I am stoked to see that Viva Carlos is running their 10 questions again! These are always fun. (Also I have no pictures for recaps just yet.)
1. Do you actually always pick the horse’s feet? Always? Really?
I’m a little freaky about the feet. Always during the daily grooming, always before a ride, always after the ride. On the occasions when I don’t (either when I’m tacking up a schoolie in a mad rush, or when I go to shows and forget my hoof pick like a terrible horse person) it irritates me for at least an hour. Woe betide any unhappy soul responsible for a horse’s feet if I get there and they have smelly feet or sticky frogs or even a whiff of thrush. (My longsuffering right hand man is just as pedantic, luckily for him).
2. What is the biggest obstacle/reason preventing you from becoming a professional or competing full time with ease?
Well, considering I am (kind of) a professional, this one’s a little hard to answer. But the biggest obstacle that might someday force me out of this wonderful life is undoubtedly money. Ugh money. I think my working students earn more than I do at this point. However, it’s God I serve, not mammon, and I know which one of God and mammon is in charge. So I have faith that that will never be my reason to quit.
3. Do you think it will ever not be about the money?
Yes. I think it already is, for some people. Whether or not the sport/career/hobby is going to be about money isn’t something that can be totally controlled by society. Sure, it helps to have a super fancy horse and a super fancy yard, but at the end of the day you can’t buy a horse’s willingness or your own skill. Making it about the money is a choice each of us makes as individuals, and bemoaning those who do make it about the money isn’t going to change anything. It’s only our own choices, our own actions for a higher cause that can change the world.
4. Was there ever a horse that you loved and really wanted to have a connection with, but it just never panned out? Details.
Oh Ryka. I loved that horse. I still do – I just never see him anymore. There was a real connection there, a kind of fairytale compatability that you only see in poorly made girls’ horse movies. He was the crazy stallion nobody could ride, and I was the nervous kid who could ride him. But some of his scars just ran too deep. He flipped out at our first show together and even I couldn’t get him back, and I haven’t been back on him since. Due to circumstances, I don’t even really go to the yard where he is anymore. But he still tips his ears towards my voice and my heart still skips a beat at the sight of him.
5. What is one weakness in your riding that even your trainer doesn’t pick up on, only you?
I don’t think any of my coaches really know how nervous I am. I was never good at covering up my feelings, but since we started the yard, it’s something I learned really, really quickly. Kids don’t like to see grownups scared and it’s made me more confident in a way, but a lot of my nerves are still there – just squashed away somewhere until something flips the switch. If I was as good at being confident as I am at acting confident, I’d be a bronc rider!
6. What is the biggest doubt/insecurity you ask or tell yourself in your head?
Oh, I have classic impostor syndrome. It’s annoying but at least now it has a name.
7. There is a barn fire. You are the first person to discover it and see that the roof is collapsing in slowly, and you can tell that it’s going to come down any time. Do you call people first, or head in straight to save the horses?
Guys, I run a stableyard. Multitasking is my thing. I’ll be clamping my phone between shoulder and ear while leading three horses, one of them panicking. Besides, someone has probably already called me to come fix it, so…
8. What is one event in your riding career/horse/anything that you’re still not over, even though you might tell others you are?
I don’t think I’ll ever really get over Achilles. It was seven years ago, but I still have the same triggers he gave me – stallions, big horses, and buckers. (Also Friesians, but that’s their own fault). The funny part is that he was Thunder’s daddy and Thunder did a lot of healing of the damage Killer caused.
9. If you could tell off one person you just don’t like, what would you say?
Horses and children are not status symbols. Trainers are not crash test dummies. It is not OK to treat any of them as such.
10. Have you ever seen questionable riding or training practices, but let it go/ignored it? How do you feel about it in hindsight?
Not that I can really think of. I can take a view on mild neglect a little if I know the owner and they’ve fallen on hard times/are clueless and are trying to fix it, or I’ll just help them out with education/food/whatever, but physical abuse is never going to be something I’ll be quiet about. It’s explainable, but never justifiable.