I really enjoy learning about everyone’s opinions, ponies, and lives through the monthly ten questions.
Does your horse need shoes? Questionable. Murray was 100% sound when he was barefoot and lived on hills and rocky soils in Oregon. For the work we do now he needs front shoes at least — his upright RF has rotation of the coffin bone that diverges from a foot with a normal angle (nothing more than to be expected of a foot with that shape), which places it close to the sole. I have had several veterinarians (including a lameness specialist) recommend that I not take his front shoes off as long as we are in work.
What do you think of the barefoot vs. shoes debate? So many things. I have so many thoughts on this. I think that we don’t have a good enough understanding or what it means for a horse to be barefoot, or any rigorously performed scientific studies on how being barefoot influences movement, long term soundness, and performance. I think we don’t have a good understanding of what adding a shoe to the foot really does in terms of traction and pressure distribution*. I think that in over a year of living and traveling in Africa I saw zebras (barefoot, in case you didn’t know already) hauling ass away from me/lions/cheetahs/hyenas/scary wind across wet grass, rocky outcrops, gravel, slick mud, and hills without slipping, falling, tripping, or collapsing. I know I saw a couple of zebras get caught, and many more than one lame zebra. I think that we don’t really understand how selective forces on horses have affected the strength, shape, and quality of their feet in regard to the jobs we expect them to perform, or truly how the way we keep them diverges from what may be “best” or “healthiest”. I think that there are people keeping and competing barefoot horses very successfully. I think that if you have something that works for you, there’s no need to mess with it.
* I could very well be wrong – please tell me if I am because I want to know MORE!.
Favourite season for riding? Any season when it isn’t actively raining on me.
How many shows do you
think know you’ve gone to? I can count them! It’s not many. 2011 – SAHJA at HNR. 2012 – Camelot in April and June. 2013 – busy living in Africa. 2014 – SAHJA at WSS (didn’t compete, Murray was lame) in Jan, Camelot in May and July. 2015 – SAHJA at WSS in Jan, Camelot in June, WSS in August, SAHJA at WSS in October. 2016 – Camelot in April. That comes to ten! Such a nice, round number. Perhaps I’ll keep it that way and never show again.
Do you consider yourself a good rider? For the amount of time I have been riding, the amount of training I have been able to afford, and the quality of horse I have? Good enough. I could be much better with more money/time/horse power/access/talent.
How experienced do you think someone should be to own a horse? Experienced enough to know when to ask for help and listen to people who know more. It’s different for everyone.
Have you ever gotten into a fight with your trainer? I don’t really get in fights. I have discussions. It seems like a pedantic distinction (and it is, to some degree), but a fight implies irrationality and a discussion is an exercise in trading rational arguments. If you aren’t interested in listening to logic or trying to convince me with logic, I’m not interested in talking to you.
Describe your dream horse. Tall, dark, and handsome. Hard enough to ride that he makes me look good, but easy enough to ride that he makes me look great. Goes fast, comes back easily. Jumps big and always goes but doesn’t let me get away with bad habits. Dressages like Valegro and jumps like Bioesthetique Sam. You said dream horse, right?
Does anyone in your family ride? I have ranching family that used to use horses for work, but don’t really any longer.
If you could ride any horse in the world, which one would it be? Why? Hawley’s Livingstone when he was still running fast and jumping big. He was beautiful, fun, talented, and continues to be an amazing teacher at 26 — imagine what he was at 10 or 15?! Plus he has the name of an incredible African explorer.