1. What is your biggest source of caffeine that gets you through the day? (drink, not just brand) Two big cups of coffee every morning. Two of my coffee mugs may or may not equal half a pot.
2. Do you honestly think your trainer is the best trainer for you? Eh. I've changed trainers so many times in my life that I don't think any trainer is perfect, but I can learn something from anyone. She's fantastic for where I'm at right now and she can get me where I want to be. We'll probably have to call in more help as I move up, since I'll be her first student moving up the levels, but I'm enjoying myself and fixing things that have been broken for years. I don't mind being her guinea pig at teaching someone the intricacies that most students don't get around to learning. It's slow, steady, and non-stressful. I would probably go faster with someone else, but she's here, she's affordable, and she keeps me marching along happily. I've learned slow, steady, happy progress actually lasts.
3. One token of advice a fellow rider/trainer/horse person told you that you still remember to this day. Don't fit a round peg into a square hole.
4. If riding meant costing your family so much money that they’d be
basically on poverty line, or making your family terribly unhappy (if
they were not supportive or understanding, etc.) would you still do it? I would stop. I have cut back in the past when necessary to keep afloat. I don't get financial support from anyone and I wouldn't accept it if they tried. My hobby, my problem. If I can't afford it, I don't get to do it.
5. (Girls) would you ride while pregnant? With the complete understanding I want no children and have taken steps to make sure that doesn't happen, I'd keep riding as long as I could get in the saddle.
6. How do you tell when a horse likes someone/has bonded with you or someone else? It's really individual. Fi loved most people on sight. Theo, on the other hand, is much less trusting. You know you've got him with he whickers and comes out to meet you or tries to suck you in for a grooming session.
7. Are horses capable of loving, in your opinion? I believe that they can develop a relationship with a person where they consider them to be a herdmate, that separation is distressing for them, and that they prefer to be in the company of their close herdmate. Is that love? Probably, same chemicals released, but the horse version.
8. If you could have one horse from your past come back for 5
minutes, who would it be, why, and what would you do with them in those 5
minutes? My gut said 'Allen!' and we would just go out and gallop and jump big jumps. He would appreciate the control and experience I've picked up while he was gone and I miss having that much power dragging me to the jumps. But my first pony Terry is a close second. And I'd just feed him all of the treats he couldn't have as a foundered pony and groom him and hug him as an adult that now appreciates how wonderful he was.
9. Should a trainer also be a friend, or should it be a student/teacher relationship? That's a tricky one. Your trainer is in charge, that's how it works. Quite a bit of what they say is non-negotiable. There's also financial pressures that require a certain amount of emotional neutrality. You can't feel betrayed by your friend when there's a business decision made that you don't like. On the flip side, if you're showing and spending that many hours with them, you better have a friendly enough relationship to not mind hanging out in the truck or in stabling for hours on end. You should be comfortable enough and friendly enough that you can make jokes and have frank conversations. It's a delicate balancing act for the trainer. I try to keep a certain level of separation, specifically to avoid things getting complicated.
10. One piece of advice/training you were given by a trainer or mentor that you look back on now and view it as incorrect? Just slide the bit back and forth until he puts his head down. Ah, dressage in the late 80's.