I have been following the blog Viva Carlos for a while now and the author is pretty well known in the horse blog circuit for coming up with awesome questions for a particular month. And she posted some for August! So thank you to L from Viva Carlos for these questions (they are awesome) and readers, go and check out her blog!
1. What is your biggest source of caffeine that gets you through the day? (drink, not just brand)
Black tea. I can only handle coffee is it is 1/3 coffee, 1/3 soymilk, and 1/3 sugar (because I hate the bitterness).
2. Do you honestly think your trainer is the best trainer for you?
I really don't know the answer to this question because I have only had two trainers and with one of them there was a language barrier, so I think my current trainer is amazing. That being said, I also have fewer options based on where I live and I think that my trainer's philosophy best matches mine out of all of the trainers in this area. I don't think that I will be with my current trainer for the rest of my life, but I'm really happy to have her.
3. One token of advice a fellow rider/trainer/horse person told you that you still remember to this day.
"If you are not the boss, then the horse is." I'm not mean to horses ever, but I am strict and I expect them to behave themselves around me. I have seen many riders allow bad behaviors from their horses that later turned into dangerous habits, so this piece of advice is hopefully saving me from that.
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?
I wouldn't ride if it hurt my family financially. That being said I can't imagine being in a situation where I wouldn't be able to ride because I am always willing to work of lessons and board. When I got Casey I made sure that I could support all of my own basic needs and my horses's needs on my own salary so that when my partner graduates he won't have to support my horsie habit. I think that it is only fair that I pay for it myself. As far as family being unsupportive, I think that at some point there is a boundary where it is ok to do things for yourself and others shouldn't be able to stop you from doing the thing you love. Luckily, I don't have to worry about this because my family is supportive.
5. (Girls) would you ride while pregnant?
I will not be pregnant for the foreseeable future so I haven't thought too much about this, but I think that I would still ride while pregnant if my doctor said it was safe. I would tone it down though. I probably wouldn't jump or do anything too crazy. If my doctor told me to stop riding then I would still go out and hang out with Casey.
6. How do you tell when a horse likes someone/has bonded with you or someone else?
It does depend upon the horse. Some horses are really cuddly and affectionate, others will play with you, and for some just not trying to kill you shows a bond. I could tell that Casey liked me when she would walk over to me in the arena after I free lunged her. I think one of the most consistent signs that a horse likes you is if they are comfortable around you and aren't nervous when you do new things.
7. Are horses capable of loving, in your opinion?
I think that horses are capable of loving in their own way. I think that they love their herd (although sometimes in the way of bickering siblings). Humans can become a part of their herd too and when that happens they love that human. My reason for believing this is that I have seen horses with really strong attachments to each other or to people. For instance, there are two mares at my barn, Faith and Bella, who live right next to each other and 100% love each other. When one of them leaves the other will neigh until they return. If that is not love, then I don't know what is.
8. If you could have one horse from your past come back for 5 minutes, who would it be, why, and what would you do with them in those 5 minutes?
In Paraguay, I rode a horse named Cleopatra. She had a really unfortunate end to her life. She was sent to the Chaco (prairie) for a rest (this was a common thing for the show horses) and while she was out there she was shot by some people and eaten. Now this sounds really morbid, but Paraguay is a poor country and so it was probably a poor family who needed food. Even though it broke my heart, I can understand that. BUT I would love to get the chance to say goodbye to her, because I didn't get to.
9. Should a trainer also be a friend, or should it be a student/teacher relationship?
I think that primarily it should be a student/teacher relationship, because sometimes friends are afraid to be critical of each other, but a trainer needs to give you criticism to help you get better. That being said, I am also friends with my trainer and I am also her employee. And we have had no problems with this fluctuating relationship because we are always kind and professional with each other.
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?
My trainer in Paraguay tried (a few times actually) to put me on a mare who absolutely refused to move forward. He told me that I just wasn't being strict enough with her and that I should force her to move. Now that I know a lot more, I think that this mare probably had pain and trying to move faster probably hurt. I could be wrong and I'll never find out for sure, but my experience since is that horses generally do try and if they are not trying that is a sign that something is wrong.
This was really fun and I hope to answer another set of questions next month!