Anyone who has been around horses long enough has, or has had, “horsey” friends. These are the buddies, the pals, the confidantes who “get” who you are when you’re mucking stalls, who laugh at the same four-legged antics, who commiserate over the same mystery lamenesses and training problems. They might be the same friends you hit happy hour with, or maybe not. Sometimes they’re people reserved for that time when you are most who you want to be…beside or on the back of a horse.
“Horses bring great friends into our lives,” says TSB Promotions Director Julie Beaulieu. “From the childhood friends who ran through the woods on horseback with us, to the teenage friends we met on the show circuit, we have ties to them through our horses and the times we have spent together. Once of my most memorable friendships was with a woman named Caroline. She brought her horse to board at a facility where I had my horse a few years ago. She showed me how to enjoy horses ‘later’ in life—Caroline was in her seventies when I met her. While she did not ride much, she generously shared her horse with many of the younger riders at the barn and reveled in the joy of horse ownership and watching others enjoy her horse as much as she did. She also supported all the riders at the barn by being at every event they went to and cheering them on. Always with a smile on her face and a kind word, she was a great example of how to keep active and happier with your horses and friends.”
“Horses have been the catalyst to some of my closest and dearest friendships,” says TSB Managing Director Martha Cook. “Dozens and dozens of names whiz through my mind as I think about the people I’ve met through horses in the last 40 years: Karen Lecuyer, my first ‘Morgan friend’…No two 13-year-olds ever loved their first horses more. Ann Bowes, an older, wiser friend who agreed to chaperone me as a kid down the trails mounted on a young mare both too green and too hot. Johanna Kozlowski, my best buddy at my first ‘horse job’…We rode a lot of miles and shoveled a whole lot of manure together. Les Parker, taskmaster and friend, who taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do with horses. Harriet Goodwin, fellow Morgan lover with whom I shared hundreds of miles of trail and an equal amount of conversation.
“And I have horses to thank for meeting my best friend and the love of my life,” adds Martha. “If I hadn’t struck up a riding friendship with horsewoman Betsy Cook in South Woodstock, Vermont, in 1988, I’d never have meet her son, now my husband of 20 years. For any young women out there looking for a man, I highly recommend finding a riding buddy with a son or two! They come trained to hold horses, drive trailers, and listen to conversations that solely revolve around breeds, gaits, and bloodlines!”
I, too, can think of many special friendships that budded and blossomed because of and around horses. Not one, but TWO bridesmaids in my wedding party were the result of horsey friendships that developed into something very special. It is amazing how hours grooming horses, scrubbing water buckets, cleaning tack, and riding the trails can nurture very deep, very true relationships!
“Horse Friends” can be found at any point in your life. It is never too late to rediscover old ones or find new ones. They are a great source of endless conversation, and common ground for people from all backgrounds, of all ages, for all time. Watch the women in this video from the bestselling book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES talk about the ways horses have brought them friends, and always given them a place full of like-minded people to turn to, sometimes when they need them most. Think about how you can find horses, and the friendships they bring, a place in your life today, so you have a happier, more fulfilling tomorrow.
-Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor