Since I started blogging, I have found a lovely, friendly community of fellow equestrian bloggers. Although I tend to sit somewhat outside of their usual circle of friends as I don’t subscribe to most of normal Horse World goings on, they have welcomed me and been encouraging and supportive and I hope I am in return.
Then the lovely Oonagh O’Brien, the groups administrator, suggested we pair up and collaborate. Whilst I am always up for a challenge, I was a bit tentative as I wasn’t sure that I could find a fellow blogger who, at least, shared some common ground. Joanne GG Barrett bravely stepped forward and we started messaging. Joanne is an artist and I have been a fan of her work for a while, she has unique style which captures the energy and essence of horses almost in an elemental way. You can view her work here. We scratched our heads for a little while, trying to decide how we could combine our interests and collaborate, and then we discovered we both like writing. We have come up with an interesting idea for a mystery story that we are now working together on so watch this space for future updates. As we were getting merrily carried away, we were reminded that the collaboration for the group had a deadline, so for the interim we decided on a Q&A session, you can view my questions to Joanne here.
Questions and Answers with Joanne GG Barrett
How long have you been around horses?
After many years of nagging my parents, I was allowed to started learning to ride at the age of 9 and was lucky to have ponies of my own from the age of 12. Since then, apart from a short break to finish university and relocate they have been a constant in my life.
What disciplines have you done?
I have tried quite a few, mostly local shows when I was younger, including showing, gymkhanas, showjumping and hunter trials. As I got older I was more interested in jumping and classical dressage, which were my plans for my chestnut mare when I bought her as a youngster. It came clear that these weren’t her plans and we did some Trec (which I loved) and pleasure rides before her unofficial retirement from riding 4 years ago.
Has your view/knowledge changed on horsemanship over the years?
I love learning and am always seeking knowledge, I tend to think that my horsemanship has evolved over the years.
What changed this view if so?
Many years ago, all I wanted to do was work with horses, and I did for several years as a riding instructor and showjumping groom. Somewhere along the way, I got interested in Horse Psychology and was reading Moyra Williams and Henry Blake these started me on a journey I am still travelling upon.
Do you wish you did anything different?
No, I don’t think so, changing the past could change the future and I am amazed with what my horse journey has brought into my life.
Who has been the horse to ‘teach’ you..sent to you?
I love the old adage of ‘When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear’, but there were times in the last 13 that I could have screamed, ‘I am not ready’. Ember (aka Sparklehorse) came into my life when I finally had some disposable income for horse transport and wanted to compete more seriously. She told me in 5 minutes that she thought my years of horse ownership and working professionally in the horse world weren’t worth a penny and set me on a completely different path, though I admit it took me much longer to accept her assessment.
Has owning horses improved you as a person and what have you learned about yourself?
I’d like to think so, I am far more patient than I used to be, more forgiving and have come to accept and like who I am rather than trying to be an unattainable person. I have learned to be open to new challenges as my life has gone down some amazing paths and I have met some fantastic people along the way.