As always, L from Viva Carlos is the content-Santa of blogland.
How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden? Short answer: not very young or green. I love me a well-schooled horse. I’ve hopped on a couple fairly green-broke 4y.o.s for short rides, but nothing substantial. Mad respect for those who regularly ride greenies, I have a hard enough time figuring out how to not ruin my packer.
How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden? Late 20s-ish. He was a school horse at the barn I rode at in middle school and was mostly retired, but they let me ride him because I was too nervous to ride anything else. Womp womp. We do have a 34yo pony at my current barn that is still in better shape than me or Frankie, and we’re pretty sure he’s going to last forever.
Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? Ummmmm, kinda? It was this weird juxtaposition of wanting to be near horses during every second of every day, and also freaking out hardcore whenever they did anything besides stand there without moving. I was a conflicted, neurotic, terrible child.
Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider? These days, I’d definitely say confident! I have a lot more trust in my own abilities than I used to, so I believe that I can safely accomplish whatever my trainer sets for me. I still have my nervous moments, but I’ve gotten pretty good at taking a deep breath and giving myself a pep-talk.
Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses? When they don’t listen. If I tell you to stand over somewhere, it’s for your safety. If I tell you not to walk in that area, it’s for your safety. If I ask you to put something away, it’s for your safety. If I tell you not to feed my horse, SERIOUSLY DO NOT FEED MY HORSE HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I SNUCK YOUR TODDLER CANDY BARS THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS IS LIKE RESPECT MY AUTHORITY AS HIS MOTHER. But seriously- if you don’t know what you’re doing around horses, please follow my instructions promptly so we can avoid you getting kicked or stepped on.
A time you’ve been scared for your life? (horse related) Like every day from the ages of 11-15. Seriously I was a neurotic little ball of anxious energy. Nothing truly bad every actually happened though! The times I’ve fallen off haven’t even been when something crazy happened. I always fall off when my horse trips at the walk, or canters a crossrail or something dumb like that. I once got caught in a stampede of 25 ponies getting loose and making a break for their paddock, but that was more adorable than anything else.
Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened? Eeesh, just the once. I was in a flat class with roughly 75 people- we were literally 3 deep on the rail, and it was a tiny warmup ring with no fence around it. Instead of splitting the class to canter, they just had us all go at once. Three deep. Quite understandably, my horse said “eff this, I’m out” and took off towards the middle of the ring crow-hopping. I landed flat on my back in the dead center of the ring with the wind knocked outta me. Everyone stopped and people rushed over to check on me to see if I needed an ambulance, but the only thing hurt was my pride. My horse had even stopped immediately and was waiting patiently for me to get up and feed him. It was just embarrassing more than anything else.
What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride? Anything gaited! Paso Fino, Tennessee Walker, something like that. I’ve ridden an Icelandic pony and that was pretty cool. I live in a world of TBs and warmbloods (and the occasional draft-cross), so something totally different would be fun.
Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? This is a tough one- I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to horses, in that OMG PONIES I LOVE THEM ALL. And my trainers/friends know me well enough that no one has ever asked me to hop on something spooky or truly obnoxious- I will nope out of that with zero hesitation. I’ve hopped on a couple horses and then almost immediately hopped back off for that reason.
The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had? This is another tough one. Even if I come out of the ring feeling frustrated, I try really hard to re-frame it in my mind as an opportunity to learn and get better. So ultimately those rides end up going in the “positive experience” memory bank. I’ve had rides with Addy where it felt like everything we had ever worked on just flew out the window and our brains fell out of our skulls- but it was just kinda like, “eh, you win some you lose some.”