The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December will be full to the brim with talented and experienced riding guides for you to meet from around the world. Here, we have an article by a guide who needs little introduction, Anna Wirth-Snell from Rocking Z in Montana.
1. How long have you been guiding at Rocking Z?
I have grown up on the Rocking Z Guest Ranch.
2. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
From the age of 10 I have been helping where able, and teaching what was valuable to our guests.
3. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
Now, at 27 with a Masters degree from Durham University, I will be able to write on the history of Horsemanship as well as teach Horsemanship in person.
4. People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?
I feel proud when I’ve swept the barn, and when the dishes are finished, and especially when I’ve caused a horse to become more relaxed or helped a guest do their first canter. Without feeling proud of the accomplishments, it could be very difficult to remain happy with the hours of close contact with guests and limited privacy inherent to working on a guest facility.
5. If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
My best (and favourite) horses are a Quarter Horse named Cougar, for her colour, a Connemara cross Andalusian named Dante for how much he challenges me to improve, and a Tennessee Walking horse cross Connemara named Sizzle.
6. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
Sizzle is my hangover horse – an absolute necessity in this industry, for no matter how unwell I feel he will take care of me and my guests and has perfect walk-canter, canter-walk transitions for taking care of a headache! I believe that every guide needs a horse they can rely on no matter what, like Sizzle is for me.
7. What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?
When I was only 12 I received such gratitude for the way I taught the rising trot that I was hooked! I love teaching and could never be fully content with any other work.
8. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
After a long day I love to relax by working with a young horse, often in front of an audience, because the youngsters have such an openness to learning that it inspires me for the following day as well as giving me the sense of accomplishment that allows me to have a good night’s sleep.
9. What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?
I can’t imagine not having done this job, but I think it is not suited to a person who doesn’t gain pride from all the small jobs.
10. Where do you go on holiday?
When winter does come, I vacation by being alone at the ranch with only the horses for company. After a few months of solitude, the next year comes along with me having honed more teaching skills and possessing more tuned and athletic horses for our guests to ride!
Thank you Anna for some fantastic images and another interesting article. Olwen and the team look forward to seeing you in a few weeks’ time.
You can meet Anna from Rocking Z at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.
38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.