1. Most influential person on your riding?
Well, right now that has to be... ME! How self-centered does that sound? But seriously, where I am right now, it's all about the self-coaching. Before the move up here, the person who had the most influence on my riding was my previous coach (and who I bought Dillon off of) Mary-Lew Murray. She was the first coach I had that had actual credentials, showed in what I was riding in, and really KNEW how to coach dressage. She helped me get out of a TON of bad habits that I am now having to watch out for myself and am forever grateful for her instruction. She took a very casual rider who had been taught by an all-around instructor (good basics, but not in detail) to a competitive rider who would usually place in rated dressage, eventing, and hunter shows (unrated for the hunters).
Thank you Mary Lew!!!
2. Piece of tack you'd love to splurge on?
As most others are saying, I'd LOVE to splurge on a fully custom saddle to fit both me and Koda. Now, I doubt I will ever have that kind of money to splurge, or would feel completely awful putting that much money up for a saddle, so a more realistic splurge? A Back On Track Mesh Sheet :) Or a week-long bootcamp at Alhambra stables (even though that's not a piece of tack...)
Wouldn't Koda look handsome in this sheet?
3. Top 5 Riding List
I rarely if ever ride with a playlist, but when I was at a boarding barn the radio would always be pumping something. When I ride, I'll usually tune out the music and focus on the task at hand. I like hearing the creak of leather, the thud of hoofbeats, the swish of the (opinionated!) tail, the rhythm of breathing... that's my music for when I ride.
The tail swish
For a grooming/spa day, I'll usually play whatever I'm in the mood for at the time, whether it's a playlist from Les Miserables or the songs from the Top 40. Koda likes the more subdued type music, like love ballads or R&B when we're chilling out. Back in the day, we would always have some country music or maritime type music playing on the stereo. Favourites included: Dixie Chicks, Great Big Sea, Toby Keith, and of course Tim McGraw.
4. Most important aspect of your barn?
Care. Since the only option we have up here is turnout 24/7, the care is absolutely of paramount importance. I know Koda is always checked on 3 times a day (morning, early evening, late evening), will be visually checked over every day, properly fed with free feeding hay in haybags (not rich alfalfa, but a nice timothy mix), along with alfalfa pellets if it gets too cold to help boost the internal temperature, properly heated water (some people don't water their horses up here, but let them eat snow...).
So lovely, can't wait to see this again
My dream barn? 12-24 hour turnout with the option of a stall on those extremely nasty nights, or night before a show. Large rolling pastures, turnout sheds, some treed areas, with a natural (pond, stream, spring) and artificial (water trough) water source. Indoor arena, heated in the winter, large outdoor arena, grass arena, sand arena, cross country field, and a half-mile track.
5. Three winter goals:
1. Ride as much as possible
2. When schooling dressage, have a main focus
3. To conquer the oxer
Hope you guys enjoy the questions and answers!