Monday, 21 November 2016

November 10 Questions

Quick update: Sorry for the blog silence, I've been busy with work, riding, visiting friends, having SO's family visit, and organizing a dressage clinic (more to come on that later). Thanks for all your suggestions on my last post about girths and half pads. I might not have much time to write for the next week either but hopefully I'll be back after that. 

Visiting friends meant driving across Alberta, for part of it I took the scenic route down
the Icefields Parkway - a beautiful highway in the Rocky Mountains through Jasper and
Banff National Parks - all these photos were taken along that route

In the meantime, here's some November questions courtesy of Viva Carlos:

The Athabasca Glacier, coming off the Columbia Icefield

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden?
I test rode a couple four year olds when horse-shopping. Six is the youngest horse I've ridden consistently though. 

How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden?
About 20. Ellie was 20 when I lost her. I think a number of lesson horses from my childhood were about that age too.

Some bighorn sheep licking the salt off the road (I assume)
Also don't worry, I was fully stopped when I took the photos

Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? 
Not excessively. However I've always been aware of my own mortality and how horses are big and powerful and so you need to be cautious. 

Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider?
More nervous. It's the number one thing that holds me back from being a better rider. For the most part my fear isn't irrational, I just always have the potential for injury in the back of my head. I was the same way as a rugby player. The fact that my parents both work in the medical field and have worked with patients who had head and spinal injuries from sports in general and riding in specific is a big contributor to that. It's understandable, but they always made a huge deal out of any falls instead of just telling me it was fine and that I should get back on the horse. I also work in a really safety conscious industry so I'm way too used to analyzing hazards and thinking of worst case scenarios. I have gotten much better about controlling my fear and not transferring it to my horse, but I still feel the fear.   

I made a couple stops to hike through the woods


Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses?
This isn't a big deal for me. I like introducing non-horsey friends to my horses. I get self conscious riding in front of non-horsey people though. They don't always understand about how riding is harder when you aren't on a made beginner-friendly lesson horse, so I feel like I have to explain why I'm only at ___ stage even though I've been riding for years. 

Found a hidden lookout point..

... for some quiet reflection and a foot selfie

A time you’ve been scared for your life? (horse related) 
I don't think I've ever been convinced that I was going to die, but see above for being constantly aware of my mortality when riding horses, especially when I notice a large rock or something on the ground that could cause damage to me if I landed on it. Also, getting bucked off and seeing hooves flying in your direction as you hit the ground is a sight that I've seen a couple times and would rather not again. 

Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened?
Yep. I used to attempt hunter/jumper classes with my old mare Ellie, back when we were both pretty green. Different coloured poles and fake flowers were an issue and there was one show where we had a lot of refusals. Pretty sure I fell off at least twice. That was about 15 years ago though. 

What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride? 
I haven't ridden all that many breeds. I also don't care all that much about breeds. Someday I'd like to ride a big draft horse like a Shire or Clydesdale just to experience it though. 

More snow at higher elevations. All these photos were from the same day,
but I drove through rain, snow, cloud, and sun.

Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? 
My last horse Ellie. I had her for 14 years and loved her dearly, but she was not an easy horse. She was an extremely hot anglo-arab who would refuse to trailer load and would spook, bolt and buck with regularity. She taught me a lot as a rider, I succeeded in doing a lot with her, and I learned how to read her and respond to her shenanigans, but I could still never completely know what I'd be in for in a given ride.  

Still warm enough that the lakes were clear - not everyday that it's
possible to take a photo of snow covered slopes surrounding blue water

The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had? 
After Ellie started bolting and bucking me off more frequently (back when I was 13 and she was 7), my confidence really took a hit. I remember one ride where I got bucked off, and I knew that I needed to get back on but I was terrified. My parents were the only ones out at the barn and they thought I should just call it a day. I knew that I had to do it though or it would be 10 times worse the next day. I was bawling while I tried to convince my parents to hold my horse and that she wasn't terrible, convince myself to get on, and convince Ellie to walk a few small circles so we could end on a good note. In hindsight maybe I didn't need to push myself quite that hard, but I did get back on, and I've never not gotten back on. 


  1. Beautiful photos! Absolutely stunning!

    1. Thanks! I took so many photos and each view was as spectacular as the last, it was hard to whittle down the choices haha

  2. Your pictures are so pretty! I would love to do that drive.

    1. I highly recommend it if you're even in Alberta. Just make sure you're properly prepared as there's about 300km with no gas, no services, and no cell network coverage. (My uncle didn't believe the sign about no services when he left Jasper with a 1/4 tank of gas and things could have ended badly if a nice stranger hadn't come along when he did)