Warmest thank you to Suzie at The Diary of A Young Horse at http://diaryofayounghorse.blogspot.co.uk/ for nominating me to this blogosphere’s award.
I started blogging in 2007 by setting up a diary for my freelancing pursuits. It became a very genuine, honest account of a not always straight forward journey to a place I wanted to be at. I decided to stop publishing that blog in 2012 (more on this later) and set up one that was less about just me and more about everything grassroots equestrian sport related.
That’s how this blog came to life as part of my Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy. In its current form it’s only a baby (not even two months old!) and with it I am learning to use a different blogging platform (have previously used blogger and an integrated version of wordpress on Aspire’s site).
I appreciate every single person who reads and leaves comments on here. I am old enough to remember the world without Internet and as a knowledge greedy person I am incredibly grateful for an opportunity to write, read and chat so freely about things I am passionate about.
Ok, here we go with the Award!
Here are the rules of Liebster Award:
Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
List 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions given to you.
Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
Go to each blogger’s page and let them know you have nominated them.
Here are Suzie’s questions and my answers to them:
1. If you could be one rider for a day, who would you be?
Pénélope Leprevost If I had more days I would have gone for a few more from different equestrian sports and areas of horsemanship but since it’s only a one day option I feel I must go with a discipline that made me fall in love with riding in the first place!
2. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I am guessing this is a question about a holiday type riding..I am not much into travelling on horses for the sake of it, I love having a purpose when riding a horse. Having said that I grew up loving western movies and would love to take part in a conservation project involving wild horses where you combine all day western riding with something useful and helpful.
3. Who was the horse or pony that you first fell in love with?
There were two at the same time but I will tell you about the grey gelding that almost killed me. It was a horse I was terrified of. Age 14 I was helping at a riding school where owner took many odd horses in with varied and abused backgrounds. One day I was walking towards this grey gelding, Dzwon (Bell), to get on him when he pulled away from person holding him and attacked me, as was his habit. He bit my shoulder and threw me on the ground, then proceeded to kick me. It was something he was famous for…About a year later, at night, he got hit by a car while on way back home from work (he was a wedding carriage driving horse) and I volunteered to go with owner to the accident scene. Dzwon’s double, a mare, got hit with such force the impact torn the tack freeing her from the carriage. She panicked and escaped onto the main road (she later died from injuries). The gelding was badly injured too but able to walk. I don’t remember why we didn’t get a box to drive him back to the stables, perhaps it was to do with the costs. Either way, the only way to get him back was to walk him home and as owner needed to deal with the mare (running wild on the motorway) so I walked him…for several hours, the accident happened far away from the yard. He was knackered and weak, I washed his wounds when we finally got back. I reminisce that walk from time to time as it was the first time I ever felt this amazing companionship with a horse.
We became great friends ever since, I could do anything with him and he never ever tried to attack me again (although he still savaged numerous other people including a rather infamous incident when he almost bit one woman’s breast off. He was a sort of horse who nowadays would never last in a riding school environment ).
4. If you don’t already, would you want to work with horses as a career? And if you do, why do you?
I do already. Reason? Because the only way I know how to live is to live ones passion.
5. If you didn’t ride horses, what would you spend all your money on? 😉
I don’t really spend money on horses so slightly irrelevant question for me. If I did but decided to stop and had a surplus of money I would spend it on some exciting surprises for my dear boyfriend and family . I would also send a hefty sum to Prince Fluffy Kareem!
6. What does your other half or family think of your hobby?
They know it’s not simply my hobby but a chosen profession and support me fully. That’s their official version anyway 😉
7. How often do you clean your tack?
Don’t own any right now. I like it clean though!
8. Who would you most like to have a riding lesson from and why?
Alojs Podhajsky because of his incredibly inspiring book “My Horses My Teachers”.
9. You’re buying a new horse: what qualities do you look for?
Big ears! I like a horse with big ears. Beneath them, a good brain – trainable. Next healthy feet – no contracted heels or long toes. Ideally unshod. Short, strong loins and well set neck. Clean limbs. All rounder with a go button (must enjoy to move). Good jumping technique and correct, supple movement in all paces. Do I get to pick a colour? 😉 Liver Chestnut with white face. Where do I sign for the order?
10. Have you/would you ever buy a ‘project horse’ to sell on?
Yes and yes.
11. Lorry or trailer and why?
Lorry – I love the idea of a house on wheels that has a room for my horse and I can move it about, live anywhere and be fully mobile!
11 Random facts about me…
1. I happily drink coffee with honey.
2. In September 2012 I decided to make my old blog into a book. The blog follows my life as a freelance riding instructor. I’ve been writing private posts on it since August 2012 and plan to self-publish it 2014/2015. You can follow this project on here: https://www.facebook.com/NeverGiveUpTheBook
3. I once set up a tent on top of a manhole cover which led to waste pumps. One night the whole camp site got flooded by heavy rain (knee high water) and all the shite filled up the tent. It was…an interesting adventure 😉
4. I love painting – acrylics on canvas. Find it incredibly relaxing and all consuming.
5. I lived in North Portugal for 8 months training on fantastic horses & helping with marketing for a beautiful training centre.
6. I watched TV three or four times in the last year.
7. I had a full leg plaster cast on 8 times in 3 years due to recurrent knee injury after being kicked in the knee.
8. I love books. I could happily live in a bookshop.
9. I used to think that the more you fly the more you get used to it. I am having to travel a lot this year and find it progressively unpleasant to get on a plane. During my recent flight one of the passengers died from heart failure.
10. I like to try on impossible tasks…
11. If you got this far you deserve a properly random fact!
Two things happened roughly at the same time and both made me take the first step to setting up my Aspire coaching project. I think it was early 2008. I was sitting in a car with Anna Ross-Davies in a huge traffic on a motorway. It was when the idea for Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy started finally crystallising in my head and I was waffling about it to Anna. After a while she said, yeah I think it’s a great idea! I was over the moon!
Not long after, I was asked by a local trainer about my career goals and I said I wanted to run quality riding education programmes and intensive training days for grassroots riders, also those without own horses. I told her I wanted to teach all riders a correct seat on the lunge, give them video analysis, help them with goal setting so they know what they are working towards, create an environment where they can have a training alike one available to horse owners. She told me she didn’t think it was possible.
In 2009/2010 I ran over 200 Intensive Training Days, most riders did not have own horses. I believe that if we want to achieve something we must find as many positive people to surround ourselves with as we can.
11 Questions for my chosen bloggers:
1. What do you like most about blogging?
2. The most inspirational book/quote/person in your life?
3. Money/time no object, what would your training/riding look like?
4. What do you find most difficult when combining horses with non-equestrian parts of life?
5. What’s your learning style?
6. Three favourite horsey websites you visit the most?
7. What never fails to make you laugh?
8. Shod or unshod and why?
9. Who would you chose to train with: a top rider/trainer who is out there winning or a trainer who no longer competes but has a great skill in partaking their knowledge?
10. Coffee or Freshly squeezed juice? Which one when?
11. Stable job for someone else or unstable self-employment? What would be your preferred choice?
The 11 Bloggers I am giving this Award to are:
2 Hannah at http://vetgoneeventing.wordpress.com
3 Genny at http://agifthorse.wordpress.com
9 Aspire’s Guest Blogger: Ceri! https://aspireequestrian.wordpress.com/guest-blogger-pure-essence-photography/
10 Aspire’s Guest Blogger: Candace! https://aspireequestrian.wordpress.com/guest-blogger-candace/
11 Sally Walker at http://www.hay-net.co.uk/member/sallyelis/posts