Stealing this from Amanda because they are good questions that go a bit deeper then surface level. Hop you enjoy!
1.Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?
- I can’t see myself being motivated by a sport that doesn’t involve an animal. Even team sports wouldn’t do it for me, I don’t like people that much. Maybe I would do dog agility if I didn’t do horses, but horses have been my first love from the very beginning (seriously, just as my mom. I think I came out of the womb this way!)
2.What was your riding “career” like as a kid?
- I had a ‘backyard’ type pony starting at 6. Before that my mom had a horse that she sat me on occasionally. My pony and I did playdays, trail rides, and very small open shows. I rode both western and english on him. My next horse was an Arabian, I think we got him when I was around 9. I started with open shows on him, then did Arabian show (hunt seat) and then transitioned to dressage. My next horse (around 13) was my dad’s old heading&healing/trail horse. He wasn’t old per-say (maybe 13?), just not really trained. Starting from the ground up, we eventually did dressage and eventing together.
- I always had my horses at home as a kid, and LONGED for a that barn atmosphere to have friends to ride with. Don’t get me wrong, growing up with your horse in your backyard is freaking incredible and I wouldn’t change that experience for the world, but now I am happy at barn that also serves as a social outlet.
3. If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?
- I would buy Pal all over again. Not that I even bought him initially, my dad found him (in a classified ad I think? This was the early 90’s). That horse had a heart of gold and I owe so much to him. He is still kicking at 32 yrs old, living the retirement dream at my parents. He’s been in our family over 25 yrs.
4. What disciplines have you participated in?
- Dressage, eventing, Arabian breed shows (feels like a discipline of it’s own), hunters, jumpers
5. What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?
- I think I’m happy in h/j land. Does a derby count?
6. Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?
7. What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?
- Arabian for sure. Mine was a Khemosabi son, and I was obsessed with him. Had the Breyer and everything.
8. If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?
- I’m not super well traveled so I’m not sure. I’d love to ride in Ireland for sure! I’m sure Germany would be amazing too, but not sure I’d want to live either place.
9. Do you have any horse-related regrets?
- This is a tough one. My paint horse from high school and I were thissssss close to showing 3rd level but we ran out of time before I headed to college, and it wan’t feasible for me to take him at the time. I wish we had been able to do it, because I had all my other scores for my bronze medal and I would have liked to complete it. That’s not really a regret though, because there is nothing I could have done differently. So I guess no, I have no regrets. I am very happy with my currently situation, and I certainly don’t regret buying Rio!
10. If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?
- I honestly don’t know. I’m not on the up-and-up as far is who is really and truly and amazing hunter trainer. I have done a clinic with Julie Winkel and I liked her a lot, so maybe her?
11. What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?
- Galloping across gorgeous European/English/Irish/Scottish country-side where there are castles. Yes, I am a child with princess fantasies at heart.
12. If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?
- I don’t know. Since I don’t have my own property I am not sure I could justify the cost of upkeep just to have one. My soul would be crushed without horses though, so I am sure I would fine a way to at least be around them in some capacity.
13. What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?
- A total dream, but I’d love to win a National Derby at a well attended show with Rio! I guess that my ultimate would be to compete at one of the indoor shows someday, although I don’t know how that could ever happen budget-wise!
14. What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?
- Well, I am only 2 years in with Rio, so it is hard to say. So far, I probably have learned the most from Pal. We ventured to 2nd level together, which I hadn’t done previously, and we learned all about eventing together, from BN to Training. We were ‘together’ for 5 years though. I’m sure by the time I’m with Rio for 5 years I will have learned just as much, if not more.
15. If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?
- I would want all of my horsey friends to be at my barn so we could ride together, and I would move the barn closer to me (but not be any more expensive!). My commute in traffic is about 50 minutes, which can make it difficult to get out there as much as I’d like during the week.
16. If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?
- As mentioned, I’d like to do one of the indoor shows someday, but I wouldn’t be too picky about which one! If I was still with Rio I might need to skip the WIHS though because the ring seems really small, and I think we’d really struggle due to that.
17. If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?
- This is another question that I haven’t spent a lot of time pondering. I really don’t closely follow top riders/horses besides reading the occasional Chronicle article. That level of competing is definitely fun to watch, but really out of reach for most. I also really don’t love large crowds and big/busy venues, so spectating anything (including concerts/sports) isn’t something I really do. I went to Rolex in 2006 and LOVED it, so maybe I’d go back, especially if I could go with some of the same people as last time (I’m looking at you Jo, Erica, Maeve, Ariel & Ethan!).
18. Have you ever thought about quitting horses?
- No. I would lose my shit without horses in my life. I’ve always found a way to be around them, just in varying capacities. I thought about quitting jumping after a scary fall and resulting fear about 6 years ago, but never riding as whole.
19. If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?
- Drugging & deceitful business practices
20. What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?
- Umm… unclear if there is a statue of limitations on such things so my lips are sealed 😉
21. As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?
- Cliche, but getting hurt in a riding related incident makes me nervous as I age. Doesn’t help that I work at a hospital and see plenty of accidents firsthand.
22. What horse-related book impacted you the most?
- Horses Are Made to be Horses by Franz Mairinger. Unfortunately, it is out of print and can be hard to find.
23. What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?
- I will never buy another horse that I don’t feel safe on. Rio has helped me relax into a confident rider again, but I also know how quickly that confidence can vanish. Something that is known to spook (badly, not just a little shy or sidestep or whatever), especially one that ROUTINELY spooks aggressively, is am absolute no go in my book. Just not work it.
- In the same vein, I value a good brain the most. You can be the fanciest horse in the world, but if I’m scared to ride you then you are no use to me!
24. What do you love most about your discipline?
- I love the harmony of it. You cannot force a horse to be a good hunter. You cannot man-handle them into doing it. You can’t put a contraption of a bridle and other gimmicky aids on them and force it. The confidence, cadence, and relaxation of an effortless (appearing) hunter round comes from a place of mutual trust and hard work.
25. What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?
- Rio’s canter and my show nerves. The canter will never come easily for him due to his conformation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve it. I want to work on over-coming my own nerves in the show ring so that I can give Rio the types of rides he needs to be successful.