Q3: If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?
If this question is a real horse, I would honestly say I have no regrets. I’ve learned so much from each horse I’ve owned. Buying Marley was also a huge risk and while it has not been easy I would change nothing.
If we’re talking Fantasy Land… I wish I’d been able to afford a less green horse as a kid. There was a striking grey gelding that I tried a few times and we just could not figure out a way to agree on a price, and I had active fantasies about purchasing one of my trainer’s incredible Warmbloods. When I had the opportunity to ride horses with more training it definitely change my riding for the better. I think the time to really focus on just me – vs. me plus the strong-willed beast I was trying to convince to, you know, do advanced maneuvers like stay in the dressage court or move forward into the contact – could have accelerated my (still ongoing!) journey toward developing a really great seat and hands.
Oh, I did it all. I started riding at 6 in local lesson programs and by the time I was 8 we had acquired an extremely opinionated chestnut mare who for the first year or so we rode mostly in a Western saddle because (a) it’s all we had and (b) she liked to bolt and buck so that horn came in handy.
Eventually I got a little more serious, started working with a trainer, and joined Pony Club. In addition to Pony Club I did a lot of trail riding, participated in local 4H shows, did hunter paces, was a member of a state champion Drill Team (really!) and played polo into high school.
Competition-wise I was never part of a really serious or elite group – we lived in a pretty rural area and travel to recognized events was significant, not to mention expensive. Thanks to Pony Club I mostly evented – I was always mystified by the hunter and eq rings, probably in part because I rode whatever I could get my hands on and that was often a small, opinionated horse with questionable breeding and no capital-M-movement to speak of.
Q1: Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?
I’m sure my husband wonders this ALL the time. To be honest, I ask myself this question occasionally as well, most often when it’s freezing cold outside, my horse is having a panic attack because he can smell the pigs that are more than a football field away, or I’m thinking about what I could do with my hard-earned money if I didn’t have to buy / repair / clean / buy and endless parade of winter blankets and fly sheets.
I’ve also been lucky to have the opportunity to do a lot beyond horses. I played lacrosse and soccer, I’ve traveled a bit, I do a lot of hiking and backpacking, I was a very serious flautist for nearly 20 years, I’m still very involved with CrossFit. There are many things in life that are fun and fulfilling.
The simple answer, though, is that nothing brings me more joy than horses. Even my husband says often that I “glow” when coming back from the barn – and that’s consistent whether I had a great ride, a tough ride, or no ride at all. I find the process of horse ownership incredibly rewarding, and I just love being around these big, stupid animals.
I love the “25 Questions” post that’s been floating around the blogosphere but let me be real – in no way do I have time to write answers to all 25 of those questions in one sitting.
So – I’m going to turn this into a question-per-post type of deal and try to get to all 25 between now and the end of the year. This may seem like the slacker’s way out but let us all remember that I have posted a grand total of, uh, two times so far in 2018 so if I hit 25 posts in the next month and a half I will consider this a tremendous victory. Deal? Deal.