1. Do you actually always pick the horse’s feet? Always? Really?
No. That is the chore that I habitually forget. Sometimes I realize I forgot when I’m walking out to the arena, or when I’m riding, or when I get back to the barn and I’m like “Oh… I did not… do that.” I am lucky that I have a horse who does not go to pieces over a little schmutz in his feet. I am better with other peoples’ horses.
2. What is the biggest obstacle/reason preventing you from becoming a professional or competing full time with ease?
Skill. Horses. Money. Time. But let’s say that I can solve the the first two with the last two. I would still struggle to compete full time with ease because I’m not sure I could do so in good conscience. If I had enough money to be showing as much as I wanted and improving my skills the way I wanted, I would have a metric butt ton of money. And that money could be put to much better uses than improving my personal hobby that costs an inordinate amount of money.
That money could save a ton of forest and chimpanzees. It could pay a lot of ranger salaries, help a lot of kids go to school, and let me do a lot of research that I am not otherwise able to do. And doing that work is something I’m very passionate about, and being able to make valuable change in the face of conservation would be incredible. So, it’s more than just money and time and skill and horses, really. I don’t think I could lead a fulfilling life just riding and competing.
3. Do you think it will ever not be about the money?
Certainly not. But when money makes the playing field equal, skill will certainly show through.
4. Was there ever a horse that you loved and really wanted to have a connection with, but it just never panned out?
I don’t think so.
5. What is one weakness in your riding that even your trainer doesn’t pick up on, only you?
Hm, good question. For the most part, I feel like my trainer picks up on my weaknesses and flaws pretty well. She knows that I want to keep my reins too long, that I have uneven pressure in my seat bones and stirrups, and when I’m inclined to lean forward or pitch myself oddly in the saddle. So there’s nothing that I’m better at identifying in myself than my trainer is at this point.
6. What is the biggest doubt/insecurity you ask or tell yourself in your head?
That my horse is mentally incapable of performing the tasks to which I aspire.
7. There is a barn fire. You are the first person to discover it and see that the roof is collapsing in slowly, and you can tell it’s going to come down any time. Do you call people first or head straight in to save the horses?
There’s no way that I can save all the horses on my own, and I will need to get emergency services here anyway, so I go inside and call 911 first. Even if there is only a land line, that is the most rational choice. Then I call the barn manager and tell her to call everyone else. Then I go save my horse, and others. The glory of cell phones makes this choice much less horrifying.
8. What is one event in your riding career/horse/anything that you’re still not over, even though you might tell others you are?
I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve had enough riding experience to be hung up on anything just yet.
9. If you could tell off one person you just don’t like, what would you say?
That she needs to take a step back and look deeply within herself and acknowledge her own flaws and stop turning things around on other people as if they are the cause of all her problems.
10. Have you ever seen questionable riding or training practices, but let it go/ignored it? How do you feel about it in hindsight?
This is interesting. I have never seen something that I would qualify as abuse without stepping in to talk to the person/rider/trainer in question. I usually try to frame this as a question of their methods and ask them to explain so I can understand, and then challenge their opinions to see if I cannot convince them of a gentler way. However, this has happened probably… three times ever? More often I see something questionable that is not abuse, but is not the way I would do things and, in my opinion, will not lead the rider to their desired destination. In that case, I keep quiet — it is every rider’s prerogative to make their own choices and even mistakes, or even to teach me how my own assumptions were incorrect!