Q1: What hobbies do you have outside of riding?
Uhhh. Does doing schoolwork count? I do really enjoy baking, and can make a mean profiterole. I’ve been helping some friends build out spending/budget trackers which is deeply satisfying to my spreadsheet-centric brain. I also LOVE to read. No non-fiction please, I just want fantasy and historical fiction. I’d swim every day if I could. So there’s lots of things that I could happily build out into a full hobby, but for now my life is pretty much centered on work-barn-school-sleep.
Q2: What is your boarding situation? Are you happy with it?
Frankie is in full care at my trainer’s facility and I couldn’t be happier with it. He receives top notch care, I have access to tons of knowledgeable professionals, and we’ve both learned and progressed so much together. I totally understand why people want to keep their horses at home, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be a life-long boarder.
Q3: What’s on your horsey-related wish list?
Oh man this is a pretty sizable list right now haha. In no particular order: new stirrups, new standing and pillow wraps, a custom trunk cover, some custom embroidered BoT saddle pads, a new brush set, some minor things for my first aid kit, some more show-condition breeches, some more schooling breeches (seriously, y’all know I love pants), a new show shirt or two, a shadbelly, a standing martingale to do the derbies, and a fake tail for Frankie. So yeah. Pretty good sized list going on. None of them are 100% necessary to our health and happiness so none of them have been super urgent purchases, but I do need to start chipping away at some of the more important ones – I’ve known I need new stirrups for like 18 months now, and my show pants are starting to really show their wear.
Q4: What is your most expensive horsey-related item?
Other than the horse himself, probably my saddle if we’re looking at a concrete object. Not that I spent a crazy amount on it, but it was still a decent sized investment. If we’re talking about other expenses, either my two weeks at WEC with Frankie or our week in Lake Placid are going to show up as some high cash flow. Worth it, but RIP to my bank account. I do a lot of my “shopping” on Twitter and FB these days and have gotten some great deals on the stuff we need.
Q5: What was the hardest horsey-related decision you’ve had to make lately?
Honestly, the decision to go back to school. While that’s not inherently horse-related in itself, Frankie was a major part of that decision. Willingly choosing to limit my riding and training while my horse and I are still young and healthy is not something I wanted to do, but ultimately I do think it’s going to set me up to be able to provide my family, including Frankie, with a better life (and hopefully a sibling down the road).
Q6: What’s something you feel you can’t live without in your routine?
This is the toughest one in the list for me haha. Can I cop out and just say Frankie? As long as I’m getting time with him regularly, everything else goes more smoothly. And he’s pretty chill, so there’s no one thing he truly NEEDS beyond all the love and attention in the world.
Q7: What’s on your horsey-related calendar for the rest of the summer?
Nothing major! We have a show at the end of September that I’m excited for, Frankie will get his SI injected in the next few weeks, but we’re going to just keep enjoying working together with no pressure. Classes start back up shortly and that will eat up a lot of my time.
Q8: What is one thing you would willingly change about your horse?
I would make it so that he holds his condition more easily. Many of my friends with TBs find it much easier to leg their horses back up after a break, or can maintain a lighter schedule without losing too much fitness. If Francis is not in a high-intensity 6x/week program, he has a very VERY difficult time maintaining fitness, and it’s frankly hard to keep up with my current schedule. We both have the ability and desire to jump higher and work harder (well, I have the desire certainly), but I’m very conscious that his fitness level won’t support that in a healthy way. If he could just hold on to his fitness better, I think we could accomplish more in the time I do have. At the end of the day though, I’m lucky that that’s the worst thing I can think of. In terms of behavior or ability, I wouldn’t change a thing – he’s my dream horse and has given me the world.
Q9: What is something you most want to improve on with you and your horse?
Our asymmetry, which is 100% caused by my own asymmetry. My right hip consistently blocks him and makes his job so much harder. It’s proven majorly difficult to isolate and address so I feel like I haven’t made much progress on this front, but getting myself straightened out and balanced would seriously help so much.
Q10: What has been your [current] horse’s most severe injury?
Knock on wood, Frankie has been wonderfully sturdy over the past few years. His heel grab earlier this year put him on stall rest for a bit while that healed up all the way, but that was hardly a major injury. All fingers and toes crossed that he remains sturdy and healthy for a long time to come.
Q11: What do you feel your biggest downfall is as a rider?
Physical strength. When I’m cross training and fully in shape, I feel like Frankie and I can go conquer the world – we’ve got the partnership, he’s got the ability, and between him and my trainer I’ve learned a ton about how to better manage my mental preparation. But much like my horse, I find it tough to stay in shape without a pretty strict routine. While he tends to get a lil hay belly and turn into a chunk, my body’s response is to just lose muscle and turn into a fettuccine noodle. And when I’m not strong, I can’t give Frankie the support he needs to do good work. He never takes advantage because he’s an angel boy, but I do get frustrated sometimes that I can’t just Do The Thing I know how to do. This is entirely within my control since I can just work out more often, but DUDE I’m so tired from work and school and working out is the worst so I mostly just mope about losing all my muscle tone and wallow in self pity. Someday I’ll learn how to better manage my schedule so I can get some strength training back in there more consistently.
Q12: What feeds your motivation?
While this may be a relatively unpopular perspective, my motivation is largely fed by competitions. I LOVE competing. Not because I need to win, but because there is something incredibly exhilarating about experiencing that atmosphere and testing my skills against other people. I always learn something new to develop and I love aiming for the next level. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely live for the time I get to spend with Frankie just brushing him and hacking around on the buckle. Those times are therapeutic and I often need them after a long week of adulting. But at the end of the day, I’m extremely goal-oriented and having these arbitrary markers to check in on our progress are what I most enjoy working towards.