Doing a small blog hop here from the $900 Facebook Pony post, and having a crack at the 25 questions that were posted up.
I feel our answers are a bit similar (I answered the questions and then read the post – scary) so hopefully it doesn’t look like I have just done a weird copy/paste job.
- Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?
I tried the sane sports.
Believe me, I tried.
I have turned my hand to athletics, long distance running, swimming, volleyball, baseball, soccer, rowing, badminton and snow skiing at one point or another.
Some I stuck with and did for a while (long distance running, snow skiing) with success and some enjoyment.
Others I did for a short while with less success (but more enjoyment) like badminton and volleyball.
But no matter how many other sports I did, how successful I was or how much I enjoyed it, all I ever wanted to do was ride and have my own horse.
Now I am super unsuccessful and loving it. There seems to be a correlation here.
2. What was your riding “career” like as a kid?
I begged for a pony/horse my whole life and had zilch to show for it.
I was gifted an OTTB when I was 13 as the family stud dispersed which was an unmitigated disaster.
My “career” there mostly consisted of fights for my life, constant falls and near death experiences.
Not long before I turned 15 I was leased a much nicer, perfect older TB mare called Tai who showed me the ropes but I don’t think I am still in “child” career territory at this point.
However that horse gave me my love for eventing and she was the best (non)first horse a girl could ask for, despite standing at 17hh with a tiny 14 year old on board.
Note the untucked girth points, the too low noseband and the rubber “top boots”
3. If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?
Tai, the older eventing TB I just mentioned.
That horse was the best horse in the world.
I owe her everything.
110% over me and my crap.
4. What disciplines have you participated in?
The obvious three for an eventer
- show jumping
- cross country
I have also dabbled in some hacking, but let’s just say it’s a big “no” from me there.
Mind the lack of false tail, cos – not a hackie.
5. What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?
Polo looks like mad fun.
I also have an addiction to adrenaline I think.
6. Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?
I’ve tried via phone, but I couldn’t get my bid through.
7. What was your FIRST favourite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?
I remember having those model figurines of a Morgan horse and an Appaloosa.
2 breeds of horse I have categorically had nothing to do with since actually entering the horse world.
I still think Morgan’s are BEAUTIFUL
8. If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?
I’d say the UK or somewhere else in Europe for the sheer ease of being able to travel around for competitions (and their whole riding system seems to be far superior to the one we have here).
A trip within one state of Australia for a competition would have you driving across countries there.
9. Do you have any horse-related regrets?
Letting my need for perfection stop me from pushing myself.
I always wanted to be perfect, and it held me back from entering many competitions with Tai I wish I had done now.
I had no idea how rare a horse like that was. I feel I wasted the time I was given with her.
Putting up with more crap for me before running the EA95 at Candlebark. I wish we had stepped up to EA105 sooner.
10. If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?
Ingid Klimke, no ifs ands or buts.
I love everything she stands for, how she rides, how she trains, all of it.
11. What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?
Compete at Adelaide International HT, even if only at the 2* level and I come last.
This is the 2* course for reference. It runs through the middle of the city which is just incredible.
12. If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?
Without a doubt. I would go into breeding them and maybe doing fun things like liberty work.
13. What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?
Get to 2* level.
I feel that is an achievable level for someone who isn’t looking to be a professional rider and doesn’t get to spend all day every day riding squillions of different horses.
Will have to see if my nerve holds out to that level though.
14. What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?
She was the perfect school master but she knew more than me and never let me forget it.
Tai could sense when I was feeling nervous or a bit unsure of myself, and she would make sure to be the quietest, safest most reliable horse you’ve ever seen, which her previous riders found both entertaining and frustrating as she had been incredibly horse shy with them and sometimes spooky, but she didn’t do that with me.
I started feeling a bit too sure of myself, in which case she made it her mission to bring me back down to earth.
Aids getting sloppy? Pick up the wrong canter lead in the dressage test only.
Not supporting her enough in the counter canter? Flying change
Not paying attention in the warm up? Horse shy
God she made me laugh, and boy oh boy did she look after me. But she also made me accountable for every damn second in that saddle.
I got payback when she retired though, forcing love and affection on a decidedly unaffectionate creature.
15. If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?
Having him able to be ridden would be a great start.
Other than that maybe have him somewhere with good facilities so when I train at home I have more options?
Sadly, no such place exists here that meets my ideal requirements.
16. If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?
Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney HT are all the goals.
17. If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?
Ooooh that’s a tough one, but honestly Blenheim, Burghley, Badminton, Kentucky, basically any of the big ones would be amazzzzzzzzzzzzing.
18. Have you ever thought about quitting horses?
Does every day count?
No, I am kidding (sort of).
I have. I’ve even tried.
I think about how much better off I would be financially but I have never managed it for more than a few months.
Horse riding/owning and my mental health are inextricably linked. You could call it my own form of self medication.
19. If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?
Probably going to get shot for this BUT I would like to see horse ownership as something that requires a test or license before entering into.
Why do we have to do that for people to get a reptile and ensure they have adequate knowledge of care but not for a horse?
Too many people going around with a little bit of knowledge and doing some terrible things completely unintentionally.
Of course, you also have the people who do terrible things intentionally but that is a whole other kettle of fish and do not get me started.
20. What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?
Took my 4 year old TB cross country schooling after about 2 weeks of riding.
I did not know him at all and we basically had never jumped.
The first time saddling up the big man. Don’t think he was ridden for another month after this, as I was trying to build up some fitness.
21. As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?
Not achieving my goals.
I love competing and riding but I am losing the free time I used to have for training and floating around.
Of course when I had that free time I didn’t have the ability or funds to do it, so it is a bit of a double edged sword here.
Horse riding is a sport with longevity though, so I guess time is on my side.
22. What horse-related book impacted you the most?
The Truth About Horses by Dr. Andrew McLean.
He is both a wonderful trainer and person, and Learning Theory is everything.
23. What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?
I don’t care if the horse isn’t the prettiest, best mover, highest jumper etc. as long as it tries for me.
Inverse to that a horse with a crappy work ethic is my least favourite.
Why spend time working with something that has no interest in working with you?
Just hurry up and get better so you can WORK WITH ME
24. What do you love most about your discipline?
I feel like we have a really solid community, with the show jumpers a close second.
I’ve rocked up to events as a 14 year old nobody and had ex-olympians parked next to me ask if I can run them through the dressage test at the baby level because they’ve forgotten to bring a test sheet.
Was I star struck?
Was it awesome for me to see them as normal people happy to chat with anyone?
My experience with eventing coaches has been overwhelmingly positive, too.
25. What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?
My dodgy left arm.
It is my absolute goal to get on top of that crap.
I am sick, sick, sick of it doing whatever it feels like.
Honestly, both my arms can bugger off here, ugh!