30 Things About Me

May as Well Event started a blog post about 30 things about her. I thought that it was such a good idea that I decided to follow suit. I always find it interesting to learn new odds and ends about people. So, without further ado, here are 30 things about me:

1) The first horse I rode was an older chestnut appendix mare named Bellatrix.


2) I am currently going to college to complete a 2 year diploma in Sport Science (it’s a lot of biology, biomechanics, psychology in relation to sport, and general sport culture/ sociology). This counts as half of a bachelor degree.

3) I’ll be transferring to a university next year to get a bachelor in kinesiology. This will be an additional 2 years of schooling.

4) After I get my bachelor of kinesiology, my current long term goal is to go to chiropractic school and become certified. I’ve always been interested in chiropractics, so this really would be a dream job for me.

5) My favorite subject in school is creative writing, with biology coming a close second. I’m not at all interested in botany or any type of plant biology, I never have been, but I am utterly fascinated in the anatomy and physiology of animals, humans included.

6) When I was young (or, younger) I was terrified and completely petrified of any mention of human anatomy, especially bones. Just the very mention of anything to do with a human body would turn me into a squeaking puddle of horror. Now, bones and muscles are my favorite part of biology.

This image would have had me screaming in a corner when I was a kid

7) Eight years ago I leased an appaloosa gelding for a year. He was a hot firecracker who barely had any breaks. Going forward was his strong point, but stopping wasn’t.

Quest and me with the ribbons we won together

8) I have never broken any bones. With all the stupid things I’ve done through my life, it’s kind of surprising that I haven’t broken anything.

9) I have scoliosis. Some of the vertebrae in my lumbar spine are wedge shaped, giving me a spinal curvature, and annoyingly uneven hips and shoulders. This makes it nearly impossible for me to sit level, adding an extra challenge to riding.

10) I want to go as far as I possible can in dressage. Whether that be Prix St. George or Grand Prix, as long as I put in all of my effort, I’ll be happy.

11) I’ve fallen off of Hope more than I have with any other horse I’ve ridden.

12) I have been rudely deposited on the ground by Hope twice while at a show. Both times was when we were doing jumpers. Once was in the warm-up ring, and once was in the actual competition ring, with a horrifying amount of spectators.

Me not falling off at a show

13) Despite jumpers being supposedly more “exciting” than dressage, I always found it boring. This is not to say that I was so proficient at it that I didn’t feel challenged, in fact, I royally floundered in that particular discipline. It just didn’t excite me.

Look Ma! No hands!

14) I am the youngest of five siblings.

15) My favorite food is cheese, and no, I don’t see a problem with this.

16) My favorite type of cuisine is Indian. I could eat curry everyday and not get sick of it.

17) I’ve always wanted to live in Prince Edward Island. I attribute my fascination with the place due to the Anne of Green Gables books.

I could definitely live here. Photo retrieved from John Sylvester Photography

18) I used to play the piano, not very well, but I could play it. I stopped a couple of years ago when I started college, I just didn’t have the time anymore. At my first piano recital I was awarded the Most Outstanding Student.

19) For some strange reason, I love making up potential names for future horses. My favorite that I have come up with so far is the barn name as “Allele” (which is a segment of a gene, here is my biology geekiness coming through) and the show name as “Perfect Combination” (Get it? This horse has the perfect mixture of genes!).

20) I have never traveled outside of Canada. I’ve only been on an airplane twice, and that was only to the neighboring province of Alberta for a weekend.

21) I am weirdly talented in my ability to cross stitch. I love making up patterns and spending hours stitching away.

Max and Aeras immobilized in cross stitch

22) I am also a self taught crocheter. I don’t make any super complicated things, mostly just scarves, toques, and ear bonnets for Hope.

23) I was in Girl Scouts for a couple of years as a Brownie (why do they have to come up with such absurd names for the different age groups?). This was definitely not something that I loved. Camping and getting rained on in the woods is not something that I particularly relish.

24) I did Highland dancing for a few years as a kid. I really loved it, and sort of wish that I hadn’t stopped. If I had the opportunity, I would like to start up again.

25) I was home schooled all the way up to college. I never once stepped foot in a school throughout my entire childhood.

26) My sister was a dairy goat breeder for years, and at one point we had over 30 goats! I now thoroughly despise goats with a vengeance. I don’t care how cute they look, after one has lived with them for so many years, you can’t help but be driven insane by them.

27) For as long as I can remember, I’ve had rabbits. Mostly I have had Rex rabbits, but I’ve also had French lops and my current rabbit is a Netherland Dwarf cross Rex.

Frodo, my current rabbit

28) I’ve owned one cat who I got when I was around 5, and named her Pouf. As far as strange names that children give their pets, I suppose that “Pouf” was more on the creative side.

Pouf, her one bent ear gave her a lot of character

29) I am a Christian. I always have been, and even though most of my siblings are no longer religious I have been steadfast.

30) There is one song that basically sums up my life:

I might have no idea what I am doing, but I’m pretty good at making it look like I do, and if I don’t, I can always just make it up.




Fingers Crossed

Animals always seem to find ways to make us humans spend money on them, and horses are certainly no exception to this. Hope had been feeling a little stiffer than normal over the past few weeks, just not quite right. She wasn’t lame, but she wasn’t one-hundred percent either. For a while I was thinking that the colder weather was just making her a little more stiff, but in previous winters she hasn’t felt this stiff before. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t the start of a more severe issue, so I opted to have the vet out to look her over. Because she will be 20 this year, I want to do everything possible to keep her comfortable and to prevent any problems before they blowup and turn into something serious.

At previous vet visits/ evaluations the vet has always just given her a shot of Legend, and that seemed to do the trick for a few months. Her last shot of Legend, however, only seemed to last for about a week. I realized that it was time to look into the next step up in joint care.

The vet came out and we did all the normal flexions, nothing really showed up. She didn’t come up lame, but she also wasn’t completely normal. I rode her for the vet, rather than lunging her, as she has a tendency to charge about like a lunatic on the lunge, which makes evaluating her movement nearly impossible. Nothing was super obvious, but the vet had an inkling that her right hock was bothering her.

Since her right hind fetlock showed some minor arthritis last year when I had her x-rayed, we decided to start nerve blocking there. Immediately after, I noticed a big difference with how she was moving. She was pushing off equally with both hinds (normally her right is a little less powerful) and was very willing to do everything I asked. She still wasn’t perfect, however. I could still feel that there was something else there.

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X-ray of Hope’s right hind fetlock

The vet thought that it still looked like her right hock was the problem, and he suggested that, rather than blocking it, we just go ahead and inject it as well as her right hind fetlock.

It seemed like a good treatment plan. Even if these joints aren’t the main ones causing problems, I’m sure, at Hope’s age, they could still benefit from being injected. She got a hyaluronic acid and steroid compound in both her right fetlock and hock.


After a few days of turnout and no riding, I was able to do a light ride on Saturday. I honestly couldn’t believe the difference I felt. It was almost like I was riding a different horse! She was so much softer and more willing to do everything I asked. I was grinning like an idiot the entire ride, she just felt so good.


When I rode her on Sunday it was -5 Celsius and horrendously windy, making it feel significantly colder than it actually was. It was the type of freezing wind that, no matter how many layers you wear, you can still feel buffeting and sucking the warmth out of you.

Hope didn’t feel quite as good. She was a little more stiff, and slightly less cooperative. She was still better than she was before the injections, but not nearly as good as she was on Saturday. I’m blaming it on the frigid temperatures. The vet did say that some horses take around two weeks after the injections before they fully take affect, so I have my fingers crossed that it will just be a few more days before she feels one-hundred percent. Hopefully we don’t need the vet to come out again to inject another joint, but with how improved Hope was on Saturday, I don’t believe that will be the case.

Blog Hop – Three Words

3Day Adventures with Horses started a blog hop about which three words best describe your horse. Hope has a particularly rich and changeable personality, and I’m sure that I could find more than three word to describe her, but perhaps the words that best portray her are these:


Indeed, she is a princess. Everything, from the way her grain is made to the way her coat is put on, has to be done a certain way. She certainly thinks that she is related to royalty, and should thus be treated as such. If her beet pulp isn’t made the way she likes it – not too wet, not too dry, with just enough water so that my fingers get wet if I run them through it – then she won’t eat it. She’ll give the death glare to anyone who flings her blanket on her too vigorously, or is too gruff with doing up the straps. She has about ten different blankets to wear for different weather conditions, and an entire grooming tote (separate from her brush box) dedicated to sprays and various lotions and potions. She’s a princess, and I love her for it.

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Perhaps it’s just that she’s a mare, or maybe it’s just how she is, but she has always been extremely opinionated. She always needs to voice her opinion and have her say, whether that’s by loudly grumbling when asked for a difficult movement (I kid you not, she literally grumbles during a ride), or being a little more dramatic by crow-hopping or kicking out if use my spur more than she thinks I should have. She never does anything in silence. She has an opinion, and she thinks everyone should know about it.

I do appreciate her honesty in her feelings though, she never hides anything. I always know what she’s feeling, or what she thinks about something or someone (seriously, if she doesn’t like someone she visibly snubs them).

Hope’s opinion of having her picture taken


What she is above everything else though, is kind. She is one of the kindest horses I have ever met. Although she can be opinionated, and threaten to do something naughty, it’s really just a front she puts on. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. If she knows her rider is capable, she’ll test them and pretend to ignore them, but as soon as that same rider accidentally comes unbalanced (if she intentionally tried to unbalance you then she doesn’t care) she’ll stop, or at least slow down until the rider has regained balance.

She pretends to be tough and aloof, but she’s really just a big softy that loves rubs and treats. She’d never intentionally hurt someone (or, not without a good reason), and even though she might take a dislike towards some people, she will still be nice to them (but she has at times hurt people’s feelings by ignoring their attempts to make friends with her. Soo… she’s selectively nice?).

I love Hope just the way she is. Of course, at times I wish she was a little less opinionated, especially in the show ring, but I know that she is making me a better rider. By challenging me, she teaches me. She never challenges me more she thinks I can handle, but continues to push my abilities just enough to help me to grow. She really is a fantastic teacher, and I’m honored to be able to call her mine.


A Sweet Valentines

Valentine’s day has never been a big to-do for me or my family. My parents never made a big deal of it, and as far as I can remember, they never made it a special night out for just them. Instead, it’s always more of a family day. Some years we’ll do take-out, or maybe just make a nice dinner. Sometimes we hang out and play board games, sometimes we watch a movie. There are always tasty desert things, of course. Pink frosted sugar cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries, with a bowl of cinnamon hearts that inevitably end up lasting for over a month.

Aeras’ almost-heart marking on his neck.

With valentine’s day focusing on the loved ones in one’s life, I always take a moment to think of my horses (and my puppy, too!). They have always been there for me, and I’m not just saying that because they literally cannot not be there for me, being handily contained in paddocks. I’ve always felt more kinship towards my sweet animals then I have towards people, as I suspect many others have felt as well. They are, at the risk of sounding cliché, the ‘love of my life’. For all of their sometimes annoying quirks, and for the occasional heartbreak that they cause, I wouldn’t for a moment ever consider my life without them.

In a way, they sound quite like another type of relationship that us humans like to entangle ourselves in. We love them, and although they may at times cause us pain, we can’t help but ask the question, “will you be my valentine?”


Obedience class – first series finished

Last weekend Ayla finished her last class of the beginner obedience classes. After five weeks of classes, we’re finished our first step towards obedience training. Ayla was very good in all of the classes, however, at the start she would get distracted easily, and normally needed some time to just sit and take in her surroundings before she was able to concentrate. She never did anything bad, she just sat there, sniffing, and completely ignoring my attempts to regain her attention. While the others dogs bounced around, whining and barking, she simply sat, just taking everything in.

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After she had some time to absorb her surroundings, and sniff everything that there was to sniff, she focused on me and gave me some really nice work. Every class it took a little less time before she was able to concentrate on what I asked her to do.

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Chilling is what she does best

Through the classes, she learned how to make eye contact, touch (putting front paws on an object), place (going to a specific place and staying there), and reinforcing the commands she already knew, leave it, sit, down, and come.

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Ayla’s face after I fed her a new treat – she did not appreciate it

The last obedience class was the first time where Ayla did not take any time to sniff and observe everything around her. As soon as we got to the class, she was focused on me and willing to work, which is a huge improvement from her little distracted brain at our first class.

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Complete focus

I won’t be starting the next round of classes with her for a few weeks, as she is getting spayed next week, and I want to give her a while off until she is completely healed.

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She’s getting so big!

I’m so pleased with how she is improving in the classes and her training, and I’m looking forward to continuing classes with her. I can’t wait to see more progress in her training, and with getting to learn even more commands.

Coaches: The More the Merrier

I am a bit odd in the fact that I have two coaches for dressage (okay, there are other things that make me odd, but I’ll just stick to this one for now). I switched to a dressage coach in 2016, after I had been riding Hope for a while and started to get more serious about dressage.

I started with this coach because I had known him for a couple of years prior to taking lessons with him. I met him through carriage driving, actually. His supportive and teasing style was endearing, and I felt that he would be a good fit for me.

As a retired high school math teacher, he urges that every figure made in the dressage arena has to be of perfect geometry. Rarely do I get a comment on a test sheet at a show saying that my circle is too big or too small anymore.

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His extensive experience in practically every discipline of riding gives him a rare knowledge and insight into the realm of equestrianism. His gentle technique and ever genuine encouragement and praise helps me to flourish; it’s a style I have never had before. He is ecstatic with the smallest improvement, and wowed by anything even remotely impressive. During any decent extended trot, he eagerly calls out “Yeah, yeah! Yeah, yeah!”, and any movement done splendidly inevitably results in a “wow!”.

With every lesson, he is sure to recount one of his many personal stories, upon occasion, retelling a select few of his favorites, but I don’t mind. No one could. His stories are so full of entertaining details about his very full life that they always remain interesting. He is the type of person one can’t help but like. He is able to laugh at himself, and is able to make others laugh even in the most exasperating circumstances. Which in dressage, is a very wonderful talent indeed!

I started with my second coach only last year. I started with her as a working student in exchange for lessons, and although I no longer work for her due to school consuming too much of my time, I’ve still continued with lessons.

She shows her horse at almost all of the nearby shows, which certainly makes it handy for me, knowing that she will always be there to coach me before my test.

Her humorous teaching style is always sure to bring a smile to my lips during every lesson. She frequently explains things in such a way that they aren’t meant to be taken literally, and then says to not actually do it. “Turn up centerline and come out in halfpass. Ride as if you’re going to go right through the wall! But don’t actually do that.”

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Both of my coaches have pretty much the same style of teaching. They are both classically focused, and tend towards more of a French riding style. They both word and explain concepts differently though, which I find helpful to get things to stick in my memory more. As an added bonus of having two coaches, whenever one is away, I’m not left destitute for lessons.

Just this week, in fact, my first coach is down in the US teaching and judging for the next couple of weeks.

I love having two coaches to fall back on, and to be able to learn different techniques on a regular basis. I’m very fortunate in that both of my coaches know and respect each other, and are completely okay with me taking lessons from other people. In fact, they encourage it. I’ve been in other coaching situations where my coach would never let me take lessons with someone else. Which is stupid. We’re all here to learn, and no single person has all the answers.




The most beloved critters in my life, the most beloved anything in my life, is without a doubt my animals.


They are my solace in a troubled world, and the love that always comforts me. They have been my past, they are my present, and they will continue to be my future.

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I couldn’t imagine my life without them, nor would I want to.