50 Riding Things

23 March 2009 Comments

I found this via Grey Horse Matters, and I’m always up for a meme (especially if I don’t have to pass it along, which I almost never do).

Fifty questions about riding, of which I’ll answer most…

1. How old were you when you first started riding?

In lessons, eight or nine I think. But I had been on a horse’s back once before, riding double behind a friend, and probably at my cousins’ place when we visited.

2. First horse ridden:

Either Smurf (cousins’ horse) or the horse I was riding double on.

3. First horse trotted on:

Same as above, probably. The first horse I remember trotting on was the evil Paddy P. More on him in a moment.

4. First horse cantered on:

Same as above, right down to Paddy P.

5. First Horse fallen off of:

Here’s the Paddy P story! What I remember: we were riding in a field instead of the arena, circling around a tree. Paddy took off on me and made a beeline for the gate. I don’t really remember what happened next, but I do remember lying on the ground and seeing his hooves above me. For years, I had this image of the great big beastie Paddy P who so viciously threw me off. And then one day my Mom handed me an envelope with some old pictures. This is the vicious, evil pony:

Want to bet that when he reached the gate, I slid off over his head and plopped on the ground, while he just stood there and waited for someone with sense to rescue us? I’m telling you—memory is a goofy thing.

6. Most recent horse fallen off of:

A dirty stopper. It was my own fault; I knew he was dirty stopper when I got on, and I trusted him anyway. He ducked out and tossed me; I was later told that it looked to the people watching that I had landed straight on my head, although I actually put my arm out. My arm plowed about a foot into the arena dirt, and I cracked all my knuckles on the right hand (they bent in the wrong direction…). I think I did hit my head and knock myself out for a moment, because the only thing I really remember is a bunch of people suddenly standing around me, very concerned.

I jumped after this fall without any problem (but not on this horse—I never rode this guy again, and had no interest in doing so), but when I stopped riding, this is the fall that became problematic, and the one I can’t get out of my head when I see a jump.

7. Most terrifying fall:

In the long run, the one above. It’s really screwed with my mind. But the Super Saint and I came down in the warm-up ring once, and I was absolutely terrified that he was permanently injured. He jogged sound and we went into our class, but I am not sure there is anything more terrifying than looking over at your horse flat out on the ground and knowing you caused that to happen.

8. First horse jumped with:

Probably a little cremelo named, so appropriately, Creme.

9. First horse who ran away with you:

Paddy P! But the Super Saint liked to run away with me if I took him on the trails, too.

10. First horse that scared the crap out of you:

I feel like a broken record…

11. First horse shown :

A gray part Arab (I think) mare. She would kick anything that got close to her at home, but was a rock at shows. It was an amazing experience for a novice rider, because I knew we’d get in and out of the ring just fine.

12. First horse to win a class with:

Same mare! We cleaned up. I was a little disappointed when I showed the Super Saint for the first time the next year, I admit, and realized life was not all blue ribbons…

13. Do you/have you taken lessons:

Always. I always want to know more, and I admit to being a bit competitive. I have my eye on the USEF bronze medal.

14. First horse you ever rode bareback:

A little pony in Wales, named Sam:

We were staying at a B&B, and the owner kindly let me wander around the fields with him, and even took me out for a longer hack one day. In return, I cleaned all her tack that I could find.

15. First horse trail ridden with:

I don’t remember; I first took lessons in England, and it was actually really common for us to hack out on the roads or trails.

16. Current Barn name:

Now that would be telling!

17. Do you ride English or western?


18. First Horse to place at a show with:

The gray mare

19. Ever been to horse camp?

Er… no. Some of the barns I’ve been at have had camps, and I’ve helped herd kids around, but was never a participant.

20. Ever been to a riding clinic?

Yes. The show barn I was at had them frequently, and I attended as many as I could.

21. Ridden sidesaddle?

Not intentionally…

22. First horse leased:

The gray mare

23. Last Horse Leased:

Rogue, up until a month or so ago

24. Highest ribbon in a show:

This was, I think, the same show that the Super Saint and I crashed down in. We’d lost our mini-medal class, I’d lost the year-end Children’s champion due to some brain fart moment in a round, and all this was going on in front of a judge who thought my horse was just the bee’s knees. So on the last day, we did our dressage test but I was pretty disheartened and never did go look at my scores. Instead, I put the Super Saint up and helped get horses on the trailer for the ride home or take down whatever part of the barn decorations we could. It came down to the second to last trailer load, with everyone from our barn gone already. My trainer strictly told me to go to the awards tent to pick up any awards for our barn. I went, feeling miserable.

My trainer comes back, and I’m sitting on a tack trunk with a trophy half as tall I was, a medal around my neck, and a championship ribbon. Super Saint and I had taken champion for our level and the high point award in dressage. I was a heck of a lot happier on the ride home than I’d expected to be!

25. Ever been to an ‘A’ rated show?

Spectated, yes. I don’t remember if the shows I was in as a teen were A rated or not; it was the only circuit we had in any case.

26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races?

Not really.

27. Ever fallen off at a show:

A couple times. In the worst one, both the Super Saint and I went down, although we both got up just fine.

28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers?

I did. A part of me wants to do so again.

29. Have you ever barrel raced?

We used to use the pattern to practice tight turns in the winter, so we didn’t have to jump our horses all the time. But we weren’t racing madly through the pattern.

30. Ever done pole bending?


31. Favorite gait:


32. Ever cantered bareback?

No. I haven’t ridden much bareback. The Super Saint had shark withers, and when I rode the Schoolmeister bareback, it was always walk/trot because I was learning how to truely put together an upper-level horse.

33. Have you ever done dressage?

I’d like to think so, but the judges may have been humoring me…

34. Have you ever evented?

No, but I want to very deep down in places I pretend not to know about.

35. Have you ever mucked a stall?

It’s how I helped pay for the Super Saint.

36. Ever been bucked off?

Not maliciously, but I’ve come off once or twice when a horse was a little exuberant after a fence, until I learned to stick with it.

37. Ever been on a horse that reared:

Yes. I won’t ride a known rearer, though.

38. Horses or ponies:


39. Do you wear a helmet?

Every time.

40. What’s the highest you’ve jumped:

4’9”, I think, but only as a single. The trainer just kept putting the fence up. I have jumped a 3’9” course (badly!) when I was supposed to be jumping 3’3” and there was miscommunication with the clinician.

41. Have you ever ridden at night?

Frequently, although always in arenas.

42. Do you watch horsey television shows?

If I come across them while they’re on. I don’t pay much attention to what’s on TV.

43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall?

Only mentally.

44. Most falls in one lesson:

Ten or twelve? The Super Saint had a rounder jump than I was used to, so when I first started jumping him, I couldn’t stick with him. And I thought it was hilarious that I fell off after every jump. My trainer got sick of it and made me keep jumping until I stopped thinking it was funny and found a way to stay on. We didn’t have a problem after that.

45. Do you ride in an arena/ring?

I am an arena flower, I’m afraid.

46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse?


47. Have you ever been bitten?

Hasn’t everyone?

48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse?

Hasn’t everyone?

49: Favorite riding moment:

Walking out of the ring after a successful Second Level test on the Super Saint. There’s all sorts of history there. I don’t even remember what our ribbon was, or the score… it was just the feeling of coming out of the ring, looking at my trainer, and knowing the Super Saint and I had just done absolutely the best we could have done.

50. Most fun horse you’ve ridden:

The Project Pony. It didn’t matter if we were basket cases together, one of us was playing therapist for the other, or we were both right on our games—we always ended the lesson well, and I never had to worry that she’d do anything stupid. I still don’t believe the amount of trust I had in the little redhead.

Tagged: Horse Shows, Horses, Horses - Creme, Horses - Paddy P, Horses - Project Pony, Horses - Rogue, Horses - Schoolmeister, Horses - Shara, Horses - Smurf, Horses - Super Saint, Riding, Riding - Barrel Racing, Riding - Clinics, Riding - Dressage, Riding - Jumping, Riding - Lessons, Riding - Trail Riding, United Kingdom, United Kingdom - England, United Kingdom - Wales, United States, United States - Alaska


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