Not a lot going on so far this week, so Amanda’s 25 Questions blog hop came at the absolute best time. Let’s get into it!
Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?
I dont think there has ever been a question of me doing anything else. Sure, I played soccer until high school and then a bit for fun in college. I played softball until middle school… I am sure I played a bunch of other random sports in between. (does marching band count?) However, I have always needed horses to keep me sane. Just ask the hubs.
What was your riding “career” like as a kid?
I guess my “kid” time can be broken into my experience at two different barns. One was a small barn, under a dozen horses. I did everything there from teach at summer camp to riding potential lesson horses. All the rules were broken when we hopped on horses straight off a truck from Mexico and jumped them over barrels in a round pen. Seriously…
I showed welsh ponies and cobs as a young jr. Typically they were really young 3 – 5. I helped break one or two of them. One I have kept tabs on, and he has gone on to show 3rd level dressage. Cool dude. One day, I will get myself a cob/thoroughbred or warmblood cross. If wishes were horses.
In my later teens, I rode at a hunter jumper barn. I went to exactly one A rated show, but I groomed at helped out at some of New York’s most classic h/j venues: HITS, Old Salem, etc. I still rode anything under the sun, but definitely also developed all the bad habits that come along with riding or unpredictable green horses. There was one horse that I rode on and off for almost 10 years. When I broke my hand, he was the one I got on first.
If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?
Ugh Boo. Without a doubt, Boo. This is not my photo, nor me riding, so I blurred out the rider’s face. This was… many years ago, so before Facebook was a thing for high schoolers (or middle school?), no idea how old I was at the time.
Anyway, Boo was an Irish Sport Horse. He is BY FAR the most athletic horse I have ever ridden. He was the type that, if you pointed him at the fence to stop, he would happily jump over it and just keep going. I wonder now what it would be like to ride him with all the tools I now have in my toolbox (and as an eventer).
I would love to own something like him now, but I doubt I would ever be able to afford it! I kept tabs on him for a bit after he left. He ended up owned by a vet in southern NJ.
What disciplines have you participated in?
Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, Eventing, Hunter Jumpers, Dressage…
Most of my experience pre-late teens was more at generalist english barns.
What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?
Reining would be super cool. I think there is a barn around here.
Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?
Nope. I have only ever owned 2 as an adult, and one as a kid.
What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?
Welsh Cobs. Hands down.
If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?
Probably Germany. I used to speak fluent German, and I just love the country. The UK would be a close second.
Do you have any horse-related regrets?
I’ve stayed at a few barns longer than I should’ve. I also regret not being able to put as much time and training into May and myself as I have wanted to the past couple of years. We should be going Novice, but now I am not sure that we will get there together.
If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?
Right now? Mary Wanless. I think bio-mechanics would make a big difference in some challenges I have had in all three phases.
What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?
A traditional 3 day event format. Even at BN, I think it would be an incredible learning experience.
If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?
Honestly, I am not sure. I would probably still be involved in horses, and May wouldn’t go anywhere. But horses can be incredibly emotionally draining.
What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?
Right now? Training level hahahaha. Although, one day I will probably switch to pure dressage.
What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?
My horse life has always been kind of a collage of horses. I could say Sport – the broken down quarter horse who was so terrified on cross ties that he visibly shook the first time I worked with him. He turned into a very dependable 2′ horse.
I could say my friend’s horse Henry, who was by far the best trained horse I have ever sat on. I should probably say the horse I owned before May. He taught me a lot about myself, my passion, and how to let go of something that just isn’t working.
If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?
I would have more time and money…. Isn’t that true for everyone? hahaha
If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?
The Kentucky Horse Park is still on my wish list. Hopefully, I can make it a reality in 2019!
If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?
Have you ever thought about quitting horses?
Yes. Many times. My original plan was to sell my previous horse and take a break before going shopping again. The universe had other ideas.
If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?
Everyone would be more concerned about horse welfare than money and fame.
What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?
Hah… buying May. I am amazed everyday I ride her at how cool she has become.
As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?
I want to say jumping, but I am not sure that is true. I have been so out of practice with my jumping that it is not fair to say that fear is growing with age. I would have to say now that it is probably riding horses that I am unfamiliar with. I used to climb on EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. (how about some REALLY old video for fun… you probably want the sound off)
What horse-related book impacted you the most?
Go ahead and laugh, but I don’t really read/listen to horse books. And I read A LOT. So… Black Beauty?
What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?
I really like a thinking horse. I am not sure everyone does, but I want my horse to give me their opinion. It tells me they are engaged and actively thinking in their work, even if I don’t always appreciate their opinions.
I cannot stand horses that want to hurt their rider. If you have never been on one, count your lucky stars. I got on a friend’s horse one day. He was incredibly talented, but I rode him halfway around the arena and a walk and then got off.
What do you love most about your discipline?
I would love to say that I love that no one cares what horse you’re riding, that it is more about ability than aesthetics. But honestly? It’s not really true in eventing. SURE, no one cares if you are riding a thoroughbred vs. a warmblood, but I have definitely gotten some disparaging comments about May.
So I will say that I love the challenge. I love that I am competing against myself. My goals are independent of those around me and directly related to things I can control. And ride times. I LOVE ride times.
What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?
Strength and fitness. Officially down 15.5 lbs (don’t laugh, I am proud of that .5) and definitely starting no stirrup november tonight.