Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Holly Hudspeth on an Eventer's Valentine's Day, The Grease Soudtrack, and Never Doing Anything Half-Ass.

Q. Why eventing?

A. I think mostly for the thrill of the cross-country. The whole all-around dynamic of doing a triathlon and how difficult that was inspired me. Having the all-around athlete: I liked that more than focusing on one discipline.

photo by Josh Walker

Q. What characteristics do you most value in others?

A. I would say, especially for my friends and people I work with, trust and honesty. That’s hands down the biggest thing that I admire by far.

Q. What about in yourself?

A. To be dedicated and passionate about the things that I love whether it’s Chuck [her husband] or my horse or my teaching. I like to have a drive and I’m a very driven person. That would be the biggest.

Q. What do you think is the most important characteristic for an event horse to have?

A. Resilience is a big one. And I would say not just brave. When I think about Stewie, he's not a flamboyant mover but he’s so athletic and he’s so intelligent, and he's come so far with his movement. You’ve got to have a horse that can make decisions if you make a mistake. Having a horse that, come hell or high water, will look between the flags is number one. You can always work on the dressage and show jumping. They’ve got to have that heart and the desire.

Q. What is international travel with horses like?

A. It’s exhausting. That’s the word that comes to mind. We flew out of Canada one time and New York another time. You fly the horses over and you get through quarantine, and get a rental car. Germany was fine but England--you’re on the wrong side of the road! It’s seems fun and glamorous--and it is very fun to compete in other countries against people like William fox –Pitt. You’re completely out of your comfort zone and it’s good to experience that if you have the desire to go to something like Worlds. You have to experience it off your home turf. I don’t regret it even though it was exhausting.

Q. Do the horses take it well?

A. They handle it very very well. When they come home they get some time off. The fly surprisingly well.

Q. Any tricks to make the time go past or to make the trip better? (music, books on tape, etc). What items do you always travel with in your truck to competitions?

A. I love my Grease CD. That’s what I listen to when I’m ready to fall asleep. Bare Naked Ladies or AC D. I love country; I listen to it all day. Toby Keith is my favorite. I love Toby, and I love Sugarland. Those are my two favorites.

Q. What pieces of tack or equipment are critical for you?

A. My favorite thing is a breastplate, it’s what I always use, all the time. Whether it’s dressage or anything, I don’t know what it is. I have to have one. My other favorite piece of tack is my Stackhouse dressage saddle. Everyone loves it. But I have a gazillion products I have to bring on the road—apple cider vinegar for washing the horses at the end of the day and 2-in-1 Head and Shoulders. My horse has to be super clean. Whenever they get a bubble bath that’s what I use. The vinegar is a wash when I’m done. It gets rid of soap scum and sweat that you miss when bathing them. Fill a wash bucket with water and half a cup of vinegar. It makes their coat nice and shiny.

Q. How was this Valentine’s Day special for you?

A. I was at a horse show and Chuck was with me. My present is him being there. I’m thinking about getting him a wallet. He needs a new wallet.

Q. Fill in the blank: “You know you’re an eventer when….

A. You know you're an eventer when….you get new tires for your dualie for Valentine’s Day.

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