Elena blogs over at Out of the Box, where she keeps up with two OTTBs and has possibly the coolest wedding photos of all time. (Why hasn't a horse blog run a 'cool wedding photos' post? I should do that. I love pictures!)
Anyways. Elena is another adult amateur making a go of it and here is how she answers the questions that life throws at her:
1) You’re at dinner with work colleagues. How do you introduce yourself? Hi, I'm Elena. This is my husband George. Yes, I know, we got married young. Yes, I also know I look just like Jennifer Lawrence.
2) But what you really meant to say was this: Hi, nice to meet you. Would you like to see some pictures of my pets? No, oh ok. I guess I don't really have anything to talk to you about then...I'll be heading to the barn now!
3) Tell us about your horse(s): The Great Gatsby, "Gatsby", is a 17 y/o OTTB who I bought back in 2006. He is kind of crazy but also ridiculously amazing. He LOVES cross-country and pretty much any jumping in general. Not so crazy about dressage but is pretty darn good at it when he pays attention! He loves peppermints and licking my hands. We have a very strong bond but he also has a strong independent streak and may have been tagged by some as arrogant.
Chi-Town, "Kanye", is a 2 y/o TB with no race training. He is still growing and we are still getting to know each other but so far he pretty much seems like a puppy in horse form. Nothing bothers him and he would just like to be next to me at all times.
4) How did you meet him/her? I met Gatsby when I was 16. I had finally come to terms that my lovely 14.3hh QH mare wasn't going to be my superstar eventer so we decided to put her on the market and start looking for something else. I went through thousands (or so it seemed) videos and ads but Gatsby was actually the first horse I sat on. It was pretty much love at first site when I saw him in the cross-ties. He was 100% nutso and absolutely the wrong horse for me but the more I heard that the more I loved him and, as you can see, it's turned out pretty well!
|Also met the dog|
5) What have you done together? Gatsby and I have competed up through Training level eventing together and schooled Prelim. Kanye and I have gone on many walks together and attempted to lunge.
6) Where are you going together? Right now Gatsby is rehabbing a minor tendon injury. I would really love to be able to compete him at least one more time to be able to enjoy cross-country with him again. In my heart of hearts I also have a, fairly unlikely, dream of taking him to an FEI event one day.
Kanye is still growing up. I plan on starting him sometime next year and seeing how he does but my hope is that he will be a fantastic eventer also.
7) How do you finance the addiction? I have been lucky enough to have a father who was willing and able to finance the addiction from the start. He supported my riding completely until about 2 years ago when we discussed it and thought at that point it made more sense for me to be responsible for it. Generous as ever though, he gifted me a portion of his ownership in a company he jointly owns to assist me in getting by. This still puts me on a pretty tight budget for my boys but I am forever grateful to my dad for making it possible for me to keep them as an adult.
8) How often do you ride? I try to ride about 4-5 days a week but unfortunately my work schedule often gets in the way and I'll be lucky to get 3 rides in.
9) What’s the single biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals? The support of my dad and my husband are hugely helpful but I also like to think that I am a pretty stubborn and motivated person.
10) If there was one thing you could say to people getting ready to join the ranks of riding (or re-riding) adults, what would it be? Prepare to sleep A LOT less. I don't know about everyone else but often the only time I have to ride is before work which means getting up before 6am and then returning home after 7pm.
11) What are your horse keeping arrangements? Gatsby lives at a fantastic facility in Santa Barbara. It's got all the facilities we need plus really amazing care and some great people to ride with. They've got stalls and paddocks but I was lucky enough to snag a situation where he lives out 24/7 with the owners retired mare. Kanye lives at my house in our paddock with our retired QH mare. We have the option to open the paddocks up to the trails and let the horses wander and graze which I'd like to try in the summer but it depends on how our other horses are with him.
12) What is/are your long term equine goals? I think I have pretty much the same ultimate dream as every other eventer stateside, to compete at Rolex Kentucky. More realistically, I would be beyond stoked to compete at an FEI event and do decently.
13) Bottom Line: Riding is my passion. There have been times when I've though about how much easier things would be if I gave it up but when it comes down to it, it's definitely one of the most important things in my life. I wouldn't be happy without my horses and I definitely wouldn't be me without riding.