Thank you to L for the fun questions– as usual, you are the best at providing us all with fun content 😉
What do you consider “jumping high” for yourself? At this point, probably around 3’6″ish. But that’s a pretty manageable height for us and we do it fairly regularly, so it’s not a scary height, just on the bigger end of what we’ve done so far. We’re also gonna get used to it reeeeal fast since that’s our division next year haha.
What are your short term goals for riding? Do you think you’ll reach them? In the short term, my goal is to move up and have a successful season in the 1.10m High Adult Jumpers. Ideally “successful” will mean qualifying for the regional finals, but I’ll be happy if I can give my horse a good experience at that height and have fun. I definitely think this is within reach! When spring rolls around, we’ll be ready to hit the ground running in our new division.
Long term goals for riding? Do you think you’ll reach them? Hmm this one is harder. Ideally I’d love to make it to the 1.20m level, but that’s not a deep burning desire in my heart. We’ll see how our 1.10m season goes and then make new goals from there based on how Frankie feels and what we think a good progression would be for us.
How many barns have you been at in your riding career? Oh goodness. A lot. As a junior I took lessons at four different barns before getting my own horse, and then kept my horse at three different barns. So seven total as a kid. Then one in college, and one as adult. Nine total!
How many different trainers have you been with in your riding career? Two that matter. I took lessons as a kid at a couple different barns, but I started riding with my first “real” trainer in 6th or 7th grade and stayed with him until we sold my horse. We weren’t loyal to a specific barn, we were loyal to T. We went where he went. And then of course as an adult I’ve been with my trainer for two years now and you can’t make me leave her because she is wonderful and I love her.
Ever worked at a barn? What did you do? All through high school! The deal with my parents was that they would fund the horse and shows, but I had to work for it. At one point I was at the barn 5 days a week to care for ~30 horses- turnout, bringing horses in, feeding, hay, mucking stalls, cleaning water buckets, sweeping, etc. I would try to get that all done after school in time for a lesson on my horse, and maybe the chance to hop on another horse or two. I was also my trainer’s shadow for a while at another barn and was basically his gopher- I’d groom and tack up other client’s horses, exercise horses, set jumps, muck stalls, clean tack, anything that needed doing. I also spent a couple summers as a camp counselor at the best place on this planet and that was basically being full time barn staff PLUS full time babysitter to 40 girls ages 7-12. It. Was. Heaven.
Scariest thing that has happened at your barn? Um. Addy got loose once and munched on grass until we could catch her? The warmblood yearling jumped out of his paddock and ran into his stall? Honestly I can’t really think of anything. We had a horse colic really badly that had to be put down, but I count that as more sad than scary.
Have you ever given a lesson? What level was the rider? When I was a counselor, I helped out/led some of the beginner lessons of the up-down kids. I was also able to help out on occasion with the more advanced kids that were jumping full courses, and that was more fun. Less worry about them steering into each other.
What is your opinion on the accuracy of critiquing riders online? Mixed feelings. I do think that a lot of people have good intentions. And I don’t think that you have to be an Olympic level rider to recognize basic position faults. But at the same time, unless something is blatantly unsafe, I don’t think it’s appropriate to critique unless the rider has asked for that critique. If they’re asking for feedback, do it politely. If they’re not, then don’t do it at all. Also, people will usually post the screenshots that make them look the best, but that isn’t always accurate. If you look at my Instagram, you’d think I had decent eq all the time and Frankie was a male model. Only one of those is true. It’s really really hard to critique a still frame of such a dynamic sport because you’re missing SO MUCH of the picture.
What is the ideal height of a horse for you? 17hh or above. Preferably above. I can kiiiinda get away with a big-bodied 16.3, but that’s pushing it. Frankie is somewhere in the 17-17.1 range and medium-bodied, and he’s pretty much as small as I can go while still looking somewhat proportional. Of course, I rode a 16.1 mare down in Ocala in the jumpers and had a blast because no one cares about proportions in the jumpers, but I definitely prefer them big and bulky. The bigger the better.