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July 10

My first header, just to break up the wall of text :) As a side note, I miss Myshla's little face :(

I’m also stealing this from L. Williams!

1. Do you actually always pick the horse’s feet? Always? Really?
I used to be REALLY bad about this so I count it as a huge victory that I nearly always pick hooves now. When I was growing up and we had our horses on our land in a pasture I think I maybe remembered to pick feet every 100 rides or something. I always picked after we rode on gravel but otherwise it was a crap shoot. Now I remember 99% of the time before I ride and about 90% of the time after I ride.

2. What is the biggest obstacle/reason preventing you from becoming a professional or competing full time with ease?
Money, however, I would say that I really don’t want to be a professional or compete full time so drive might be missing as well ;) I’m very happy being an adult amateur with an amazing hobby. I like that it allows me to do other things and I think that I would burn out if I did this as a profession. I like that the barn gets to be my happy place instead of where I work. If I did have more money I would board at a more competitive show barn and have more opportunities to get out there and compete. Also, I would put Katai in training with someone to work on trailer loading and transporting her so that I don’t have to deal with her mare tude as much on my own.

3. Do you think it will ever not be about the money?
I think this depends a little on which sport you’re involved in. I see this more with show jumping and hunters, and sort of with dressage. Not as much with eventing. I also think that top riders aren’t necessarily independently wealthy (like Elisa Wallace) they’ve just worked hard to get there and to find opportunities but the people who own the horses need to have money to own the top horses.

4. Was there ever a horse that you loved and really wanted to have a connection with, but it just never panned out?
Yes, the horse that I’ve owned for the longest so far was a black Perch/Arab named Loki. He was just an amazing horse, really good on trails, not naughty, and had some talent for dressage and jumping. I traded my first horse (who was nasty) for him because Loki was perfect for me. However, he never liked me and wouldn’t let me catch him, didn’t want me to pet him, etc. I tried being firm and I tried being really kind and cuddly with him but he never let me in. I eventually sold him to a women as her first horse and they got along great.

5. What is one weakness in your riding that even your trainer doesn’t pick up on, only you?
My trainer sees all and I’m sure she’s very aware of all of my weaknesses. She doesn’t always address all of them because that wouldn’t actually be helpful but any time I think I’ve discovered something to work on she’s already aware and has a plan for how we’re going to be addressing it and when.

6. What is your biggest doubt/insecurity you ask or tell yourself in your head?
Everything really! I had a rough start in dressage with J who told me that my pony wasn’t worth anything and that I couldn’t ride her because I was too big. I know that both of those things are false but it’s tough to get them out of my head and those just add to previous insecurities.

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 it’s going to come down any time. Do you call people first or head straight in to save the horses?
I wouldn’t go in, I’d call and see if there was anything I could do to save the horses from outside the burning building but wouldn’t put myself at risk. It would probably haunt me but that’s what I’d do. My life is just too precious.

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?
J’s comments as mentioned above. Also my first horse instilled a very healthy fear of cantering in me since he was a bolter and a bucker. I’ve pretty much overcome that but every once in a while that fear still crops back up.

9. If you could tell off one person you just don’t like, what would you say?
I would tell the people at J’s barn to really look at how she’s treating their horses. Ask them to think about why all of their backs are tight, tense, and sore and ask why they stay with her when what she does and what she teaches is so far from what they see in “normal” dressage barns. I wouldn’t even talk to J because she is very successful with her “training” methods and that doesn’t tend to elicit change, her students aren’t necessarily all successful with her training methods and yet follow her blindly. I’d like to get them to think critically about why they are there.

10. Have you ever seen questionable riding or training practices, but let it go/ignored it? How do you feel about it in hindsight?
J’s again, there really wasn’t much I could do. I was a little fish in a pond with a very big shark. At any hint of mentioning that she wasn’t doing the right thing I would have been eaten up and she would have made sure that her posse didn’t listen to me. In hindsight I would have just left much earlier or never trained with her in the first place. Live and learn but it’s taken a lot of time and effort to erase all of the negative effects of my time at her barn and I think some of the scars won’t ever go away. I am hoping to beat all of them (her and her students) in the ring by doing much more relaxed and fun dressage with my horse and would hope that it may cause her students to ask some good questions about why they are there.

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