Thanks Amanda for the very interesting blog hop! With more rain coming down yet again there isn’t a whole lot of riding going on, so the content idea is much appreciated.
Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?
My mind never stops. When I’m not thinking about work, I’m thinking about Wyatt. When it isn’t focused on him I’m going over my farm to do list or what to get from the grocery store or how I need to still stain that new barn door or or or….It is a constant flow of thoughts that never ceases.
Except when I ride. Then all of that fades into the background and all I am focused on is this very moment be that trotting around the rail, jumping a fence or going down the trail.
Soccer, running, competitive whitewater slalom racing. None of them did that for me. The moment I swing my leg over a horse all my stresses and duties and responsibilities just stop and it is the most freeing sensation I have ever had.
What was your riding “career” like as a kid?
Ha! HAHAHAHA! Career. You make me laugh.
We couldn’t afford lessons and I didn’t live near any barns that we knew of. My aunt had a horse farm 2 hours from us and I would spend weeks in the summer with her riding all over the country side. We would wake up before the sun, pack a lunch in our saddle bags and hit the trail only to return as the sun was setting 12+ hours later. We galloped and raced, we swam in the rivers, we scaled mountain passes, we traveled to Acadia Maine, the battlefields of Gettysburg PA, the forests of West Virginia and Maryland. It was magical and even then I knew I was lucky.
If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?
None really. My aunt had some amazing horses that I loved and she kept them until they passed. They lived a great life and I rode when I could when school was out.
What disciplines have you participated in?
Endurance and hunter paces mainly. I did one CT with Gem and a couple jumper schooling shows, but I’m not sure that really counts as participating.
What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?
Eventing if I grow the lady balls to do cross country. An actual real bonafide jumper show would be great too. I have a not so secret desire to try my hand at vaulting but after watching it at WEG I know it is unlikely. I can’t pull those moves off on the ground let only on top of a moving horse.
Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?
Nope, although I stalk the BLM mustang online auction quite a bit.
What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?
I’m not sure I had one. My aunt had TWH so I guess that was it by default. Unlike so many other bloggers, I wasn’t around horses all that much as a kid and I didn’t have Breyer horses or read a bunch of books.
If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?
Wales. Hands down. During my semester living in Italy, I traveled to Southern Wales and spent my Easter break hiking around the island. I fell in love with it and would retire there in a heart beat.
We had planned to do a shore to shore ride on Welsh Cobs for our 10th Anniversary but then Wyatt came along and I think we had Cheesecake Factory cheesecake instead. That about sums up being a parent.
Do you have any horse-related regrets?
Not really. I could say that I wish I rode more as a kid, but it just wasn’t available to me and we didn’t have the funds to make it happen. I suppose I could have been a barn rat and worked off the money but to be honest I didn’t even know that was a thing you could do. I did all my riding with my aunt and I don’t think I knew lesson barns existed until I was a young adult.
I’m glad I got Gem and stuck with her though I wish I had that “training” money back since it did absolutely nothing and the trainer never even rode her , but such is life.
- If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?
- I don’t know. I barely ride with my trainer at the moment. I love everything KC writes about her Trainer B and if he wasn’t over 2 hours away I’d like to burden him with teaching my butt to ride.
- What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?
- Small item would be to complete a HT even at the amoeba level. Making it to BN would be icing on the cake. Anything above that is a pipe dream.
- My endurance dream was always to do the Vermont 100 while Dusty ran it. It would be so cool for us to do a 100 miler “together”. The other endurance biggie for me is the Big Horn 100.
- If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?
- Living on the farm, yes. I don’t have horses because I love to ride. I have horses because I love horses. It’s why I don’t actually mind H’Appy being unrideable for so long because he is fun just being around and he makes my day better by being in it. The question with him is whether or not he is the horse I want to depend on for riding. But in my mind those two are separate.
- If we were still boarding then no. I couldn’t see spending that much money to have a horse I never saw and couldn’t ride. Although Gem and Pete always have a home with us regardless.
- What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?
- Gem hands down. She gave me independence. If it wasn’t for her I would never have taught myself to hitch the trailer and drive off to unknown parts. She taught me to leave my emotions in the car. She taught me to go for it no matter what anyone else said.
- She also taught me a lot of trust issues but I’ll just ignore those 🙂
- If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?
- Oh man. Well, my current horse would get his head out of his butt and be rideable for more than a day or two in a row. I’d know for sure if he was the one I want to stick with long term or if I should be looking again.
- The only actual trait with him that I want to change is his herd bound tendencies. Everything else I like. He is not crazy hot but is reactive to my leg and not a kick ride. He isn’t spooky about anything: dogs, deer, water, Wyatt and all his shenanigans. The big guy is a rock. He is honest to jump and will go over what I point him at and doesn’t go celebrating on the backside. Really if I could just erase his need to with other horses he’d be perfect.
- If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?
- I don’t know. In endurance it is the Vermont 100 and Big Horn 100. For eventing it is anywhere I can get my horse to and enjoy.
- If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?
- None. I really hate the upper levels of horse sports in just about every discipline. The over use, the risks, the money that decides pretty much everything. Ick. I’ll support the local schooling shows with my time and money.
- Have you ever thought about quitting horses?
- Yep. I even figured out that without them I could have a beach house or you know take a vacation.
- Like most people have written I took a large break. Mine started in high school when my aunt wasn’t riding anymore and I turned to whitewater for most of the year and caving in the winter.
- Then I went to college, got married and off to medical school. I found riding again by accident when a doctor at the VA invited me out to her barn to ride her Morgan mare and that started it all off again.
- When I was getting ready to retire Gem I thought about getting out and not buying another but then we had the farm and it seemed silly to have a horse farm and no horses.
- If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?
- Get rid of money involvement. Get the sports back to being about the love of being on a horse and the relationship. Riders owning their own mounts. Riders doing the grooming, daily care and conditioning. Horses allowed to fully mature before being started (it makes me want to throat punch the person when I see a sales page for a 3 yo that already has a long list of competitions). But I dream.
- What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?
- Gem. No way would anyone have said to buy her or keep her. She was a monster. Flash forward to all we accomplished together and I don’t regret a second of it.
- As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?
- Being hurt I guess although I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie to start with.
- I’m not sure I actually believe in having a “heart” horse but I am increasingly getting worried I’ll never find that magical horse that makes me feel invincible and gives me wings. I’m a one horse at a time type of gal (well maybe unless I do decide on a back up horse but I have a feeling if I did then H’Appy would be a back up) and I am 36. That doesn’t leave a whole lot more horses in my life to find it.
- What horse-related book impacted you the most?
- None. I don’t read horse books. I enjoyed the Thoroughbred books a lot but that was pure entertainment.
- The 101 Jumping Exercise book helped me a lot when getting into arena work with Gem as it gave me something to focus on.
- What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?
- Hmmm….I think I value friendliness above all else. A horse that wants to be with me, wants to go on adventures and isn’t pointedly malicious or mean.
- My least favorite is herd bound. Gem never cared but H’Appy does and it drives me crazy because then I lose his focus and that can be a safety issue. It is also something that is super hard to work on when your horse is at home and you ride alone 99% of the time.
- What do you love most about your discipline?
- Endurance: the fact that anyone truly could do it with any tack and any clothing. There is nothing hoity toity about endurance and I love that.
- Eventing: The fact I can do it in my back yard. Sounds lame but when you work 50 hours a week and have a kiddo that is a super big deal.
- What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?
- Everything. I can ride 100 miles and end up with all As on my card. I can talk conditioning, electrolytes, nutrition and tack all day long in endurance.
- But I can’t cross that over to arena work. I’m relaxed, loose and in good form on trail but as soon as I enter an arena I lock up my entire body. No clue why. If I can change that I feel like I can improve quicker.