was so little human contact, she wanted to be a part of the conversations! And as they say, where there is a will, there is a way. Anna has been able to help so many people and animals in so many ways. She is a real advocate for animals and she speaks up where others may stay quiet. She’s a wonderful addition to the horse world. In reading about the relationship she has had with here horses I know that they loved being with her as much as she loved being with them.
It was when Anna read a dog training book of all things that she realised she could change her relationship with her horses. This book Turid Rugaas’ Calming Signals taught Anna that her horses were not disrespecting her or being disobedient in any way, they were simply asking her to calm down, take a breath and collaborate with them. She found her horses were actually roll modelling the behaviour they wanted from her so they themselves could learn what it is she was teaching them.
Anna now teaches Calming Signals to horse people all over the world.
Can you imagine if everyone in the horse world saw their horse as giving them a calming signal instead of disrespect, what a different world it would be for horses?
I love what Anna has to offer the horse world and I do hope that you got as much out of this conversation as I did. This has changed the way I am with my horses completely.
To buy Annas books you can click on the photo of the books above or click here to go to the Book Depository website.
You can grab a copy of Turid Rugaas’ Calming Signals book here and there is another book you may that Anna speak about called Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses : Recognition and Application by Rachaël Draaisma that you can purchase here.
Please follow Anna on her blog here, yours and your horse’s life will be richer for it.
This weeks show is brought to you by EQUITANA Australia. EQUITANA is happening from the 15th to 18th November this year in Melbourne.
The McDowells Australian Brumby Challenge was developed by the Victorian Brumby Association.
The Challenge follows the journey of 20 trainers as they transform untamed brumbies passively captured from Victoria’s high country, from wild to willing in 150 days. The Final is held across four days of EQUITANA, with trainers showcasing the transformation of their Brumby in front of the crowd and an expert panel of judges.
There are two categories of the Challenge – Ridden and Youth. In the Ridden Challenge, brumbies aged four and older are saddle trained. In the Youth Challenge, yearling aged brumbies are trained and presented in hand only, not to be started under saddle or sat on.
The finale of the McDowells Australian Brumby Challenge will be held at EQUITANA Melbourne 2018. Over the four days of the event, you can come along, meet the brumbies and their trainers and watch as the Brumbies are taken through their paces in several classes which are designed to showcase their trainer’s ability and the trainability and versatility of our Australian Brumbies.
You can see this event with your days pass. To get your tickets go to equitana.com.au I hope to see you there. Make sure you say hi if you see me.