I had a loooong day of school and dealing with taking my car to the shop for the fourth time in four weeks — all minor things that needed to be repaired and were covered under my warrantee, but still irritating to waste yet ANOTHER day on that. So today, we blog hop! A nice, fun, easy, getting-to-know-you blog hop by Cathryn at That Red Mare!
1. Mares or Geldings? Why?
I was totally a gelding person until very recently. As in, the appearance of Peanut into my life recently. Why? I had never met a mare I really got along with. Something about them was always a little assholic to me — it seemed like, at least a little bit, something about all the mare I interacted with was always saying “fuck you” just a little. Maybe it was something about me! Who knows. But Peanut tries pretty hard, and doesn’t really say “fuck you” to me at all (at least not much), and really does try. So there’s that. Oh and she’s really cute.
Not as cute as Murray, but acceptably cute
2. Green-broke or Fully Broke?
I have ridden a lot of green-broke horses and found them preferable to the “fully broke” lesson horses that I’ve ridden in my life. That being said, I’ve never, ever had as much fun jumping as when I have jumped my RBF’s totally 100% broke Training level event horse. I mean, maybe now that Murray is getting back to being kinda badass, but Derby is one cool mofo to ride. And my mother-in-law’s dressage horses have been pretty incredible to ride too. So… yeah… I like them both. I would consider either green or totally broke for my next horse… just not broke broke.
3. Would you own a “hotter” breed (ie. Arabian, Trakhener, etc).
I love my thoroughbreds, but I’m not into the crazy hot ones. I enjoy my some frolicking and skippidy-do-dah and all that, but don’t want to be fighting the flight instinct of a horse who really believes they are stronger than I am (and who doesn’t mind using their strength against me).
4. What was your dream horse growing up?
I have an extremely distinct memory from when I was about nine or ten or eleven years old, sitting in the junior library at my private all-girls school in Adelaide, planning and naming all of the horses that we would own when we moved into her family’s property in the nearby hills. (Incidentally, we would have zip lines, called flying foxes in Australia, that connected our houses on different areas of the property for quick access to one another!) I can’t remember my number one horse any more, but I know that there were a lot of thoroughbreds on that list. But there were also dark dappled grays, and strawberry roans (what even is that, child-Nicole?), and black horses with big white socks…
5. What kind of bit(s) do you use and why?
I have started to amass my own bit arsenal. Right now Murray goes in a suuupah cheap, thin-ish, small-ringed, loose-ring French link. He likes it okay for dressage, and for jumping. Previously I’ve had him in a single jointed loop gag, an eggbutt French link with a bead (not the flat link), and of course I’ve tried a standard single-jointed D. Interesting, Mr. Sensitive likes a thinner, lighter bit than what is typically considered “soft and mild”, and the Peanut mare is getting used to the French link (she used to be super fussy in them).
6. Helmets or no helmets?
Every day I’m protecting this noggin.
7. Favorite horse color?
I’ve always loved blood bays. But you can’t deny the handsomeness of a deep, dappled bay too. Also, dark dappled gray would be fab if they would never turn white…
8. Least favorite horse color?
Dilutes and cremello-y things. I just… ick. Sorry, fans of those colours.
9. Dressage or Jumping?
I’m a big fat DQ deep inside. But I looooooooove me some jumping. I love putting them together, too.
10. How many years have you been riding?
This is a weird question. I first sat on a horse around five or six or seven. I went to horse camps when I was 11-13, for a week or two each Summer. When I was 17 I took lessons at school for a quarter, that I traded for “work study” aka scrubbing water troughs. And then before my first year of grad school I started riding for the first time consistently and seriously — weekly lessons. That was in 2009, so I guess I was 20 (shortly to be 21), which means I’ve been riding for six solid years now.
11. Spurs/whip or no spurs/whip?
I almost always carry a whip when riding. I have been holding them for so long I know how to keep the out of the way, and I don’t think it’s an excuse that your horse is scared of them. You don’t get “un scared” by never being exposed to whips. Anyway. I ride with spurs about 50% of the time, partially because my leg is not quite secure enough and I don’t think it’s fair to goose Mr. Sensitive unnecessarily.
12. Your first fall?
I fell off a hot-adjacent chestnut mare named Lexi. We were cantering and I was trying to turn right, but didn’t make a solid decision as to whether or not I would do it in front of or behind the mounting block. She dived right, and I saw the ground on the left and thought “I’m going there.” I went. I’ve fallen a lot more since then!
Let’s look at me falling off my horse two times in one day one more time!
13. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
I rode on Monday. Murray and I practiced some dressage exercises along the skinny edge of the arena while my friend practiced her dressage tests inside the court, and came up with some awesome little exercises to do in the small space. Murray threw a tantrum about halting — he didn’t wanna! — and I backed him and backed him and backed him and BOOM, forward, agreeable horse. (Bitch please, don’t mess with me.) Then I did my tests a few times and called it good.
14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
By weight? Definitely my new PS of Sweden bridle! By pure numbers? My dressage saddle barely edges out my jump saddle, but everything is under 1k. Until we quit dumping saddles, and I start making some more money, we cannot own nice things.
15. How old were you when you started riding?
See above for the detailed story.
16. Leather or Nylon halters?
I have both. Leather for every-day and trailering. Nylon for punishment when Murray breaks some leather.
17. Leather or Synthetic saddles?
I only own leather, but I guess I would not be hypothetically opposed to synthetic if it fit really well.
18. What “grip” of reins do you like?
I need rubber reins. I’m too much of a butter fingers as it is, I can’t afford to have ANYTHING slippery. I have a pair of very grippy, soft, leather reins with stops for my dressage bridle and I like them quite a bit.
19. English or Western?
I can count the number of times I’ve ridden in a Western saddle on one hand. I don’t dislike it. But I also don’t find them super comfortable either.
20. How many horses do you currently own/lease?
One and a half. Peanut is only half mine. Murray is 100% my problem.
21. Do you board your horse? Self-care/full board? Home board?
I board my horse at a barn that offers full care and lessons. I take care of someone else’s horses to pay for it! Ha!
22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
No, and I am very lucky for that. However, horses that I love have been put down and it is still heartbreaking.
23. How many saddlepads do you have?
Probably… four dressage pads (including my show pad), and six or seven jump pads (none of which is truly reserved for showing).
24. Slant-load trailer or straight haul?
As I own neither, I trailer in whatever my friends are willing to offer me. Murray loads in a straight or slant, ramp or no ramp, and one time even happily got in a reverse slant and I wasn’t even the one who asked him to get in there! I am so very proud that I trained him to do that.
25. Why do you ride?
Because I love it. I love the feeling of progress and cooperation and making something that’s more than what it seems. Because it’s cool!