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!


11 thoughts on “best riding friend”

  1. aww yay for best riding friend!! (switched to brf to avoid confusion with resting bitch face lol). i am SO EXCITED to have a friend who’s been riding with me lately – it can make all the difference for motivation and moral support and enabling/peer pressure in the best possible way 🙂


  2. I loved this post! I have a RBF but she moved about an hour away a couple years ago, though we still get together and ride as much as possible! She’s moving REALLY far away for vet school this summer… I don’t know what I’m going to do!!


  3. I love you both! I’m so blessed to be able to not only play with horses all day long but to also get to hang out with some of the best people ever! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a lovely tribute to your RBF. I used to have a couple in Chicago and later in Pasadena with my previous horse (show name: Adonis). I need to get me one of those now at my new barn. I ride around 6 and it seems that’s late. But I did have a group lesson with a 16 year old and probably a 50-something year old this week. It was fun!🐴

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is pretty much my dressage instructor and I. I take lessons from her but really we’re good friends and we ride together when she isn’t giving me a lesson. We always have a great time out hacking and I have learned SO much from her in lessons. She has helped my dressage immensely on both of my mares.

    I also have another friend here that is super fun to ride with. We don’t have to worry about things like each other not being able to handle our own horse if the other one takes off at a gallop. We always have a blast where ever we go!


  6. I would be in so much trouble without my RBF — seriously clutch in and out of the barn. She rocked as my maid of honor too 😀


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