My goal was to get 260 likes on my Facebook page by the New Year. In less than a day, we had 273 likes as of December 28! Today, we have 284 likes! You guys are awesome!
I put up a post on my Facebook page and instagram inviting people to ask any burning questions they had to ask and I’d answer them in a blog post! So here we go!
@tudduebuudie on Instagram asked:
“How did you find Manny? And how did you know he was the right horse? How old is he? How much to you train per week? Do you do any other sports, which helps your riding?”
I didn’t actually find Manny @tuddue. When I rode at PARDS I expressed an interest to my wonderful instructor, Stephanie Golder, that I wanted to compete in a show. But first, I needed a new partner, as my current horse wasn’t at the “showing level” I needed. So, Steph found Zolman, AKA Manny! Stephanie knew Heather Hoggan, who was Manny’s former owner. They boarded their horses at the same stable. Heather donated him to PARDS to take my dressage career to the next level. Enabling me to participate in bronze and gold shows. As for how I knew he was the right horse, I didn’t! Stephanie said that she “had this great new horse for me to ride. He’s fabulous!” and then showed me a picture of him… I thought she was crazy!! I thought, “you want me… to ride that?! Haha no”
Being in my chair next to a 16.3hh horse was intimidating! Sometimes it still is! When they brought him close to my chair, he put his big giraffe head down to check me and my chair out and from that moment, he knew I was his person! Stephanie said she “took a leap of faith” when I asked her how she knew Manny was the right horse! It took me a while to warm up to him, but now, we are a match made from heaven! Manny is a 19 year old Grey Trakehner Gelding and I love him to bits! We usually train once per week before the snow fell but because we live in Grande Prairie -25 weather and snow, it is really difficult to get my chair down to the arena. I am so excited for summer! We will get on a more regular basis when I can make it down to the area! As for other sports, no, but I wish I would. I was trying to find an accessible yoga studio but no such luck, I contacted the Wolverines Sports Association about trying out Sledge Hockey but have yet to be able to set something up.
Stephanie Golder asked:
“I’d love to know how and when you made the transition from therapeutic riding to para dressage”
In 2012, when I was riding Rain, Amanda Udey was teaching me one day and introduced me to the world of para dressage and video competitions. She and Rain got me into my first saddle and taught me the ropes of dressage. I believe Rain did have some dressage experience prior to coming to PARDS, so between him and Amanda it was a great transition. It was different though! I went from riding in a group of four riders, including myself, playing games to training for video competitions and cantering! This was so different for me. Riding in a real saddle and training for a purpose. Not just riding. The transition pushed me to try new things, things I would have never thought possible! After I started I was hooked!
Amanda Udey asked:
“Who/what have been your biggest influences along your journey?”
Every person and every horse I have ridden has influenced me. You learn so many new things from different horses and people. My mom has probably been the biggest influence however. She has never told me that I couldn’t do it. She’s the one who first got me riding in Slave Lake. She’s the one who has taken me to PARDS for 15 years. She’s the one he hauls me out to work with Manny still! She has been there through the successes and the fails, picks me up out of the dirt when the pony goes rouge! She’s always there. No matter what!
“What is your favourite thing about a horse?”
There is something empowering about going from my chair to a horse. Especially a 16.3 hh horse and being able to ride them bareback and get them to execute the littlest dressage movement. Not being able to walk, but be able to canter around with no stirrups or reins (Gopher) or do barrels with Becky, and ride bareback is HUGE! I love how there is no judgement. Horses love you for who you are. They don’t care and you bond so easy with them. I love how much freedom, joy, and empowerment they bring to me!
Thank you all again for your likes, follows, and questions!