Horses as a Common Denominator = Surprising Changes - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Horses as a Common Denominator = Surprising Changes

Been thinking about our new Friendless member and how so many of us wish he... or she... lived closer so we could buddy up and ride... and been thinking about the comments about the age differences.

It put me to thinking about when you have horses, owning and riding, as a hobby or even a lifestyle, how they bring people together. If horses and the love of them is a common denominator? Age, race, religion, politics... none of that matters. At least not enough to stop you from being friends with someone like minded who also rides horses.

They bring people together, they introduce you to new friends of all ages and of varying disciplines.

They can reunite you with old friends you thought long gone out of your life.

I've made so many new friends, both through online groups, trail rider groups, meeting people while camping in the same areas with our horses. They're as young as 11, and as old as mid-70s. Some are 3rd and 4th generation horsemen and horsemoms, they grew up on a horse. Others learned late in life by taking lessons in an arena.

They can and will by necessity, change your life. They change what you do in your free time, and who you do it with. They'll change your body, your health, your circle of friends and IMO, if you do it right, for the better.

I could tell two dozen long winded stories about the people my horses have brought into my life and the ones I've been reunited with. I could talk about how artificial social constructs we all deal with seem to get stripped away when horses come into your life, such as age difference or married women shouldn't be fraternizing with men they aren't married to and vice versa...

But what are YOUR stories? What surprising changes have happened in YOUR circle of friends?

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 04:45 PM
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LOL...we bought this farm and closed in January. The house needed to be remodeled, and fences built. We had met the closest neighbors by March or so.

April or so, one of the neighbors was walking the dog, and we stopped to introduce ourselves. We told him we were building fences because we have horses....they have a mule and a horse, and like to trail ride, but DO NOt ride with that lady down the street....because shes crazy and does that ENDURANCE !!!

I could not look her up on AERC and Arabian Datasource FAST enough!!! The next time we came up, I went down and introduced myself! Weve been riding together for 7 years! Shes 40, Im 60.

I don't break horses, I FIX them!
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 05:05 PM
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This is a fantastic topic! All of us have stories like this to tell. I honestly can't pick one over the other, but I can say that I agree with what you've said. Despite age, gender, ethnicity, etc. We can all bond over the love of the animals and the lifestyle. I have many good friends of all ages because of horses. I've even made good friends on IG who've I've never met before that I've bonded with over horses.

One thing I love about horses is that you have to be yourself around them. Not only do horses show us a lot about ourselves but they by watching someone with their horse, you learn a lot about them as a person too. That tears down the false structures people can raise when making new friends. We have all had those moments where we see how someone treats their horse (or even dog or cat) and we instantly judge who they are by it. Honestly, I trust those judgements. Sharing a lifestyle or hobby with another person gives a sort of satisfaction that cant be recreated falsely.

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 06:59 PM
Green Broke
 
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I was at a horse show one day and a young lady came up and said hello. I didn't recognize her as I hadn't seen her for several years and she was much younger then, a friend of my daughter's. She had a couple of horses and being young I said I would come over and ride with her as I didn't like her riding alone and we did some nice rides. Then I moved away and she called to say she got a lovely young horse to train, again I said I would come over and ride with her as this was the first horse she had started herself.

At the show she said to me that she never realized until years later how much help I gave her when she was starting to ride and didn't know how much she didn't know.


She introduced me to her husband and he asked me if I had ever lived in Markham Ont. This was years earlier and he and his family were visiting friends there and their hosts called to see if they could come over and see the horses, I gave him a ride, he was only about 4 yrs old at the time. He said it was one of the best experiences and he never forgot it.


So there was a person from my past and another one from my even more past. How they met each others I don't know.

A friend of mine said to me once that whenever we go to some horsey affair that I always run into some one that I knew from way back when. I guess that's what happens if you live long enough.
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 07:37 PM
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It is my experience that horse people are incredibly bad listeners, and that they know exactly (a) what you want to say and (b) what the appropriate solution is, about 10 seconds into sharing an experience or anecdote with them. Take today for example. I didn't have a terribly smooth ride with Hamlet (not a disaster either, just a training ride rather than a tourist ride I'd kind of have enjoyed more today), and I told BO's daughter about it, as she asked how my ride was. Shortly after beginning to relate my story, she told me the "solution": It's the spring air. It makes horses a little crazy.

To back up her thesis, she related to me that BO's stallion tried to lunge at her over the fence. Yeah, well...I don't know what her relationship with that horse is, but when he sees me, he comes bouncing to the fence from wherever he is, and if he's a little fast in the approach, I put up my hand to stop him. He always stops with his nose on his side of the fence, and then he inquires whether I brought any goodies for him, so no - in my experience, this horse has not been made crazy by the spring air. But at that time, I really wasn't in the mood anymore for a conversation...seeing that she knew exactly what's going on...so I let it drop.

This is just one example, but an example that repeated itself again and again, from barn to barn. So no, I tend not to interact with other horse people in person. At least here, you gotta let me finish my story before you get to butt in!
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
...At least here, you gotta let me finish my story before you get to butt in!
Are you done? I've got something to say. Just kidding.

The people you describe are a dime a dozen. You kind of have to sort through those to find the good horse people. There are a lot of good horse people who are on here because they actually want to listen, learn and share experiences.

You can spot a good horse person at a barn or on a ride because they are always watching. The rest of the crowd will do their own thing and they don't care what you are doing with your horse. The real horse person sidles up and watches (unless their own horse is keeping them occupied), trying to see what you're doing with the horse and how it's working out for you. Their lips will remain sealed except for maybe some polite greetings, until they see you are really struggling, and that's when they may offer to try something with the horse for/with you, or ask you a question that might lead you to a different tactic.

I think a sign of a good horse person is that they will offer you an idea for a possible solution, but as a suggestion and not an absolute. Such as, they might suggest the horses are energetic from the nicer weather, but then offer to ride out with you for a gallop the next day to help with the energy.

Relating to the topic, I find that horses can often be a real equalizer. As someone said, a person's skills and abilities with a horse are not easily bluffed and you are who you are. I've gone out with people like doctors and some who walk around owning the world normally, but with the horses they needed reassurances and instruction on how to be confident and assertive.

It's been common for me to ride with people who have extremely different views about a lot of things in life based on what they post online. Yet I wouldn't know that otherwise, because that is unimportant out riding. I've discovered that sometimes the younger riders in teens and twenties can be more timid and the older riders can be rather bold. When we're with the horses, age doesn't matter, and if you can't handle the horse or situation or have talked yourself up, this quickly becomes apparent.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
It is my experience that horse people are incredibly bad listeners, and that they know exactly (a) what you want to say and (b) what the appropriate solution is, about 10 seconds into sharing an experience or anecdote with them. Take today for example. I didn't have a terribly smooth ride with Hamlet (not a disaster either, just a training ride rather than a tourist ride I'd kind of have enjoyed more today), and I told BO's daughter about it, as she asked how my ride was. Shortly after beginning to relate my story, she told me the "solution": It's the spring air. It makes horses a little crazy.

To back up her thesis, she related to me that BO's stallion tried to lunge at her over the fence. Yeah, well...I don't know what her relationship with that horse is, but when he sees me, he comes bouncing to the fence from wherever he is, and if he's a little fast in the approach, I put up my hand to stop him. He always stops with his nose on his side of the fence, and then he inquires whether I brought any goodies for him, so no - in my experience, this horse has not been made crazy by the spring air. But at that time, I really wasn't in the mood anymore for a conversation...seeing that she knew exactly what's going on...so I let it drop.

This is just one example, but an example that repeated itself again and again, from barn to barn. So no, I tend not to interact with other horse people in person. At least here, you gotta let me finish my story before you get to butt in!
Ride farther apart. Then you can't hear them when they interrupt.

Short horse lover
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Ride farther apart. Then you can't hear them when they interrupt.
Yeah, for riding I do that. It usually ends up amounting to a 8-24 head start, for me or them.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-20-2019, 08:54 PM
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The really sad thing is, in my community, all the horse people are VERY divided. Everyone from every stable seems to think that everyone from every OTHER stable is crazy or does everything wrong. It wasn't like that with the people I rode with, growing up. I do know that where I live now, the wage gap is HUGE and while I don't think it necessary leads to the "clique" phenomenon that you'd think it would, it does lead to quiet resentment between the horse people.

As with many disciplines, with horses there's the phenomenon of "the more you know, the more you know you don't know," and the most popular lesson/boarding barn in the area is also the least skilled and most dangerous. (I know this firsthand because I rode there for two months before I knew better.) My current instructor is a big believer in teaching in slow and thorough ways, in private or semi-private lessons, but because she doesn't just let kids hop on and bomb around unsupervised, her barn is less popular. She has just a few core regular students, and we don't tend to overlap our time very much. It makes for a very solo experience riding there, though I do really enjoy the company of my instructor, and I have a great relationship with her. My riding has come a lot farther than it would have in big group lessons and I'm able to ride (when I'm fit and riding regularly, haha) with a finesse and understanding that I've never had before.

However! I have made a few nice social connections in the area, through horses, that I really should explore further. I know two really nice women who are generally up for having a trail riding buddy, and they have decent horses who take good care of you. It's a nice change from technical riding in the ring -- just hitting up the trails and getting some sunshine. We don't see eye to eye on a lot of political and social matters, and that has always mattered a lot to me, but if we can just shut up on those topics we can enjoy a nice ride. And shutting up is sometimes a skill worth developing.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 10:45 AM
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"but if we can just shut up on those topics we can enjoy a nice ride. And shutting up is sometimes a skill worth developing. "


very true - there is benefit to agreeing to disagree and just move on, if other areas of the friendship are positive. Pretty much all of my social circle are horse people, I am a farrier and since we moved to a new province pretty much all the people other than my husband's coworkers that I meet are horsey.
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