|You can see where his pasture buddy took a pretty major chomp out of him above his elbow|
Not only was Midnight a perfect gentleman (despite some unplanned canter as we trotted up a hill), just the concept of having barn buddies to hack out with is just awesome to me. Yes, I've had barn friends, but for one reason or another, especially through college as I flip-flopped between barns depending on the time and money I had available, the barn has never felt so much like a second home to me as it does now.
I don't know how many of you can relate, but growing up I didn't really go to the barn to make friends. I had group lessons once a week at a very fancy hunter/jumper barn where many of the girls my age had $100k show ponies, and I always felt like I was on the lower tier. I felt lucky just to ride at all, but it always seemed like they were progressing faster than I was, going to shows all the time, wearing Tailored Sportsmans, and generally forming this amazing Saddle Club-like clique that I couldn't be a part of without my own horse.
When I did start free-leasing a horse, and I was at the barn more often, I realized that it was just that--a snobbish clique--but for many years my main motivation for going to the barn was to avoid human interaction and just hang out with my horse. Can you tell I
Anyway, I know it's still early days yet, but I feel so at home at this barn. The facilities are great (can you say indoor sprinkler system?), there are a bunch of amazingly talented riders (eventers going Intermediate, dressage riders going Grand Prix--no I am not kidding), yet everyone is incredibly nice and while I'm sure there are little barn dramas here and there, it's a really relaxed environment. People hang out and drink beer and box wine while watching lessons...I am in love.
The only difficult aspect (*coughcoughhumblebrag*) is trying not to compare myself to a lot of the boarders who seem to be always taking lessons with prestigious trainers, and going off to all kinds of shows and events. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm only 23 and I (perhaps stupidly) chose to work in publishing. Maybe I should have gone the medical route and got a job at NIH like so many of the boarders seem to have done (seriously, it's weird how many of them work there). But with the money I have now, the half-lease works out well, and I can afford it comfortably while still paying rent, bills and loans, plus saving, investing, and eating. I'm lucky that the lessons here are way cheaper than the ones I was doing before, so that I can do one a week. I'm doing this for fun...I can work up to being able to afford all the extras.
Sorry if this post was mushy. I had to humblebrag somewhere.
BTW, nice article over at New York magazine about those of us who never grew out of the horse thing.
AND...forgot to mention that this weekend I am taking a reining lesson out with a friend of mine who rides Western. Should be interesting!