Sunshine Award

Better late than never, right?

Thanks to Karen over at Bakersfield Dressage, Guinness on Tap was nominated for the Sunshine Award! This award is for those who "positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere." Since Karen regularly inspires me to keep working on progressing Pig through her write ups of her own training progress with Speedy and Sydney, I'm completely thrilled that she considered me for this award.

Now, according to the award rules, those nominated are supposed to:
• Thank those who nominated them (Thanks, Karen!!)
• Nominate 10 other bloggers
• Answer the ten questions below
• Post the Sunshine Award button to her blog
Who to nominate?
-- Well, I'm a little late to the party so most everyone has been nominated already. But, here's a list of my favorite reads that you should totally check out.
Dressage Different (Just read this article and tell me that you aren't hooked. She sure makes me think!)
Greybrook Eventing (her photos of Oxford are making me swoon!)
Contact (Karen's awesome, and her lovely all-round all-star Hampton is pretty rockin' too)
Princess Diva Diaries (Kelly's an old Indiana show friend, and now that she's in KY she and Diva up to even more adventures!)
Bakersfield Dressage (Of course! No one is more thorough with their dressage journals than Karen. And just look at how clean she keeps her white horse. I'm impressed, seriously.)
The Reeling (Andrea is up to new adventures with two fabulously talented mares. Love her!)

Now on to the questions!

Mares or Geldings? I don't have a preference. I've worked with mares, geldings and stallions and I find them all to be pretty unique. Honestly, I am more picky about a horses' personality and level of "try" than their sex. After all, my gelding is much moodier than most of the mares in the barn. You never can really judge!

English or Western? I'm 100% an English rider. I've never been drawn to Western riding or culture, and I even find the saddles uncomfortable. That said, cutting is easily one of the coolest sports out there. I absolutely am positive that I would fall right off if I tried to do that!

Do you prefer "younger" or "older" horses? I prefer a horse that's been started and is through most of it's "terrible twos." As most of my good friends know, I'm not much for babies. That includes baby people, baby dogs, baby cats, AND baby horses. I just prefer a touch of adult rationalism, what can I say? Kudos to those of you willing to put up with a youngster's shenanigans. Someone has to do it (and it won't be me)!

Do you prefer riding or groundwork? I prefer riding. That said, I do think groundwork has it's place. It's essential for establishing a trusting relationship with your horse, and for teaching manners and basics. However, given a chance? Riding all the way!

Have you trained a horse from ground zero? Nope, unless starting over counts! I've taken a handful of horses back to step one, but I've never actually started a completely green horse before. That's totally okay with me. I don't mind taking the ones with most of the initial kinks worked out!

Do you board your horse or keep it at home? I've always boarded my horse, though I would love to keep my horses at home someday. That said, some of my boarding situations have been more of a self-care places, and I love putting in all the work for Pig. The facility maintenance is a whole lot to keep up on, though. Right now, it's so much nicer to be able to take a broken fence board or sticky gate to the barn owner to fix, than trying to schedule that in!

Do you do all natural stuff or just commercial stuff? I do whatever is the most economical. Have you ever put a spouse through medical school? While I'd like to stay away from some of the carcinogens present in some horse stuff, a lot of it really doesn't work as well. Organic fly spray? Ha! Anything but Keratex for hardening hooves? DOUBLE HA! Oh well, my husband is thinking about oncology anyway, right? (Doctor's humor is dark. Really dark. Honestly, it's like we're joking in a closet during a power outage...)

All tacked up or bareback? BOTH! I absolutely LOVE training my horse and nitpicking my position, but sometimes nothing can beat an old fashioned bareback ride. Plus, there's just something about riding bareback with friends that turns you into a giggle factory. It's a great stress reliever.

Equestrian model? Oh boy. I actually have two, and neither are from the dressage world. First of all, I really respect William Fox-Pitt. His riding is all about impeccable balance, timing and horsemanship. I think striving to be half the horse person that he is can get me to a pretty good place. Just read up on the clinic he's doing right now (thanks in part to the amazing Kelly of Dressage Pony, another great blog to check out!). Second, I look up to Allison Springer, a lot. Her perseverance with her old 4* partner Arthur is something I love. He's a difficult horse, but her belief in their partnership and his abilities has really worked out. I can't wait to see what's in store for this pair next year; I get the feeling that she is aiming high. I also really like Allison because of  her amazing flatwork. I feel like she and I have a similar build, and so I like watch how she rides to see how her position affects her horse and her balance. She's incredibly effective on the flat!
Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Eventing Nation
What's your one main goal while being in the horse world? This is an interesting question. I'd have to say that my one main goal is to be competitive at the FEI levels someday. (Cue nervous breath holding) I'm not saying that I want to be an Olympic rider (let's be realistic here, kids), but I want to be able to put in a solid score and compete at the local or regional level.  Moreover, I'd like to be able to compete at Grand Prix, and know how to train a horse to it. Eventually, I'd like to feel confident in the ability to take a horse from Training level to FEI.

Wow. Big goals coming out here, guys. I don't know if I've ever publicly admitted those goals, and they are kind of scary to think about (especially as I look at video of my riding from the other day. Yetch!) What do you guys think? Do I have any goals or role models in common with any of you?


  1. I love Allison and Arthur, too! Such an elegant pair and I really enjoy watching her ride. Thanks for the shout-out, too! :)

  2. Aw, thanks, Austen! I LOVE reading what you write and just wish you'd do it more often. You inspire ME! :0) I love your ideas and am always looking for any new perspective that will help improve my own riding.

    1. Updates on training are certainly on their way :)

  3. *whispers* I wanna compete at Grand Prix level as well. Again, not as an Olympian, but to be able to ride Grand Prix tests and get a decent score. I would also like to know how to train from training level to Grand Prix, as for me, training a horse is the fun part. : ) Big goals, but I'm never going to stop chasing them.

    bonita of A Riding Habit

    1. Good for you! It's a pretty intimidating thing to say, isn't it?


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