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Monday, December 30, 2013

On Riding With My Friend

A few months ago my friend, Alia, and I had planned to ride together.  She would often trailer her horses down to the place I boarded mine, and we’d spend the afternoons laughing and gossiping and doing what we love (horses/sticks/fun).  Anyway, on this particular day her gelding threw a shoe, and she called her farrier and begged him to please, PLEASE come put the shoe back on her horse.  He showed up a couple of hours later, nailed the shoe back on her horse’s foot, and then said, “There.  Now you can go...ride...with your friend,” as if it was the most preposterous reason to need emergency farrier services.  

In all actuality, I believe we were going to a horse show that day, or some critical riding lesson.  Something more important than our usual ride/laugh/gossip/laugh/ride sessions.  We love riding together, but even for us, a thrown shoe doesn’t rank very high on the equine disaster scale.  

Fast forward to today.  I have a new barn.  Of my VERY OWN.  Its got a big arena and a full course of jumps.  BUT (there’s always a but), construction on the barn was finished roughly on the same day that the weather turned and the ground froze.  Usually once the ground freezes it stays that way until spring arrives, so I have yet to be able to actually use my new arena to any meaningful extent.  However, the last few days were slightly warmer, and last night the temperature only dipped below freezing for a couple of hours.  Alia and I watched the weather and my arena footing like hawks, and finally, this morning dawned the day of which Alia and I have dreamt for a whole year!

She was going to bring her horses to my house for ride/laugh/gossip/laugh/ride!  This time was particularly important because we haven’t seen each other for three weeks, but we also haven’t ridden together since mid-November!  And we’ve NEVER ridden together at either of our houses!  It was a huge day.  EPIC.  

At the end of the day both of us struggled to say goodbye.  The ground will freeze tonight and we probably won’t be able to ride together again until March.  Of course we have fun doing lots of other things together, but there’s just something priceless about getting together with a good friend and riding.  

My horse situation has been a bit of a struggle since I moved the boys to my barn.  The fences aren’t finished so turnout space is limited, and the ground alternates between slick ice and lumpy frozen mud (aka horseshoe remover).  I haven’t been able to ride because of the frozen arena, so my horses - used to getting exercise 4 days a week - are quite rambunctious.  Today, although warm enough to ride, brought with it thawed mud, slippery turnouts and filthy blankets.  I cursed all the horses as I brought them in one by one, hosing the caked mud off their blankets and legs, splattering it all over myself and my clean barn.   At noon, when Alia pulled in with all the same complaints of her place, I hadn’t even had a moment to eat a thing all day.  

We whined and moaned about the weather, winter, our fat horses, our wild horses, our lack of lunch....and then we saddled up and had SO MUCH FUN!!  I love horses.  I love horse shows.  I love winning, and I love losing and working hard and getting better.  But NOTHING is as fun as just riding around in a nice big arena with a good friend, laughing and cracking inappropriate jokes.  Nothing.  

When you’re a kid, you get to have fun all the time.  Adulthood brings bills and responsibility and horrible things like cleaning, muddy horse blankets, and cooking. dinner. every. night.  I’m lucky enough to have happened upon something that makes me giggle like a giddy school girl, and how awesome is that!?  

So yeah, you know what?  It’s an emergency if I can’t go riding with my friend.

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