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Project Gingersnap Blog Hop - "Change"

This is a perfect example of why i'm loving the blogging community. Despite being a total noob at this blog thing, I love how you can stumble across new things on a daily basis.  While sifting through the hum-drum of work on this lovely Wednesday morning, I skimmed through C's version of a blog hop, which directed me to the original post and as a result, found a new blogger to follow! I mean, who doesn't love to read about super cute ponies?!

So the question asked is.. 

"Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress? What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay withwhat you know is working? How did either choice work out in the long run?"

Because I am new to blogging and the majority of my posts cover the ebb and flow of horse ownership as opposed to information about myself, I should start with a little background information..

Terrace, B.C. - My home town!
I grew up in a rather sheltered area in terms of accessibility in the equestrian community.  In the small, northern community of Terrace, British Columbia, most young english riders grew up with the dreams of showing at larger venues such as those offered in the Langley/Vancouver area (which was about a 20 hr drive, to put it into context), though few of us ever made it there.  While in my younger years our town offered some fairly well known shows, it was never to the magnitude of Rated shows you find elsewhere.  That being said, we were blessed to have a very active Pony Club and as such, we had access to some fantastic coaches.  However, we really only had 1 or 2 coaches who we were able to ride with on a regular or semi-regular basis.  In our small town, there was basically 2 places to ride if you wanted to ride English and though I spent a brief period at one, I primarily rode at the larger venue, Copperside Stables.

Circa 2004, Molokai Fire & I in 2'3 Hunters at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition
Though I started actively riding by the time I was 10, at the age of 13 my love for Dressage really started to blossom.  By then, an older girl hereby referred to as "A", had returned home from riding and training in Europe for 2 years, and began taking on a few lesson clients.  With her methodical instruction, my desire to focus my energy on Dressage had become the forefront passion in my life.  She really helped me develop my skills - mostly in Dressage, but also in Jumping.  She also helped me overcome issues that previous coaches could not seem to help me correct.  Sadly roughly 1 year after starting lessons with A, my first horse - Molokai - passed away due to colic.  From there, my life spiraled into a chaotic, beautiful mess of multiple barns, disciplines and horses.  I rode at several barns so I could complete my Pony Club on borrowed horses, while doing 2 Working Student positions at other barns as well.  Then, I fell onto a few 'lost years', and as the result of things which I don't feel necessary to dive into, I lost interest in regular or competitive riding.  I still owned a horse, but rode sporadically, and only for fun.

Molokai & I, 2005
In August 2010, my 'for fun' horse and I moved to Alberta to go to College and be closer to my (now) hubby after doing long distance for a little over a year.  In the spring of 2011 I purchased Kidd, and by 2014 my love affair with Dressage had re-ignited.  For the first time in nearly 10 years I got back in the show ring with a fire burning deep in my gut, and a talented horse under my butt, and though this past year or two has been less than stellar for horse-accomplishments, I'm happy to be back at it!

Grad 2010 with "Babydoll", also referred to as my "for fun horse"
Now back to the questions at hand, have I ever moved to a different horse/trainer/stable/etc with the intent to advance my progress?  I suppose I have to some degree.  When I started training primarily with A, it was initially fueled by the experience she had to offer, and the fact that the other 'regular coaches' I had access to would tell me the same thing over and over again, and no improvement was ever made.  Even at a young age, I felt the frustration of paying to be told 2 key phrases for 45 minutes straight, with no improvement felt.

A fun compairson - Walk/Trot Champion in Fall 2014, Training Level Champion in Spring 2015
When I began doing some Working Student terms and riding at different barns, I don't know that it was necessarily to improve or advance my riding specifically as that was just a bonus, but it was primarily to find the sense of belonging. I can only assume it was driven by the fact that I found it *really* hard to see my friends, whom I rode with almost daily, riding their horses and having fun after my horse had passed away.  Of course, I had other options of horses to ride/borrow, but it wasn't the same.

During that period I rode with some other instructors too, but none were regular, nor do I feel they were a majorly influential block in my foundation, so i'll leave them out of this long-winded and media heavy post of word vomit.

Kidd & I in a lesson with "J"
Fast forwarding to the future, I have ridden Kidd with quite a few instructors over the years.  Most notably, the first instructor that really helped us get the ball rolling would be "J".  I loved her laid back, accepting and soft approach.  I started riding with her when Kidd only had about 30 days on him, and she was so fabulous and kind.  She is no longer coaching, but she was excellent about helping me find the fine line of needing 'more', but not pushing too much.  Kidd is the first horse I have taken right from the beginning to the point we're at now, and there was a stage where I felt really lost in his training as a result.  She was the light at the end of the tunnel for us.

Kidd & I in a lesson with "G"

In 2015 and 2016 our Sport Horse Club, which I am the founder & president of, hired "S" to come up for clinics 3-5x per year.  He came to us from the Vancouver area, but was trained by the military in Portugal.  He was a fabulous rider, incredible trainer and it still breaks my heart that he has retired from the horse industry.  He and I became really great friends, and *really* helped me develop Kidd.

Kidd & I in a lesson with "S" - Nice hands Alaina...

Throughout this process, I cliniced twice with J's coach "G", a former GP rider.  I, too, love her approach and training theories and she feels like someone I could sit with and talk to forever.  Her lessons are so refreshing and encouraging, and I hope to ride with her more in the future.

This photo is irrelevent to this post, I just love it.  My husband galloping "Icy" and our dog running along side him
I think in the long run, the choices I have made for one reason or another have payed off. Though, I suppose, I have only truly 'quit on one coach to work with another' in my life, I don't regret it.  Don't get me wrong, the previous coaches I chose to stop riding with helped me along and I certainly learned a great deal from them but it came to a point where I felt as though I wasn't getting anything from it.

Even though I'm currently questioning my sanity due to Kai's regular shennanigans,  I am happy with where I have fallen and most of the choices I have made in terms of instruction and training over the years.  

Moving forward, I hope to bring a new coach up to our neck of the woods in replacement of "S", as well as ride more regularly with "G".

Reliving our glory days at Copperside Stables in 2016
 A little background on the information about the above and below photos even though I could probably write a whole post on this trip - in 2016 one of my best friends got married and we all brought our horses to Terrace to relive our glory days.  My "alberta bestie" and client, "C" came with me (dark bay gelding), "K" traveled up from the Okanogan (tall bay) and "H", the Bride still resides in Terrace.

A friend jumping Kidd at Copperside Stables.  If Dressage doesn't pan out, he might have a career as a fricken *adorable* Hunter!
"H" and I also did a new rendition on an old photo..

2016 - New horses, but still old friends <3


  1. I love this! Another blog for me to follow! True story, I worked for BC Parks for a few summers in Terrace back in the day and rode at Copperside :)

    1. Oh no way, too funny!! I rode there in the early 2000's, consistently until 2006 then off and on until 2010.


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