Often I hire girls/women for the working student position who I have not met face to face. And that can be a scary thing. The position is intense: we live within a stone’s throw of one another, we see each other for 9 hours every day, I trust them with my most beloved animals, they trust me to educate and keep them safe, and accomplish their goals. That is a TALL order. And thankfully, it usually works out great.
One of the ice-breakers that I have done is to send the WS a list of questions so I can get to know them better. I have gleaned questions from websites that help people through an interview (How do you handle stress and pressure?) and silly ones too (What were you like in High School?). But, overall they are fun to answer and help us understand one another beyond the usual love of eventing and horses, etc.
I sent Taylor such a list last fall and included Letty and myself to answer the questions as well. And, somehow none of us answered them! Life got busy, we got lazy etc. But, I was just reading a page from the COTH magazine “Untacked” and they were interviewing some 18 year old girl, with a trust fund the size of Godzilla who is now winning at Grand Prix level for show jumping. (I’m sure she works hard, yada yada yada). And thought I could answer the questions too (for her answers see the February issue, page 34).
Breeches: Anything on sale, and less than $120. No low-rise. After 4 hours with that design pulling down into your boots, you want to burn them. 8 hours of it and you are ready to ride naked instead of wearing them for a minute more
Footwear: RealTree boots for girls, with pink trim. But really, anything waterproof and warm will do. Hunter boots are for lightweights and people who live in NYC who have the option of a warm room after 20 minutes of wearing them. Or, said another way: Hunter boots are for people who don’t actually step in shit.
Drink: Beer. The hoppier the better, true PNW stuff that is bitter and citrus!
Food: Salads are my favorite, and Grand Central Bakery Como bread goes with everything.
Book: A perfect question for someone who does not physically work in the barns every day. I read as much as possible and it still takes me months to find the energy to get through a book before forgetting the chapter before. And then I give up and put the book away in lieu of sleeping.
Non-horsey hobby: mountain biking and running. Both of which I do at the farm on our trails.
Guilty pleasure: beer (see above)
Memory in the saddle: I would love to say it was winning some FEI class, or Rolex. But, truly the highlight is something more benign and sublime. Like teaching your young horse a flying lead change, or a trail ride in the woods. It’s me with my friend.
Competition Venue: Aspen Farms and Carolina Horse Park.
Place to shop for non-horsey items: Haggen’s or Safeway. Once in a while, add in Grocery Outlet, Bargain Market for the wine.
App: huh? I actually live life. I don’t stare at a screen.
Quality in a person: positivity
Family activity: I would love to answer this question like she did… but I can’t travel to exotic places because I have 28 horses to care for. And double that many students to attend to…. Because I love it. But, cut the snarky, and my answer would be to cook well and eat well with friends and family.
Famous person: Why is this a question? What in the world does a famous person who does things that I don’t do, say about me? If I say Mark Wahlberg, does that reveal that I want to be him? I don’t understand. Ok, my answer is Trump. And cue the drama…
Picture in your room: Edward Curtis photograph
Song: I’m going to answer that in a different way: Van Halen is the band that I have loved the longest. Neil Diamond was my first album, and Elton John was my first concert. Take your pick to analyze what that means about me!
TV show: The Young Ones. Really, you should see it, it is amazing.
Riding idol: David O’Connor. I watched a video of him riding the other day, and it was cool to see him back in action. He is someone who has been instrumental in our sport, not only as an athlete but also as an administrator. I don’t know too many other people who have been as attentive as he has been to all aspects of eventing. But riding-wise, I fawn over Michel Jung and Marcus Ehning. True poetry on a horse.
Place to travel: Hawai’i (it’s close, affordable and feels like off-world when you are coming from 39 and raining in Seattle in January)
I guess the exercise here is that answering these questions is really fun. And I bet that nearly 100% of you who see these in the COTH magazines day dream just a tiny bit about what it is like to be that famous that you get asked these questions. I do! Feel free to answer them yourself in the comments! If you are shy, answer just one question.