How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden?
Once upon a time, I rode a three year old. He was cute and clueless. I had to learn how to teach a horse to steer and how to teach the canter. It was messy and clumsy, but it was a great learning experience (with experienced, watchful eyes helping out). I spent a lot of time in a round pen, just teaching him that he had a job and that stopping was an awesome idea.
How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden?
I rode a 26 year old appy this summer. He is super sweet and still does some lessons. Sound as a bell and happy to work. He was having some trouble with his canter transition so I traded with someone so they could ride mi papi and I hopped on the pony. A quick reminder and we were cantering around quite nicely.
This sweet pea was 29, but I never got the pleasure of riding her.
Were you scared of horses when you first started riding?
I don't know. I guess it depends on your definition of scared. I was tiny and I was on a big horse, so I was very unsure about the whole thing. And then I fell off and got stepped on. So there was some fear of riding at any kind of speed, but I never remember being scared of the actual horses.
Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider?
I'd have to say confident. More balls than brains has described me for a long, long time.
Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses?
For the love of all of the little gods, don't walk up to my horse without introducing yourself to either of us, stand right in his blind spot, and start slapping your hand against his face thinking you're patting him. My horse bites, for one, and it's rude.
And it's not a one time thing. It. Keeps. Happening. I'm picking my horse's hind foot when he suddenly pops his head up and almost crushes my foot as he slams his foot down. I turn around and there's some woman holding her baby up to Theo's face, encouraging said baby to have a baby flail at my horse who can't see it. Seriously. It's a thousand pound animal, do not approach if you have no clue.
Not to be trusted
A time you’ve been scared for your life? (horse related)
Amazing how it all kind of blurs together when you try to pick one incident. When I was thirteen and thrown badly, I rolled over and the horse was rearing over me. That time, yes, I was scared I was going to get killed.
Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened?
Hahahahaha, omg, so many times. Ratbag pony used to dump me in fences pretty regularly and loved to pull it at shows when I was focused on things other than managing his every step. As an adult, I had just gotten back into riding after college. I was riding a Hafflinger pony that was very enthusiastic about jumping. It was little stuff, I think 2'3". Since he was a pony and not very long strided, I was planning to do 3 in the 2 stride. Two strides away from the combination, the pony grabbed the bit and took off, making two strides work somehow. I wasn't expecting it, got knocked out of place, and went under his hooves. It was a bad fall, I got trampled pretty well. And it was the first time my hubby ever saw me ride.
Tanky and me, thirteen years ago. I don't know where my hairnet was. Judging by the outfit, I was helping fill an equitation class. So embarrassing.
Turns out the trainer had someone get on the pony and school that two stride a dozen times the day before, making sure he got the right strides, so I wouldn't have any trouble. But no one told me. So when I went for the quiet three, he saw the combination and took off. Whoops.
What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride?
Tennessee Walker. I have so little experience with gaited horses.
Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden?
Let's see. I've ridden a lot of ratbags in my life, especially when I was younger. There was this mare named Georgie that really took the cake because she was malicious. Most horses will evade or whatever, but Georgie was very talented and a raging bitch that genuinely wanted to hurt you. She had the best of everything at a very high end barn, but she made her life easier by teaching every rider that got near her to fear her. She kicked, she bit, and she had a twist/shoulder drop/bolt combo that dropped even the best of riders. Usually into the wall. She dropped me hard a couple of times because I dared to ask her to do something she didn't like. Anything that involved work, she didn't like. She wins because she was a pampered princess that had the best of everything, but would be just as likely to trample you as to say hi.
The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had?
The ride when Fi and I called it quits on jumping. The one where months of work culminated in her refusing to step over a pole on the ground. Where I just burst into tears in the ring and realized that my eventing mare was done and that I'd never get to take her out to an event again.
Fi and I at our last successful event together