SFTS Blog Hop: Why do you do what you do?

Stories from the Saddle‘s first blog hop topic is a good one: Why do you do what you do?

SFTS Blog Hop

Before I get into what I do and why, I feel like I should probably recount all the things I’ve done so that you understand more about where I’m coming from. I started riding in a Pony Club barn, but since I didn’t have my own horse I wasn’t actually in Pony Club. Still, it was mainly an eventing barn. I only took lessons once a week for two years before we moved away, so really I was just a beginner kid on lesson horses learning how to ride and jump.

Crystal
Crystal

When we moved to Texas I called all the barns in the phone book (ah, the good ol’ days) that said they offered lessons and left a message. Only one of those called me back so tada – that’s where I started riding. It was a h/j barn so that’s what I did. I started in the hunters but moved pretty quickly over to the jumpers, which was definitely my preference.

kai
Kai

Then after high school I went to be a working student at an eventing barn (partly because those are the barns with more working student opportunities, and party because I felt ready to learn something new). I came back from that experience with a lot of enthusiasm for my new sport and kept at it for a few years afterward.

jezdressage
Jezebel
jezPH
more Jezebel

A couple horses later I found myself with a pretty nice young horse off the track who showed an aptitude for hunters, so back I went into that. It only took a couple years though for me to get majorly burned out. That horse was sold and I went as opposite as possible – a little QH with some reining experience. I had a good time with her just learning to ride western and remembering how to have fun again, then eventually sold her and bought another TB. At that time I also had my young mare, who was bred to be a hunter (I bred her in the midst of my hunter phase). But not long after getting her started I remembered that I actually hated the hunters (sorry) and leased a jumper as well. Once I was back in the jumper ring I knew that’s where I was happiest. At one point Sadie was actually for sale. Then we figured out that she too was happier as a jumper so I decided to keep her.

QuinnSC
Quinn
Gracie
Gracie

I bought Henry specifically looking for a jumper. I have zero desire to do the hunters (only exception being hunter derbies) ever again. I also have a major hatred for dressage. Tons of respect for it, it’s super hard, but I just find it as dull as humanly possible. It’s really the only thing that keeps eventing from being my perfect sport.

The point of all this rambling is to illustrate that I don’t really have a sport. I’ve always been a wanderer I suppose… I do whatever a) suits the horse b) suits my mood at the time c) looks fun. If you made me claim one it’d definitely be jumpers first and foremost. Mainly because it’s so technical but still fun and so much of it (at least past a certain level) depends on rider skill. Even though you’re competing against other people, in a way it always feels like you’re competing against yourself. Making better decisions, better turns, thinking ahead to where you can save time, always trying to make your round as fast and clean as possible. That appeals to me a lot more than having the fanciest horse who jumps or moves the best and trying to find 8 jumps, and to be honest I’m very bothered by the measures taken to get a lot of top hunters to the ring these days. I just can’t get on board with that.

cruz
Cruz

Eventing would be my second choice. I will say that above a certain level I think it’s just crazy stupid. I have a hell of a lot of respect for fences that don’t fall down and my interest wanes past Training level. But I think of all the horse sports eventers generally tend to have the best sportsmanship, best horsemanship, and best general all around base of knowledge. Sure they’re a little yahoo sometimes and good god someone teach them to use a hairnet properly (jk I love you guys. But really: hairnet) but at the end of the day they’re the crowd I like to hang out with most. Their sport is one of the hardest but also one of the most fun. I mean come on – who doesn’t want to gallop around and jump fences out in a field? Just take that pesky dressage crap out. 😉

22 thoughts on “SFTS Blog Hop: Why do you do what you do?

  1. GREAT post, thanks for participating! 🙂
    I think you and I are kindred spirits: the reasons you listed for loving the jumpers are the exact same reasons why I love the jumpers. I also despise dressage (like you said: super hard, I understand why people do it, but I find it mind-numbingly boring) and the hunters just doesn’t do it for me.

    I also loved all of your pictures from way back when! Had no idea you dabbled in Western for a bit 🙂

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  2. I’ve been loving getting a little background on everyone with this hop! As an eventer I would love it if you did a hair net post. It seriously is never talked about, even when I was at a big barn in Florida/Virginia. I want hair net skillz, but they are elusive.

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  3. I’m an eventer with a sister who is a ballerina. I just go, “Rainy, help” and the next thing I know my mane is nailed to the back of my head with about 200 nets, pins, and the hairspray equivalent of Superglue. (Not to mention she manages to get a red ribbon tacked so firmly onto my horse’s tail that it doesn’t fall out even when she leaps and bucks all over the course).
    Great post! Loving the pictures of previous ponies!

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  4. I have zero experience with hair management haha. I try to stick it up nicely for dressage and SJ, but when it comes to XC I just keep it in a semi-bun that usually falls out. Never just a ponytail though – I hate that.

    I think I’m one of the few eventers that adores dressage….but then again, that is where I started riding so it kind of stuck with me. I could dressage all day and be totally not bored.

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  5. Show bows for the win! 😉 No hunter hair here, I can’t fit my hair inside my helmet.

    As for dressage… I used to hate it too, but at some point I really came to enjoy the challenge of it. And once you start doing laterals, collection, and extension on a horse that can actually give you the feel of doing it right, it’s a feeling of power like none other.

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  6. very cool – thanks for sharing so much of your history. i especially like your points about choosing a sport that suits both rider AND horse – that seems to get lost in translation sometimes. also – hairnets for the win. every ride every time. i’m def curious to see how you do yours 🙂

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