Last month I participated in my first (unofficial?) blog hop by answering L. William's 10 questions for July. She posted the August version Monday, and I couldn't resist!
1. What is your biggest source of caffeine that gets you through the day? (drink, not just brand)
Since I rarely drink soda, I guess I would have to say coffee. And TBH, I don’t drink coffee every day -- maybe twice a week?
2. Do you honestly think your trainer is the best trainer for you?
Not necessarily, but considering my location and financial limitations, I’m fine with the way things are right now.
3. One token of advice a fellow rider/trainer/horse person told you that you still remember to this day.
Horses are horses -- they don’t care about winning big competitions or the fanciest tack/trailer/blankets/trainer, they just care that they have the necessities: adequate food, water, shelter, and companionship.
4. If riding meant costing your family so much money that they’d be basically on poverty line, or making your family terribly unhappy (if they were not supportive or understanding, etc.) would you still do it?
This would depend on the situation. When DH and I first started out we were broooooke. I still had horses , but obviously we pinched pennies and only bought absolute necessities. I also kept the horses differently (24/7 turnout, no shavings, blankets, riding lessons, new tack, etc). I am willing to make a lot of sacrifices to keep the horses, but in a situation where one of us lost our job or if we lost our farm, I would probably have to make different decisions. Outside of our core family (core family being me and DH, since to me, that’s the most important), I do have family members who are unhappy about what we (or rather I) spend on the horses, but I don’t care. It’s my life, I earn my money, and I can decide how to spend it as long as all my “adult” bills get paid. Now if I were not paying my bills and still spending this much on horses, yes, that would be a problem.
5. (Girls) would you ride while pregnant?
No tiny humans in my life plan, so not going to have to worry about this one, thankfully!
6. How do you tell when a horse likes someone/has bonded with you or someone else?
It just depends on the horse -- some are very vocal (whinnying or nickering when they see you), some just show their bond by actions (choosing to stay with you even if they don’t have to, coming to you unprompted in the pasture, etc). Some might show you their bond by doing something that scares them (loading on a trailer for one person, but not another, etc). Every horse is different, and every horse/handler relationship is unique! Topaz was very vocal -- she would always nicker when she saw me. Ruby is more of a clown. Cinna just wants to be near me all the time -- if I stand near her she’ll rest her head on my chest or shoulder and just breathe.
7. Are horses capable of loving, in your opinion?
Absolutely. When Tres was pregnant, everyone told me I would never see her foal out, that she would do it in the middle of the night when no one was around. She waited until I got home from work, and once delivery was imminent (tiny hooves sticking out), she wouldn’t lay down until I went into her stall. She delivered Cinna with her head in my lap. Topaz is the biggest chow hound ever, but she would gladly leave her hay pile the minute she saw me. If I’m in the pasture, Cinna is within arm’s reach at all times (by her own choice). Even if I’m walking the fenceline from the other side, sometimes she’ll just pace me and watch. If I’m standing in aisle and not paying enough attention to Ruby, she will mug and act goofy until I come over to pet her.
8. If you could have one horse from your past come back for 5 minutes, who would it by, why, and what would you do with them in those 5 minutes?
Gosh, this is a hard one! I rode a lot of horses in middle school/high school that didn’t belong to me, but made a huge impact on my life. Bo, Classic, Fred, Titan, Sheba, Flare.... But honestly my inclination is to say Jack -- Jack is still in my life, but retired. I wish I could have him back from the first few years I had him, when he was fit and still jumping. For that 5 minutes, I’d love to be taking him around a big course (big for us being 3’, lol), fearless and flying like we used to :) or taking him swimming at the barn we used to board at! I miss swimming with my horses.
9. Should a trainer also be a friend, or should it be a student/teacher relationship?
I think every person has different needs, and even the same person might have different needs as their riding career goes on. For right now, I really need more of the student/teacher relationship (which is what I have). In the past my trainer was also a friend (Lucy, feel free to move back at any time!). However I think a hugely important part of this is communication, especially if the trainer is also a friend. As long as you both can clearly communicate your expectations, there is less chance of someone feeling like they’re getting taken advantage of.
10. One piece of advice/training you were given by a trainer or mentor that you look back on now and view it as incorrect?
I didn’t have a trainer as a kid but there were a lot of adults I looked up to because they had horses and I didn’t -- in retrospect, clearly owning a horse doesn’t make you an expert in anything, haha. Probably the biggest one? 95% of the horse people I knew as a kid fed sweet feed -- blech. It was amazing how much better my horses looked and how much less I fed when I stopped giving my horses sweet feed (after taking an equine nutrition course in college). I’m sorry Jack, Jasper and Trigger!