Wednesday, November 7, 2018

25 Questions Blog Hop


I finally have time to sit down and join the latest blog hop from Amanda at The $900 Facebook Pony. I have kind of missed NaBloPoMo from last year, but blog hops are just as fun (and less work than posting for 30 days straight for this busy mama haha!)

Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?
That is a darn good question LOL! I don't really remember what first sparked my intense love of all things equine, but I remember begging for almost a year to start riding lessons. At age six, my parents finally indulged me, and I haven't looked back going on thirty four years this spring!
being a little lesson kid
What was your riding “career” like as a kid?
I was a religious barn rat as a kid! I spent every single Saturday at the barn, doing chores and mucking stalls. I was lucky to start riding at a Morgan breeding farm and rode there until I went to college. I took an hour long group lesson every week at 3pm and went home afterwards. I rode anything my instructor had available for me, from young Morgans just starting under saddle, to naughty boarder ponies, to her own Morgan show horses. I took lessons and showed my lease horse for three years in dressage and hunter under saddle classes until I finally got my own horse at age thirteen. My teenage years were spent doing local shows in dressage and eventing with Sparky. I spent every single day at the barn! I stopped playing sports in high school in order to spend all my time with my horse. I boarded her at my grandfather's Standardbred farm later on in high school, so my barn time became more solitary as I approached college. At the time, I loved having my "own" barn (and I still do), but there is something to be said about growing up with a barn family.

If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?I would buy Joydale Jumelle, my first equine love. She is full sister to Sparky, my first horse. I helped train her (so really she was my first training project!) and I got to back her. She was for sale, as was all the young stock at the farm, and I BEGGED my parents to buy her for me. They did not figure I was ready for a horse, never mind a four year old mare at only age nine. So they stalled for quite a while, until one day Jumelle was sold! I never even got to say goodbye. It was a phone call.....By the way, tell your daughter we sold Jumelle. I was DEVASTATED! The first time I saw her that summer at a horse show, I cried so hard!

Then a few years later, she was bought by someone who I knew and who lived locally. I told her I would buy Jumelle back without any hesitation if she was ever for sale. I was in college at the time and Jumelle had a colt who was maybe two? named Adam Ant. (No idea why this woman bred Jumelle when she never rode the horse to begin with....OH let's breed her! GRRRR...)

Anyway, I went over and rode Jumelle and worked on the ground with her colt Adam one summer during college. I got back to school and then suddenly Jumelle is sold and the woman never returns my calls! I was so upset! To lose this horse TWICE in my life was awful!

So while I am sure she has passed because at this point she would be 33 years old, if I ever find this mare I am bringing her home. If she ever needs a home, she has one with me. I love this mare.

BTW: Cute story on her name. She was a twin! I don't remember the entire story, but the vet couldn't make it out in time for some reason and so the husband took Jumelle's tiny sister in the front of the family car to the vet's office. They got her all hooked up with fluids and what-not, but unfortunately she died on the ride home. 😔 So Jumelle means twin in French. 😊
with Jumelle, circa 1988
What disciplines have you participated in?
This is more like, what disciplines have you NOT participated in haha.  I have often wondered, am I am dressage rider who also events or an event rider who also shows in dressage?  However, I do cross train my horses to do a little of everything and I have successful enjoyed eventing, dressage, showmanship, in-hand, equitation and pleasure classes, trail riding, carriage driving, CDEs, western pleasure, hunter under saddle and over fences, roadster under saddle, sidesaddle, racing under saddle, foxhunting, and team penning!  I even tried saddleseat with Reva one year!

Let's have a fun photo dump, because it kinda amazes me. I tried to mark the ones I have only done with one certain horse, despite the fact I used mostly Dreamy pics.  I am not going to add in Ellie pics since you have all seen those a million times haha.

Dressage



Eventing


Hunter Under Saddle


Hunter Over Fences


In-Hand and Showmanship


Gymkhana (I've done it all: egg & spoon, barrels, poles, sit-a-buck, water race....etc)


Team Penning - Dreamy only
Dreamy's not a fan of cattle haha


Racing Under Saddle - Snappy only


Side Saddle - Dreamy only


Saddleseat - Reva only


Fox Hunting - Dreamy only


Trail riding, beach riding, hunter paces
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Acadia National Park - sunset at Day Mountain
Acadia National Park
Popham Beach, ME

Western Pleasure - Dreamy and Reva only


Carriage Driving/Combined Driving - This was only with Sparky, my first horse

And I drove Snappy a lot, just never showed her in driving events

Roadster - Dreamy and Reva only

Prix Caprilli - Dreamy only
It is SO FREAKING WEIRD to jump in a dressage ring and in a dressage saddle

Demos and interviews - Dreamy only
at WEG for the breed demos
Cutting (haha just kidding, this was at WEG)


Harness racing - though I never raced a horse myself, I have been around it forever
This is Snappy!

Marshaling at racetracks - Dreamy and Snappy only


What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?I would have to say playing polo.  I have tried so many disciplines that I really think this is the only one left anyway (haha), plus it seems like it would be fun despite the fact I would be terrible at it!  Olivia at DIY Horseownership played in college, which seems like a good way to try it.  There is a polo club down at Myopia, but I am 100% sure I will never have a chance to get involved, because that's for people who actually have a clue.  If there is ever a polo clinic in the area, I might give it a shot, but otherwise it is one of those random dreams.

I guess I could also add endurance, calf roping, cowboy mounted shooting, and TB racing to my list of disciplines I have never done before.  But none of those truly interest me to do myself.  Maybe a baby endurance ride someday at GMHA with Ellie, but I don't know.

Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?No, I actually have not! I don't know that I would buy from auction, as I do not have a proper quarantine area and I don't want to put my horses at risk. I am not against buying from a rescue, but it seems like it is often more of a lifelong lease than a purchase. I totally understand why rescues do this, but it is not for me.

What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?Oh, that's easy! I have been a Morgan girl all my life. I watch Ellie graze and move around my front field, and I see my childhood.  I see that typey Morgan conformation and distinctive trot, and I see the horses I grew up with.  She feels like home.  Interestingly, Denny Emerson wrote this on his Facebook page just a few days after Ellie came home.


If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?Ireland! I have always been enamored with the countryside of Ireland, and I totally NEED to ride there! I would love to fox hunt in Ireland.

Do you have any horse-related regrets?Not really, but I do wish I had been brave enough to take time off (even just a summer!) to be a working student somewhere. I was so academically focused and motivated that it never occurred to me to do this, as I thought doing so was only for folks who wanted to become professionals. I have always wanted to be an amateur, but I do wish I had spent time busting my ass and riding with a professional. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been happier to take a horse related career path, not that I don't enjoy teaching, but maybe doing so would have taken the joy out of horses for me. I don't know, but I regret not taking the chance when I was young (and therefore not anchored by a family and financial obligations).

If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?
I'd love to live closer to Tamarack to be able to ride regularly with Denny. I had a BLAST at adult camp back in 2013! I really hope I can go up for a long weekend to ride with him this coming summer or next. My experience with Denny was a huge confidence boost for me as a rider, and I know that riding with him again would help me out even more.
Denny coaching us on XC and it was after this exercise he yelled, "PERFECT!"
What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?
I have so many things on my Ellie bucket list, but I am going to say take her fox hunting at least a few times one season in the future. I loved fox hunting with Dreamy!

If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?I probably would at least keep my current horses and continue to care for them. But that is a tough one, because I would hate to see Ellie not reach her potential, but I would also be sad to not be the person who brought her to that potential. But what in the heck would I do with myself if I couldn't ride?? I guess the loophole here is that I would just drive her, but honestly if I could not ride or drive a horse again, I would be lost without one to care for every day.

What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?I would love the chance to compete in either the USDF Dressage Finals, the USEA American Eventing Championships, or the Morgan Grand Nationals in OKC. Or all three hahahaha! ;-)

What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?That is a tough one, but I would say that Dreamy has taught me the most about riding and training. Just the act of training Dreamy to be a riding horse when she was 15 years old and only knew how to be a broodmare was a huge challenge.  Granted, she had early race training and a few starts on the track too, but I did all her training myself. We earned good scores at First level dressage, Prix Caprilli, and Beginner Novice eventing.  We showed in schooling shows, "AA" rated shows, breed specific shows/classes, USDF rated shows, and even did demonstrations at the World Equestrian Games in 2010.  Most of the time she was the only Standardbred at our competitions, therefore she was a wonderful ambassador for the breed!  I accomplished and exceeded every goal I ever set with this mare.  

If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?I would love to have an indoor or at least a covered arena. I would love to be able to ride despite the footing. While the weather doesn't deter me, it is the weather's impact on my footing that keeps me from riding most of the time.

this would be fine 
If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?
This goes back to my biggest fantasy riding goal of riding at either the USDF Dressage Finals, the USEA American Eventing Championships, or the Morgan Grand Nationals in OKC.

If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?
I would probably choose Badminton or Burghley because I would also like to visit England!

Have you ever thought about quitting horses?Honestly, no. My life is so defined by horses that I don't know who I am without them.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?
I would change the ridiculous number of cast off horses in the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries. Or I would eliminate the drugging of horses to win. Or the abuse of horses to win. Or the fact that people are too afraid to put down their old horse so they send them to auction or rehome them. Huh, that's not one thing...

What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?The dumbest thing that actually turned out pretty well was probably taking a 15 year old broodmare who had never been ridden and making her into a dressage/eventing/all around awesome horse. Dreamy was supposed to be a pasture pet friend to Sparky at the time, but I am glad I decided to give it a try!
the day I brought Dreamy home
As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?
For a long time, I used to be afraid I would not ever have a chance to own a Kennebec Morgan again, but that dream was realized a little over a year ago. So right now, I am not sure what I am afraid of. I am in a pretty good place in my horse life.

What horse-related book impacted you the most?The book that impacted me the most is either Think Harmony with Horses by Ray Hunt or National Velvet by Enid Bagnold.

What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?I think I most love the personality trait of "try". I like when a horse tries their best, no matter what their best is. I like a horse that puts in an effort to understand you and work as your partner. I dislike a horse that is unfriendly with humans, even after all pain/discomfort has been ruled out. I like a horse that at least tries to make a connection with me.

What do you love most about your discipline?I love the precision and focus required for dressage and the exhilarating thrill of cross country jumping.

What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?
Right now, Ellie and I are most focused on improving the promptness of her canter transition and maintaining a steadier connection at all gaits.

8 comments:

  1. OMG. I want to try side saddle and fox hunting SO BAD. This was fun to read! As a side note: being a working student was THE BEST thing I ever did for myself and my horsemanship, although I definitely do agree that it’s something that is very hard to do as an adult with responsibilities/children/etc. If you have a trainer in the area that you like who maybe goes to out of town shows for a week, you should try to hook up with them and tag along! You will be more tired then you ever thought possible, but you won’t regret it!

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    1. I think my working student ship has sailed hahahaha. At least until the three year old moves out someday LOL!! ;-) Then I can quit my real job and play horses as long as I am not too old.

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  2. OMG you have seriously done it all! I love it! What is Roadster? Everything you've done looks so fun and your horses look so happy at all of it!
    Denny is who I would love to ride with as well. I love following his Tamarack page. He's so knowledgeable and straight forward. And he sure does love those Morgans!

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    1. Dreamy is the coolest horse and really gave me the opportunity to try some fun things. She was always game for anything I wanted to try with her haha. She has definitely earned her retirement!

      Here is some info about Roadster! You can do it under saddle (as I have) or put to a bike!
      https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/roadster
      https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/GKsvA9f8PVM/roadster-division-rules

      It is basically a class that you only trot the entire time until you halt in the lineup, showing three different trots: jog trot, road trot, and at speed! You must wear silks, the horse must have an English saddle, martingale, open bridle with snaffle, and white quarter (or bell) boots.

      You enter in a "jog trot" (which is waaaay faster than a western jog) going clockwise. Then you move into the “road trot” and switch directions at the trot. Then you show the jog trot and road trot going counterclockwise. And then……you SHOW YOUR HORSES haha! This is at speed where you FLY at the trot! It is SOOOOO fun! Then you come back to the jog trot and trot into the lineup. Basically you never stop trotting! LOL!

      It is judged on performance, speed, quality, and manners (in that order). I am always breathless at the end, such an adrenaline high! I liken this class to jumping a cross country course...same rush and excitement!

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  3. OMG I LOOOOOVEEE how many different disciplines you've been involved in over the years. The photos bring it all back to life, too. How very cool. You are #goals =)

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    1. Awww thank you! I went through a phase where I wanted to TRY ALL THE THINGS and was lucky enough to have a game partner in Dreamy. She always tried her best no matter what discipline I threw at her haha. I also thought it would be fun to show how versatile a Standardbred really could be, and during her heyday she truly embodied versatility! I never drove her though, which is funny since she raced, but she had a bad accident around the time she stopped racing as three year old, so I never bothered to try to hook her again.

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