best riding friend

When I started riding with Alana, it was in lessons with a friend of mine from graduate school.  I ended up being an adult among many juniors, like, for real young juniors, kids who rode for fun and did a great job but were kids.

Thug Pony Lyfe

I started taking semi-private lessons with the aforementioned friend and after two lessons Alana said “look, you don’t necessarily need more weekly lessons, you need more saddle time.” ¬†So I started leasing Mighty, a twelve-ish year old ottb who was well-known for taking care of students and generally being a really solid guy.

I met my to-be Riding Best Friend (we will call her RBF from now on for ease of typing for tipsy Nicole), when she started¬†taking a semi-private lesson with me. ¬†I wasn’t super confident about riding at the time, but when I met her I apparently said “I’m¬†sooooooooooo glad there’s another adult here I can talk to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(Writer disclaimer: I have had a lot of gin and I don’t remember this moment at all, regardless of the gin I just had!!! ¬†However, I do recall being very excited to have a new riding friend.)

It didn’t take many lessons for RBF and I to start riding together outside of lessons to. ¬†We would coordinate our lease rides so that we could sit the trot or canter without stirrups together, and then bitch about the pain and the glory of it. ¬†You know how some¬†people are just totally easy to ride with? ¬†You just stay out of each others’ way and don’t have to worry about what the other person is doing, and can even work together? ¬†That’s what riding with RBF is like!

might bigger“Mighty Adonis” an ottb better known as “Mighty Mouse”, when we jumped 3’3″ for the first time

So then I went to live in Kenya for the summer and do some pilot research, and RBF stayed home and honed her dressage skyllz. ¬†I did¬†not hone any riding skills in this time, and when I came home I started¬†leasing a new horse. ¬†Quincy was going to teach me a¬†lot about riding, I just didn’t know it yet.

Quincy is like “No, Nicole, dressage is NOT for you right now.”

RBF and I could¬†no longer¬†take lessons together, which was sad, because we were at totally different levels. ¬†I was back to jumping 2’3″-2’6″ and learning how to get stronger and straighter and avoid runouts on a horse that wasn’t going to do it all for me, and RBF was training for Novice level with her horse. ¬†But we still drove out to the barn together all the time, and I somehow ended up watching a lot of her lessons. ¬†I had way more free time then.

derb hugeRBF’s horse in his first day back in “work” after six weeks off for sarcoid removal.

After two more years apart — I went and did research for a year and came back, RBF moved away for a year and came back — we¬†still ride together all the time. ¬†We would send one another dressage articles¬†constantly, and were always chatting about our ponies’ progress.

Why do I love riding with RBF so much? ¬†It’s always fun, even when it’s a hard ride or a bad ride. ¬†We put things in perspective for one another, and can reflect on our rides together. ¬†We can be helpful¬†during our rides, or before or after them, and I think we’ve both learned a lot from one another. ¬†We have the same philosophy, make fun of ourselves for the same things, and of other people, and we’re always there in a pinch. ¬†Last month when Murray squashed me in the wash rack and then bolted when I was trying to poultice him, RBF was on the other side of the stables when she saw Murray loose and¬†immediately ran over to the wash racks because she knew it was nothing good. ¬†Then she poulticed and wrapped my renegade demon horse, after wrapping me with an ice pack!

Everyone should be so lucky as to have an RBF as good as mine!