It has been more than a hot minute since a new blog post—over a month, really. After a a little blogging break, we are kicking things back off with a quick Q&A via Instagram, plus a few common questions I get. (Being someone on social media is weird…)
What products do you use to make Ax so shiny?
This is probably my second most asked question! I’m a believer that coat condition (i.e. shine) is a result of nutrition and some elbow grease. When grooming, I mostly use the Epona Tiger’s Tongue and a horse hair soft brush. Then I will spray him with Myst Equine Products Dry Shampoo, buffing it in with a towel; The Herbal Horse Shine Bright, following it with a soft brush; or Stubben Brush On Care, again following with a soft brush. I rotate through those three and sometimes don’t use any, so it really depends on the day.
What are some of your favorite flatwork exercises to do with Ax?
I start every ride with some lateral work at the walk—it just really does the trick in loosening up his back and lets his brain know it’s time to work. I’ll start with riding the arena like a square to ask his inside hind to come underneath him, and then go into some leg-yielding from the quarter line to the wall to the quarter line again and vice versa.
I actually have a bad habit of staying on the rail/quarter line during trot and canter work, so let me know your favorite flatwork exercises.
What are your goals with Ax for 2019 and the future?
I typically do a whole post on this, but it just didn’t feel right this year. In 2019, I guess I’d like to see if Ax is ready to start little courses again, I’d love to take him to a show even if we can only flat, and I will absolutely be going on another hunter pace. For the future, my only goal is to keep riding and enjoying the hell out of my horse.
What are your winter essentials?
I have too many to count—watch out for my winter favorites soon, though! For winter riding in general, wearing layers, donning a good pair of winter riding gloves (these Roeckls are my favorite), and a great pair of wool socks are must-haves.
What’s your favorite brand of tall boots?
This is by far my most asked question—apparently people want to know what boots I have. I’ve been wearing Ariat for forever, and my current pair are the Ariat Challenge Contours. But my absolute favorite boots I’ve ever owned are Der Daus.
What are your favorite breeches?
It’s a toss up between mid-rise Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunters and SmartPak Hadleys. The TS are by far the most comfortable and fit me the best, but the price hurts. The Hadleys are more wallet-friendly but a lower quality in comparison. I have a few of each in my closet and rotate through the two styles.
What’s your favorite horse-related memory?
I have a few, so it’s hard to pick the best one. With Angel, it was the moment we arrived at the first show of the season and she was just on her game from the moment she stepped off the trailer. It was like she matured over the winter and was finally ready to steal all the blues (which she definitely did). With Ax, it was the entirety of New Hampshire Finals in 2016, from taking fourth in the medal with a round I could’ve only dreamed of to breaking my nose (a little reality check) and coming back to ride in the classic.
What is your dream tack setup?
I love most of my tack right now, but I would die for a custom saddle that fits Ax weird shape. His giant withers, large shoulders, and short back have posed a problem with saddle fit from the moment I got him, and while what I have isn’t the worst, it isn’t the best either.
What camera and lens do you use?
This is another very popular and often asked one. I currently shoot all of my blog, social media, work, and professional photography on a Canon T3i. As for lenses, I my most commonly used are my 70-200 2.8 and 85 1.8, plus the occasional use of my 70-300 4-5.6. Along with this, it is super important to remember that it isn’t the gear that takes the photo, it’s the photographer. Sure, you can only push the camera’s settings to a certain limit, but a great photographer can still take great photos with lesser gear.