Thank you, L, for the blog material while settling into the after show season doldrums.
1. What discipline do you ride? What would you ride if you could pick any other one?
I mean, it's easier to ask what discipline I don't ride?
Right now I consider myself to be a dressage rider that also does equitation over fences and western dressage. I'm quite content with this mix but if someone handed me a very classy working hunter, I'd head back into the hunter ring with no bitching.
2. How many horses have you ridden in your entire riding career?
I have absolutely no idea. I have ridden so many horses, ranging from years to minutes. I've always been the fool that will get on anything if someone asks.
3. Most bizarre activity you've done with your/a horse?
Walk. Through. Fire. What could I possibly do to top that?
4. Do you consider riding to be your outlet? If yes, why?
Honestly, I consider it the opposite. Riding forces me to stop living in my head, thinking about so many things that are still twenty steps away. When I'm riding, I have to focus on the here and now, the way my horse feels, what is happening in my immediate environment. It's the only time that I'm not thinking 100 mph about a dozen different things. When I'm riding, my mind is quiet. For someone like me, that quiet is bliss.
5. Have you ever read horse-related magazines? If yes, which one(s)?
I grew up on Equus. I loved all the medical articles, especially when my pony foundered and I had an article that told me exactly what that was so I was less afraid. I was an odd little kid. I now read my local magazine, Equine Journal, and Dressage Today. Online I read Horse Magazine.
6. Most memorable advice given to you?
Don't put a round peg in a square hole. This was in regards to Fiona but it resonated with me right to the core of my riding. If your horse hates something, don't freaking do it.
The other bit of advice that was simply memorable was Greg Best saying 'it doesn't matter what bit you put in that horse's mouth'. His comment was about my OTTB Allen's incredible power and my inability to stop it. What it triggered was me putting away my terrifying leverage bit rig and taking my horse into day two of the clinic in a snaffle. I think I scared the pants off of that man when I unleashed the Hellbeast in a snaffle and a martingale but it was the day I learned that I really could do it. I didn't need the gadgets anymore. It was probably the single most important event that happened in my education as a jumping rider.
7. Did you ever collect Breyer horse models or similar?
Embarrassing info time: I used to go to model horse shows. When I was in college and had no horse, I went to model horse shows with my string of model horses. I even learned to do my own customs. When I got Allen and lost interest in model horses, I gave my show string to a teenager that wanted to go to model horse shows but didn't have the funds. No regrets, just handed her the whole set rather than let them collect dust in my house. I hope she won lots of ribbons with my champions. I'm currently shopping for an artist to do a portrait model of Theo for my desk.
8. Favorite "celebrity" horse?
Valegro. Boring, yes, but when I saw that video of him doing a lesson with a ten year old, he became my absolute favorite. What a kind heart.
9. If you could spend a day learning from any horse person (past or present), who would you choose?
Dr. Reiner Klimke. I would follow that man around all day and just watch him ride. I watch videos of him riding when I need to calm down. Just hearing him talking to his horses drops my blood pressure. Watching him on Ahlerich is a joy to me.
10. If you could ride in any international arena in the world, where would you choose?
The Alltech Arena at the KHP. Just because it would feel so grand. True pipe dream? Hickstead. I've been watching those rounds for as far back as I can remember. It would be a dream to ride in that arena, even if I didn't jump a single fence.