I love me a good blog hop! Thanks L from Viva Carlos for giving us all some fun blog fodder.
- What is your biggest source of caffeine that gets you through your day? (drink, not just brand)
So I’m a weirdo in that I’m pretty indifferent to caffeine. In fact during the winter I can’t have caffeine at all or else I won’t sleep for three days straight. Legit I can have half a cup of coffee at 8am on a Tuesday and I won’t sleep ’til 4:37am Friday. It’s bad. So during the winter I drink water and herbal tea and that’s about it.
During the summer I’ll grab a cup of coffee in the morning to be social and kinda settle into my day. French vanilla creamer is my jam, people who can take their coffee black frighten me.
Overall though I’m really more of a water drinker! I drink absurd amounts all day long. I don’t feel awake until I’ve had a solid 16 oz. Hydration is the key! If I don’t have to pee, I’m behind on my water.
2. Do you honestly think your trainer is the best for you?
Absolutely. She knows how hard to push me and when to give me a minute to decompress. She does a really fantastic job with her students- there’s a wide array of learning styles and it always impresses me how she manages to tailor her message.
For example: I completely botched my first course at Loudoun. She came down on me hard. She totally lit the fire under me. My friend was a little taken aback when she heard. BUT the reason she did that is because she knows how competitive I am and she knew how to motivate me to cut the crap and DO BETTER. And the next round I went in and did better, and she made sure I knew that she was pleased with the improvement.
Someone else botched their course that same day. Trainer gave them 10 minutes to decompress and then very calmly talked through the parts that they DID nail.
She really has the knack of knowing who needs the fire lit, and who needs the confidence boost. When to push for more and when to praise the improvement.
Of course she’s also immensely detail-oriented, endlessly patient with the horses, and an all-around technically excellent trainer which is what drew me to her in the first place. But I think her ability to coax out the best work from her riders is something really special and something that takes her coaching to the next level.
3. One token of advice from a fellow rider/trainer/horse person that you still remember to this day?
Gosh, literally everything Danny Emerson has ever said haha. He is so wise.
But also someone once told me that riding should be fun. And I think that really is what it always comes back to. So many of us tend to get wrapped up in our goals: improving our lower leg, getting more straightness and engagement from behind, jumping higher, moving up the levels, whatever it may be. At the end of the day, we need to remember that this is supposed to be FUN. The tough days where it feels like training isn’t going well and you and your horse will flail around forever need to be balanced with days where you can take a deep breath and just enjoy being on a horse. If there aren’t any of those “deep breath days,” something’s gotta give.
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?
Yes. Call me selfish, call me short-sighted, call me whatever you want. Riding is a non-negotiable for me. Manfriend and my family understand this and have been wonderfully supportive. I’m not sure what I would do if I ran into that sort of resistance- I hope I never have to!
5. Would you ride while pregnant?
Depends on how I was feeling, the horse, the weather, the moon sign, all sorts of things. If I was feeling healthy and strong and it was a horse like Frankie who is a total steady-Eddie-packer type, then probably. But that’ll be something I play by ear and listen to my body about when the time comes (years in the future).
6. How do you tell when a horse likes someone/has bonded with them?
Depends on the horse! A horse like Frankie who is a total snugglebug likes literally everyone off the bat. Legit he’s the biggest flirt on the crossties, he wants to be besties with every living creature. There is not bonding process: as soon as you say hi you are bonded with him. You are his herd. He loves you.
Addy is a little more standoffish. The absolute sweetest girl and always with good manners, but she’ll kinda look at you sideways a bit if she doesn’t know you. Like, you’re cool, but don’t be acting all familiar when she ain’t know your story. I could tell I was good in her book when she would actively seek my company- come to the stall door, graze by my side, etc.
7. Are horses capable of loving?
Love is a strong word. I could talk for days on how we define love and what it means and doesn’t mean. In my mind, love is a uniquely human emotion.
But I do think that horses are capable of intense affection and attachment in their own way.
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 boy Star! He was my gelding in high school and I was terrified of him. He was supposed to take me up to 3′ and I straight up was too scared to ever jump him over 2’6″. Looking back he was probably a bit too much horse for such a timid rider (let’s be honest, anything more than a 27yo pony was too much horse for me), but if I could go back now I think we could have a blast. He was super broke, super fancy, and all our adults used to show him in the adult medals and win every time. I miss him!
9. Should a trainer also be a friend, or should it be a student/teacher relationship?
I believe pretty strongly that for me, this needs to be a more business focused relationship. Other people may be able to make the friendship angle work, but I need my trainer to be my trainer first.
Of course I chit chat with my trainer, we share funny anecdotes when I’m taking walk breaks during my lessons, etc. I don’t mean to say that every single conversation is directly related to me and my horse, because it isn’t. But at the end of the day she is my trainer and barn owner first and foremost.
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?
This is a tough one. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some reeeeally great trainers throughout my riding career. I’m also an intense know-it-all (just ask my boyfriend, I’m pretty insufferable), so if I don’t think someone is giving me good advice then I kinda “bye Felicia” them and ride off into the sunset.
I’ve always ridden with/worked with really classical instructors and barn managers too- my trainer as a junior was a really traditional equitation coach, I kept my horse at a dressage barn where good care was paramount, and I now board and ride with a trainer who is no muss, no fuss, just do things well. I’ve always been given pretty good advice from these sources.
Short answer: no, I have a ton of respect for the coaches and mentors I’ve had over the years and can’t think of any advice that doesn’t still hold true!