I am a little late to the party on this one, but here I am, participating in a blog hop. This hop was started by Anna from the equestrian blog “Anxiety at A.”
In addition to reading Anna’s original post, I’ve read four other bloggers’ answers including BreedRideEvent, Fat Buckskin In A Little Suit, Moonlit Pastures: The Ramblings of an Adult Ammy Rider and The Everything Pony.
Did any other bloggers post their answers? Let me know if I’ve missed someone. And if you are a horse blogger who hasn’t participated yet, why don’t you consider giving the blog hop a try?
Leave a comment here with a link to your answers so I know that you gave it a go. And don’t forget to post a reply to Anna at Anxiety at A under her own blog hop post so she can read your answers too.
Each blogger, including me, has their individual preferences, opinions and blogging styles. Nevertheless, the delight we all clearly share in “everything equus” shines through the variations. Vive la différence.
Without further adieu, here’s my spin on “20 (very random) Questions:”
- What is one of your favorite brands specifically for your horse, and why?
Absorbine and Farnam are my go-to brands. Their products are widely available and reasonably priced (mostly).
- If you were given a gift card for a tack shop with unlimited funds, what would you buy first?
A lifetime supply of fly spray.
- What horse event/clinic do you really want to audit or participate in? (Events like Equine Affaire, or the LRK3DE, or even local events, etc)
Ride in a Buck Brannaman clinic.
- What is something your horse has taught you that you didn’t expect to learn?
I didn’t expect to learn how much my emotions, level of confidence and general thought process affect my horses. The longer I am around horses, the more I appreciate their biofeedback features. Although I admit that I don’t always like the feedback I receive.
- If you could take your horse anywhere, right now, to do anything, where would you go and what would you do?
I would go to the Bolender Horse Park in the State of Washington. I want to tackle their mountain trail course (or at least give it a good try). I love the puzzle involved in figuring out how to negotiate obstacles.
- What are your favorite colors to put on your horse? (think saddle pads, tack colors, browbands, etc.)
Based on horses I’ve had in the past, I like a vibrant red on a bay horse. Either earth tones or orange on a solid chestnut. Royal blue on a blue roan. Black or any shade of blue on a grey.
In my possession, I have mostly red and orange since those were the colors for my horses Bear (now retired) and Spice (now deceased). Of all the horses I’ve owned, I did the most activities with them, so I enjoyed color-coordinating outfits.
And here is a photo of Bear and me, riding in red in 2012, milling around at a local horse show.
Here is a photo of Spice and me in 2013 at a trail competition, decked out in orange, right down to the hoof boots.
With my currently ridden horses, Piper as a bay horse looks good in Bear’s red stuff. I’d love to get Shiloh some of his own earth-tone items to compliment his flashy chestnut and white coat, but I’ve been spending my money on other things. Maybe someday. For the last four years, Shiloh wears Bear’s old red stuff like Piper does.
- What is your least favorite equestrian brand?
Probably Manna-Pro. It’s not so much that I don’t like their products, it’s just that their prices seem too high for the quality of the product that I get. I usually find I can get an Absorbine or Farnam product that I like just as well for a better price.
- If you could change one thing about your discipline, what would it be?
You know, I don’t really have a discipline, but I do have several interests. At the moment, I am most interested in western dressage, working trail obstacles and in trail riding. I’m not in a training program or even part of a larger equestrian community within those categories. Claiming a particular discipline doesn’t fit for me.
All that said, I do like gaited horses. I know that’s not a discipline. And there’s certainly a wide variety of gaited breeds and styles of riding. But being a gaited horse owner does seem to put me in a kind of “checkmarkable” box.
So what is one thing I’d change about the gaited horse world? I’d like to see all gaited horses trained to canter under saddle. Traditionally, I think there was concern that training a gaited horse to canter would somehow ruin its gaiting abilities. That line of thinking seems to be drifting away, but I suspect it is still out there.
I know training a super lateral-going horse to canter can have its challenges, but it adds so much to the horse’s training. And I actually think more non-gaited horse people would give gaited horses a try if they knew the horse was trained to canter or lope like any other horse.
- Did you grow up in an ag/equestrian familiar family, or are you the first person in your family to step foot in a barn?
My Aunt introduced me to horses when my mom and I visited her when she lived in California (back in the 1970’s). I was five years old and instantly smitten with riding.
- Do you like the bit that is in your horse’s mouth currently or do you want to try a new one?
Shiloh goes best in a bitless bridle. I currently use the LG-Zaum German bridle attachment with a western bridle (show above). Shiloh was a sour, unhappy horse for me in a bit. I was pretty sure I caught him smiling after the first time I rode him in a bitless bridle. I started him off with a Dr. Cook’s Bitless Bridle, but tried the LG-Zaum out of curiosity. Shiloh went even better in the LG-Zaum so that’s what we use.
Piper, my newest horse, has been ridden by me in a Myler curb bit, a plain eggbutt snaffle and a Dr. Cook’s Bitless Bridle. For a while, I toggled back and forth between the snaffle and the bitless getup.
I think I’ve decided to stick with the snaffle for while, although I may try a different type of snaffle eventually. I think his tongue is rather thick, and I wonder if a thinner snaffle might be more comfortable for him to carry.
But I came to the conclusion that Piper felt a little lost in the Dr. Cook’s Bitless Bridle. Like maybe my communication with him was muddled. But I must say though that riding him in the bitless bridle really helped me to get him to stop curling behind the contact as much. He’ll still put his nose on his chest on a day he’s feeling particularly tense, but the overall improvement is really noticeable.
The photo on the left was taken October 2021 and the photo on the right was taken June 2022. I’m using the same eggbutt snaffle in both photos, but after using the bitless bridle for awhile, I’m less likely to see his head totally disappear in front of me now when I pick up on the contact in the snaffle.
It’s like I needed to ride him for a while in something that was the least restrictive piece of equipment I could in order to get him thinking about loosening up and stretching forward. He seemed to learn to trust my hands and rein contact more through the process of using the bitless bridle.
- If you could change one thing about your horse, what would it be?
That they were shorter. I just feel better physically matched to a mount that’s more pony height than horse height. Bear is large pony height, but Shiloh and Piper are both about 15 hands.
- What is one thing about horses you are weirdly obsessed with? (i.e wrapping techniques, footing, grooming, hair care, clippers, saddles, etc)
Hmmm. Not sure. Have to skip this one.
- What is the most advanced horse you have ever ridden, or what is the most advanced move for your discipline you have done?
I’ve ridden many lesson horses in various disciplines over the years. I’ve had the most lessons in Hunt Seat (including jumping) and Saddle seat. I’ve also had a handful of western lessons, dressage lessons and even driving lessons. All of the horses were more well-trained than I am. 🙂
As far as my own horses go, Bear is my most advanced horse. We learned to do all sorts of fun stuff together by attending multi-day clinics. And then incorporating those acquired skills into our riding at home, on the trails and at local shows over the years. Bear could bow down on one knee to be mounted, side pass, do turn on the forehand and hindquarters. And he had an awesome racking gait (quick and smooth). A lovely lope, too! I still very much miss riding him now that he is retired.
- What is your favorite type of reins?
Anything thick. My hands and wrists are often stiff and achy. Thin reins are my nemesis.
- What are you a diva/stickler about in terms of equipment quality? Hmmm. Not sure about this one either.
- What is your favorite barn hack you learned?
I’ve written several previous posts on my favorite barn hacks. I also have an entire “barn hack” Pinterest board. Check out the links below.
- What is your least favorite piece of equipment and why?
My least favorite is whatever I think my horse(s) dislike. It really bothers me if I think a horse is unhappy with something whether a particular bit, a fly mask, a brush, saddle, etc . . . I am happiest when I perceive my horse to be happy. And even if I don’t like a piece of equipment, I will often use it if I think my horse likes it.
- If your horse was a character from a Disney movie, who would they be?
Not sure about Disney characters. Can we go with Muppets instead?
I’d imagine Bear would be Kermit. Shiloh would be Rowlf The Dog. Piper would be Animal.
Piper is the odd man out here in my little herd. He has many good qualities, but his personality is a bit “much” for me at times. And he has bossy moments with Bear and Shiloh that I don’t particularly like. That’s why I picked the Animal character to describe Piper, even though he’s not THAT over the top. Piper has only been with me for just under a year. So how he fits into my backyard can change over time. I’m holding space for that to happen.
- If you could change one thing about the property you are at right now with your horses, what would it be?
I’d like it to have an indoor arena!
- What is the purchase that you regret in the horse world?
There was one time I thought I wanted to start regularly showing my son’s old barrel horse named Fate in hunt-seat classes. So I bought the best complete set of tack and show clothes I could. We practiced at home and even did a fully dressed show rehearsal.
Turns out though that Fate, when at the horse show, still very much expected to run barrels or poles. He got way over-excited in the warm-up ring. He was such a handful outside of the show ring that I didn’t actually get him IN the show ring. And I never tried again.
Our hunt-seat tack and my show outfit were later re-sold for pennies on the dollar. This was before the proliferation of online equestrian-resale websites. The entire endeavor was an embarrassing experience and a big waste of money. Not funny at the time. But I can laugh about it now (sort of!).