Hi! I’m still alive. Tristan is still alive. I’ve just been reading, riding, working in the garden, baking in what passes for a heat wave in Vermont (mid-80s, you guys!), and like the rest of the known world, playing Pokemon Go. But it’s time for me to pick up the blogging reins again, and how better to do that than to meme?
1. Do you actually always pick the horse’s feet? Always? Really?
No, I don’t. Most of the time I do. When I ride in the indoor, I pick his feet on the way out. But if I am having the kind of day where simply putting one foot in front of the other is a major achievement, I give myself permission to skip things. Picking feet and grooming is on that list. I grab a bridle and saddle, I throw them on, I’m out the door in less than 5 minutes.
Caveat: the barn staff picks feet when horses come in from the field, so his feet are getting picked regularly. But sometimes it’s the compromise I make, to get saddle time.
2. What is the biggest obstacle/reason preventing you from becoming a professional or competing full time with ease?
Desire. I have never for a moment had the desire to do horses full time. I am happiest when they are a very involved hobby. I get anxious, exhausted, cranky, and then miserable when I approach anything like a full time horse schedule – when working at the barn or riding more than a few horses. I am ambitious and competitive about many, MANY things in my life, but horses are not really one of them.
3. Do you think it will ever not be about the money?
It’s not really about the money right now. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like an asshole. If I wanted to, I could divert portions of my income and train and compete quite heavily. If I could talk my husband into it, we could swing a second horse. I could’ve pushed harder to find land and have a farm when we were house shopping.
I’m simply choosing other priorities – once Tristan gets what he needs (and let’s be clear, his board + expenses are substantially more than my mortgage payment, so it’s not like he’s not eating up large chunks of money) I have chosen financial stability instead of chasing horse goals.
Honestly, it’s more about the time than anything.
4. Was there ever a horse that you loved and really wanted to have a connection with, but it just never panned out? Details.
Not really. I’ve admired some horses from afar but I tend to have a pretty clear-eyed view of their flaws and problems. I adored my first lease horse, and we did have a great connection, but I guess you could say it didn’t pan out because he went irreversibly lame. I can’t say that I’ve ever failed to develop a connection on at least some level with horses that I’ve liked, whether I’m riding them or simply handling them.
5. What is one weakness in your riding that even your trainer doesn’t pick up on, only you?
I have nothing like a natural feel for the horse. No trainer I’ve ridden with has called that out. I guess I fake it pretty well, or have worked hard enough over the years to try to develop one that I’ve effectively compensated.
6. What is the biggest doubt/insecurity you ask or tell yourself in your head?
Laziness and lack of commitment. On paper, I work ridiculously hard, but learning the importance of taking time off, and committing to self-care instead of running myself into the ground – that’s really, really difficult for me. I am pretty much constantly comparing myself to others and berating myself for not getting more done.
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 that it’s going to come down any time. Do you call people first, or head in straight to save the horses?
I…have actually been in a somewhat similar situation. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. By the time I got there help had already been called, the horse was gone, and the best I could do was take the kids away and watch them for a few hours to try and help them.
Anyway: I am pretty good at keeping a level head in emergencies. I’d call 911, and I’d assess before running in. I err toward foolhardy with my own physical safety, so there’s a very good chance I would try to go in at some point, but I’d also make sure help was on the way and that I had scoped out a realistic way in and out.
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?
Tristan’s first colic. My first and only complete nervous breakdown. Though I don’t know that I’ve ever pretended to be over that.
9. If you could tell off one person you just don’t like, what would you say?
I honestly don’t think there’s anyone at the barn I dislike? Previous barns I guess there are people that I liked but thought made very, very bad choices. So I’d be clear about those shitty choices and their own flaily reasoning for why the haaaaaad to do x, y, or z.
10. Have you ever seen questionable riding or training practices, but let it go/ignored it? How do you feel about it in hindsight?
Oh, sure. Who hasn’t? I can’t think of anything truly dangerous or awful that I didn’t speak up about in the moment, but there were times in my life when I wish I would’ve at least tried to show the person another way. The worst examples of that were all at one barn, and frankly I feel mostly relieved to have escaped. Somewhat regretful that there are a lot of kids who got some really bad exposure.