1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?
I stop in and see Francis! I’m usually still holding my keys and gear, but I head straight for his stall to say hello and trades scratches. If he’s outside, I’ll wander the barn a bit first to say hi to any friends that are there.
2. Is there a breed that you would never own?
It kills me to say this, but any pony breed. I deeply love ponies, but at almost 5’10” it would be pretty impractical. We’ll see if any future spawn wants a pony though, because I am entirely on board with living vicariously through them.
3. Describe your last ride?
Our lesson this week, where we practiced being hunterific and handy. Frankie was wonderfully responsive, rateable, and had great energy. He’s pretty sure that slowing down like this is his favorite thing.
4. Have any irrational riding fears?
My one big one is riding outside the ring any faster than a walk. It’s completely irrational – I ride the actual safest calmest horse on the planet – but there you have it. I enjoy walking around the neighborhood, but the idea of picking up a trot gives me the cold sweats.
5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?
When I was younger, there was an ancient lesson horse named Alfie where I learned to ride. He was the slowest kick ride to ever exist, and was pretty much the only horse that didn’t make my neurotic self break down in tears. He was a wonderful big chestnut old man ❤
6. Would you ever lease out your horse?
Totally! I’m still enjoying the heck of out Francisco, but that’ll likely be in his future. He’s a pretty darn perfect 3′ packer that can easily do higher with a solid ride, can cross into any ring (as long as you’re not trying to win the hack), and is super chill and easy to handle/ride. He’s going to be a great teacher for a tall kid/adult re-rider.
7. Mares: Yay or neigh?
I won’t turn down a good mare! I tend to click more with geldings since they usually forgive my transgressions a bit more quickly, but I adored Addy and her quick-thinking nature.
8. How many time per week do you get to see your horse?
These days, around 3-4x per week. At our peak it was 5-6x pretty consistently, but adding classes into the mix has required me to adjust my schedule. Luckily he gets pro attention a couple times a week, so he’s still shiny and happy!
9. Favorite thing to do on an “easy day” with your pony?
Hop on bareback in a halter and mosey about the property watching lessons and drinking wine. I do this on Fridays sometimes when I’ve had a rough week, and basically use Francis as a mobile couch while I hang out with friends and watch some of our talented juniors work. Bless the ammy friendly horse.
10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most?
This is a tough one – basically anything that would make it difficult/dangerous for a horse to jump safely. Frankie is pretty over at the knee and while it hasn’t posed problems, I would definitely correct it if I could.
11. Thing about your riding that you’re most self conscious about?
Eh I’m honestly not that self-conscious of a person. I would love to have a more stable lower leg, I’d love to address my asymmetry better, I’ve gotten in the bad habit of hunching my shoulders, my eye for a distance comes and goes. But those are just skills I want to work on, not things that make me feel self-conscious.
12. Will you be participating in no stirrup November?
Partially? I do need to include more no-stirrup work to get back into shape. But I don’t track my times or anything like that.
13. What is your grooming routine?
Pick feet, curry all over, brush mane and pick shavings/debris out of tail, soft brush all over twice. The longer I take, the happier Frankie is. I’m saving up for a nice brush set, so I think this will expand when I have the full set!
14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?
Come inside for breakfast, lay down for a long mid-morning nap, wake up and eat some hay, get groomed, go to work, more groomings/bathtime, and then go outside overnight to play with friends and eat more hay. It’s a good life.
15. Favorite season for riding?
Either fall or mid spring. The air is crisp and clear, we can ride outside without broiling in the sun, Frankie’s coat gets super dark and beautiful as it changes.
16. If you could only have 1 ring: indoor or outdoor?
Oooh this is a tough one. I love love love having our indoor so that we can ride in all weather year-round, but we do get a little stir-crazy after being stuck in there all winter. Can I opt for a covered ring to get the best of both worlds?!
17. What impresses you most about the opposite discipline (english vs. western)?
This may seem silly, but their setups at the big shows. The way they take these stall fronts and turn them into completely new areas is totally mindblowing.
18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?
Antares. I love it.
19. How many blankets do you have? When do you blanket?
Just 3 – one light, one medium, one heavy. He’s blanketed in various combinations as weather demands from late fall through early spring (we just packed ours up to be cleaned and stored last week). I also have a wool cooler and a fleece quarter sheet that I use in the winter.
20. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Favorite place to be scratched?
Literally all treats are favorite treats, which is why he gets very few and in moderation. My trainers will often give him a mint/carrot when he leaves the show ring, and he has yet to say no to any of them. He loves being scratched right at the base of his ears/his forehead, he always really leans into that.
21. Something about your barn that drives you crazy?
I just sat here and thought for a while and I really don’t have one haha. The care is wonderful, the training is thorough, the people are lovely. I very much enjoy my time there and can’t think of anything I would change. If anything, make it closer to home. One the weekends/off hours it’s only 30-35 minutes from my house and the office, but I do spend about an hour getting there after work during rush hour.
22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes?
Pulled manes for sure, but I do sometimes do a quick neaten-up with scissors at the very end. I don’t usually pull too short since we don’t braid for the jumper ring, but I have a feeling we’ll being keeping it more ready for braids these days.
23. Can you handle a buck or a rear better?
Definitely a buck, but I’d really prefer neither thankyouverymuch.
24. I would never buy a horse who ___________________?
Was super spooky. Even if they don’t bolt or do anything too naughty, I really don’t like riding something that I have to coax along like that. It makes me really keyed up and nervous and I ain’t about that.
25. Favorite facial marking?
Frankie has a little double swirl right in the middle of his forehead and I think it’s the most precious thing in the world. It’s a perfect spot for scratches and smooches.