I know it’s technically December now, but I wrote this in November so it still counts, right?
1. How old is the youngest/greenest horse you have ever ridden?
I’ve ridden a handful of three year olds off the track, under the watchful eye of my trainer. I rode one on Wednesday, actually! Sometimes when they are tiny you need an equally tiny person — I am your tiny person.
2. How old is the oldest horse that you have ridden?
The oldest horse with an age that I knew was probably Mighty or Derby — 17 when I last rode them. But I am sure I have sat on more ancient horses in my lifetime, I just don’t/didn’t know it.
3. Where you scared of horses when you first started riding?
I don’t recall being scared of horses as a child. I had a few awkward moments like when my aunt grabbed me and sheltered me in her arms while her small herd of horses went bananas for no reason around us in a giant pasture. Or the giant clydesdale cross mare who used to terrorize us at riding camp. These experiences made me leery, but only of the parts of horses that are worth being leery about — flying hooves, and all that.
4. Would you say you are more of a nervous or confident rider?
I am a confident rider and human being, but I am also green and therefore I do not always understand what there is to be afraid of (both a good and a bad thing), and I can more easily hit the wall of “I just don’t know what to do here” than more experienced riders.
5. Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses?
I don’t know if this is a pet peeve or not, but I always roll my eyes at peoples’ inability to understand and recognize the danger zones on a horse. Stompy hard things = bad for human heads, limbs, and torsos. Those white things that clack when you shut them? Also can be danger, Will Robinson.
Also, and this holds true in all areas of my life, people who don’t know much or anything about horses (more generally: a subject) who try to make statements or claim knowledge on the topic. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, kindly do not pester my ears with your noise. My sister is the perfect human in this way, because she always tells me that she doesn’t know what such an such an animal is doing and asks me to use my expert knowledge to explain it (standard response: it’s pooping, sister, that’s what pooping looks like).
6. A time you’ve been scared for you life (horse related).
I don’t have one. Perhaps the above-mentioned story about my aunt holding me back when her horses were being a bit nutty. I guess there was also a moment last winter when I was holding the reins on a 17 hand three year old sale horse in the arena about to lunge him for a client who was trying a bunch of horses. Another rider was using the lunging equipment in the arena, but I thought I could walk around the arena a bit to get the three-year-old calmed down before he got on the lunge. Unfortunately, the horse I was holding decided that hearing the other horse RIPPING AROUND on the lunge was just way too stimulating and started leaping and flailing at the end of the reins. The rider lunging did not see/notice what was going on with the gigantic baby t-rex kite that I was flying, and I was literally holding on for dear life to avoid the kite from going flying around the arena and getting tangled in the lunge. I wasn’t necessarily worried for my life, per se, since I knew I could let go and let the shit show unfold if I needed to. I was worried about the giant baby’s life (a little) and a lot about the other rider’s life. I definitely nearly puked from the adrenaline rush when someone finally stopped the rider lunging.
7. Have you ever fallen off at a show? What happened?
8. What’s a breed of horse that you have never ridden but would like to try?
Err… I’m not sure. I’ve never really thought about different breeds being important (BEYOND childhood okay guys). I guess maybe I’d like to give riding a Fresian a go, but only naked and bareback and with hair long enough to cover up all the naughty bits.
9. Describe the worst behaved horse you have ever ridden.
(Though in Murray’s defense, I am also one of the worst behaved humans he’s ever met sooooo….)
10. Describe the most frustrating ride you have ever had.
I’ve described lots of terribly frustrating rides on this blog, but the most frustrating ones always come down to one thing: I don’t understand what is going on. Usually it’s because my understanding or perception of what is happening is somehow slightly separated from reality. For example, when I spent like 8+ months thinking that speed = bravery. Or when I didn’t understand that trying to bully Murray into taking the long spot ALL THE TIME RIGHT NOW NO EXCEPTIONS was not a good way to build confidence. Or the months and miles and shows where I didn’t understand that firm rules = better behavior (and don’t you go saying I still don’t understand that, because I do, I am just bad at enforcing it okay?!)
When I have some understanding of what is going on, I can slow down, think about how to fix what we are doing, and take a different approach. When I don’t understand, I end up beating my head against a Murray-shaped wall of willpower, and we all know who wins that battle. Good thing my understanding is growing daily!
I love this judgmental kestral.