This is the first installment in a series of features on some of the people who make Course Brook Farm the vibrant place that it is. It's only natural that we begin the series with our resident trainer, Erika Hawkes. Erika agreed to answer some questions for me and share some insights into what drives her personally and professionally. I've included her bio below, but let me just say that Erika is one of the most patient and thoughtful instructors and trainers that I have ever met. I don't think I've ever seen her lose her temper, and she really does embody what all horse people should aspire to: a calm and quiet approach to teaching and riding. Thank you, Erika!
2.What is your greatest extravagance? You mean besides my horses?! Probably getting my hair done.
3.Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Probably “again.” I seem to find myself saying that a lot while I am teaching.
4. If you could do any job besides teaching/training, what would it be (doesn’t need to be realistic)? I have always wanted to write so being a novelist would really appeal to me.
5.What other talent besides riding would you most like to have? Singing opera or playing the piano. I am always amazed at people who possess those gifts. I mean where does that come from?
6.What do you consider your greatest achievement (riding or otherwise)? Running my own business.
7.If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? Kate Middleton!
8.What is your most treasured possession? Can a dog be a possession because it would definitely be my dog!
9.Who are your favorite writers/artists/riders? I love to read all sorts of things, but one of my most recent favorites is Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle. I love Andrew Wyeth as an artist because I basically spent a lot of my childhood in Maine and love it dearly. One of my all time favorite riders is Torrance Watkins. She was just sooo classy. I also love Mark Todd.
10.Who are your heroes in life? Any surprise – horses! I really think they are truly heroes to do what they do for us. Also, my mom, my dad, my husband and of course our troops, of which my brother is one. I would also have to include my vet, Dr Liz Maloney, who has been unbelievable in helping me rehabilitate several OTTBs and turn them into successful eventers. She is the best.
11.What is your motto? Treat other people (and horses) the way you would want
12.Have you ever ridden sidesaddle? No but have ridden bareback, western and done some driving.
13.What is your favorite riding moment (competition or anything else)? When I was fifteen, my father was working for a company that relocated us overseas to Singapore. I joined the riding club there and became part of the international team competing against other Southeastern Asian nations. Onetime we competed in Kuala Lumpur and we had to draw horses’ names out of a hat and then compete them in a 3’9” jumper class. I drew an awesome horse and ended up winning the class and beating my instructor! That was definitely a high point that stands out in my life. I also remember competing at Radnor Three Day Event and being thrilled after dressage and x-country to be in third place ahead of Karen (Lende) O’Connor!
14.If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Somewhere with a warm temperate climate all year round – maybe Southern California or Hawaii.