I can move my head again, guys! Hooray! Thank you for all your sympathy yesterday. I may be going back to my doctor to try some other migraine meds in the new year – I don’t want to be caught out like that again. Hopefully it’s not the start of a new trend.
Since I haven’t seen my horse in a few days, have some blog hop questions from Viva Carlos!
1. What size horse do you prefer to ride?
I like them on the small side. Tristan at 15 hands (15.1 in shoes) is a bit too small for me, though he does take up most of my leg. But 16 hands is about my max, even though I’m 5’9″ and by fashionable standards ought to be riding something much taller. I’ve done it, but I prefer the movement and cattiness of a smaller horse. I also like them more solid-built than average; not drafty, but lots of bone and a nice well-sprung barrel. Think Cob or Morgan rather than draft cross.
2. Do you school in tall boots or half chaps and paddock boots?
Tall boots. Always. This year I started riding occasionally in half chaps and Ariat sneakers, but only for hacks, never for actual schooling. I’ll also ride in straight up winter boots for bareback hacks, but again, not for schooling.
3. What do you do with your ribbons after shows?
Ummmm, throw them in my trailer’s tack trunk or the back seat of the truck and forget about them for months, then re-discover them while cleaning out and cuss because they’re all creased and I can’t actually remember what class they were for and wow, I am such a failure at the ribbons game.
At one point I tacked them up on a corkboard, then I moved and forgot to do that again. Right now, my best ones with Tristan are all arranged on the outside of a lampshade because that’s where I put them when I unpacked that box and it looks surprisingly not-awful, even if it was 95% unintentional.
4. Do you ride/board at a large show barn or a small private barn?
Is it weird that it’s kind of both? In the late spring, summer, and early fall, it’s a super-fancy fairly large (~45 horses with lots of haul-ins) dressage show barn, like Grand Prix schooling every day. In the late fall, winter, and early spring it’s half empty (maybe 20 horses), very quiet, and has the feel of a small private barn. There are only a handful of other boarders; most of the horses are schoolies, retired competition horses, or babies growing up. I pick barns for the care first and foremost, and I think you can find quality care at all sorts of different barns. I could rave all day about the care at my barn, and the people behind it. I feel really lucky that it’s also such a nice place.
5. Have you ever seen a horse give birth?
I mean, on TV, but not in person. Kittens once. I’ve met foals that were a handful of hours old. I have no ambition whatsoever to breed or to observe that.
6. What is your favorite breed?
Morgans, hands-down. Love ’em. I always have.
7. Favorite tack brand?
Ummm…the cheap kind? I don’t think I own two pieces of tack from the same maker. I buy what fits, is quality, and I like at the moment. Right now I have: a Passier saddle, an Albion saddle, a Nunn Finer breastplate, a Stuebben bridle, a Circuit bridle, a true no-name auction bridle, Smartpak leathers, and so on. No, wait! I also have some Passier leathers, so I guess I technically have two Passier things. Oh, and my rubber reins are Nunn Finer, so there, two pieces from them too. I am terrible consumer, apparently.
8. Would you ever buy used tack?
Yeah so that list above? Only the Stuebben bridle was new. Literally every single piece of tack I own I got used. I never really thought about that before. And the Stuebben was last year’s model on clearance at Equine Affaire. REALLY nice bridle but I paid $175 for it at a steeeeeep discount and I’m sure it’s nobody’s idea of stylish. Also, it has dog tooth marks on the noseband from an asshole German Shepherd from three barns ago.
9. Ever been on a carriage ride?
YES! Actually one of my very favorite memories is from a “carriage” ride.
I did my graduate internship at Old Sturbridge Village, where for several weeks I did a variety of museum-y things around. Two days a week I was in costume doing interpretation, one day at the farm and one day at another house. (OSV doesn’t do first-person, so I didn’t have to pretend to be from the 1830s, thank God, just be in costume and demonstrate and talk to people.) I totally stalked the stagecoach driver and his horses, who were the loveliest, most well-trained animals. On my last day in costume, I got to ride up next to the driver, wearing my complete 1830s dress & bonnet, all around the village. So awesome.
On my very very last day before leaving, I brought Tristan down and rode through the village as part of an organized trail ride. That was awesome too. I’m just now realizing I didn’t blog about it, apparently? Hm. I’ll dig up the pictures and save that one for a rainy day.
I’ve been in a carriage lots of other times, but that experience really stands out.
10. How often do you go to the tack store?
I go to the farm store (ie, feed store) for miscellaneous things maybe every two or three weeks. The closest proper tack store is a ways away in Vermont, so I tend to save those trips for when I’m visiting family in Massachusetts. Dover & Smartpak
are equidistant from my parents’ house, and I’ve been to both many, many times over the years. So maybe every 6 months or so? I do a lot of ordering horsey things online right now, especially with the Smartpak free shipping to my barn.