21: horse: I don’t even know where to start! I bought her because I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving her behind. She’s quirky and has a sense of humor (the other day she decided she shouldn’t have to go into her stall because she wanted to graze more). She’s incredibly kind— during this whole injury/rehab nonsense, she’s been bursting with energy but you can practically see the wheels turning as she tries to keep it together…she cracks me up with her just-so-you-know-I’m-not-happy-with-this grunting when she’s fresh and wants to go. She could canter all day and even after not riding it for 10 months I still remember exactly how her canter feels, because it feels like home. She’s a wonderful mom and herd boss. She’s not the bravest horse out there but she tries for me. She doesn’t necessarily have the best sense of self-preservation (see: galloping around the pasture when she’s supposed to be on rest). She makes the most hilarious grunt-nicker when it’s feeding time. She loves having the edges of her ears scratched. I could go on… She’s a keeper. 22: barn: The barn where Pearl is at is very home-y. It’s just her, the owners’ daughter’s old man, and her young horse as well for the winter. The family that owns it has been so kind to me and they treat P as if she was their own. Literally the only downside is that there isn’t an indoor. The barn where I had her until she got hurt/where I still ride other horses is…interesting. Pretty much everyone is there for my trainer, and we’re at that place because we have champagne taste and a store-brand pop budget. It’s not very well maintained or managed but the boarders have formed a very close-knit community. 23: instructor: Best trainer I’ve ever had. She makes me want to cry with her kindness and dedication. She’s the kind of person who will kick your ass in a lesson, and then afterwards we can go out for pizza and talk about boys or project horses or sketchy barns we learned to ride at. She knows how to tailor her instruction to any level of rider, so that you walk away from a lesson feeling the right amount of “wow, that was hard” and “I can’t wait to work on this new thing.” She’s brought her horses from the track to schooling ~4th level all on her own. I wish I could afford to sponsor her at shows and get her name out there, because she deserves to be known. When I started riding with her a year ago I’d pretty much cried in every dressage lesson I’d taken previously, and now I feel like with a week of tuneup I could step out and show first level no problem. She doesn’t know how much finding her saved me at a very difficult point in my life.
7: sweet or spirited: I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive…I got insanely lucky in Pearl, who is definitely both! I’d prioritize having a horse who’s a “spirited” ride (forward with a spark, in my mind) over one who’s cuddly on the ground though.
8: black or brown tack: I’m a hunter princess at heart, so brown. I love brown dressage tack, too.
5: bareback or bridleless: Bareback…I love The Squirrel and all, but somehow I don’t know that I’d like to turn her loose where she might “forget” she has brakes
10: short mane or long mane: Short on sporthorses; long on gaited horses or reiners.
15: ridden a 13hh pony (or smaller): One time at Crazy Lesson Barn this girl was riding a not-for-much-longer teeny weeny school pony named Skittles and I was wearing my pajamas (they had pockets so I felt entitled to wear them as pants…I was like 17 OK) volunteering for hippotherapy and the girl’s dad was like “here, why don’t you get on!” and I have no idea how I didn’t get in trouble because I didn’t have ~explicit permission~ from her highness BO’s daughter and it was possibly the sketchiest thing ever but yes.
20: been bucked off: Hey remember that time when I fell off in the field 4 times?
25: describe your equestrian life: It’s been a long and bumpy road but I’ve ended up insanely lucky. My horse is broken but very happy with her living situation. I get to ride a lot of other people’s horses and I count my blessings for that every day. Fingers crossed there might also be some changes afoot with Trainer C’s situation in the not-horribly-distant future….
30: how long have you been riding: First annual nose-to-tail trail ride at 8, first summer of horse camp at 10, started weekly-ish lessons at 13 so that’s where I count from = 11 years.