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Equestrian Advice & Guides Beginners Advice
No matter what you’re doing, it’s pretty well known that friends make everything that little bit more enjoyable. After all, why do something alone when you can share the experience with those close to you and make memories that you can look back on in the future? What’s more, if you add a horse or two into the mix, you can double the fun!
With a shared knowledge and, most of all, a passion for horses, equestrians often tend to gravitate towards one another (shout out to everyone who has seen someone else wearing an Ariat polo shirt or yard boots whilst out in public and instantly had their “fellow horsey person” radar triggered). So it’s not too surprising that, when you befriend like-minded horse lovers, they can often become some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Here’s why…
Down the yard at 6:30am to feed the horses? Back again in the evening to do it all again? It’s a fairly safe bet that, if you can’t locate an equestrian, you’ll find them at the stables, or at least somewhere nearby. It’s also a pretty safe bet that you, as an equestrian yourself, will probably be there too. Having horsey friends as company whilst doing some of the more mundane jobs involved in owning equines definitely makes it all a bit more fun. Plus, nothing else bonds you quite like shovelling up horse poop together on the daily!
Whilst we may all enjoy stepping back from the yard boots and the hay (that gets everywhere!) once in a while, it’s often the case that nothing beats a fun-filled day out with the horses, whether you’re off competing somewhere or heading out for a canter around the countryside. Having horsey friends who are just as excited for it as you, makes it all the more fun. Why go somewhere alone when you can bring your horsey pal, split the cost and make a day of it together?
Stay-away shows stand out to me as one of the most fun activities to do with friends and your horses; there’s something really special and unique about meeting up with someone from miles away, stabling your horses next to each other and alternating between competing and riding out leisurely exploring the grounds, before coming together in the evenings to sit under a blanket on the ramp of the horse lorry and eat takeaway food. When the idea of that sounds more appealing than a weekend break in the city centre, it’s pretty clear you are an equestrian!
No matter how amazing our own equine friends may be, there’s always something exciting and intriguing about riding a new horse and most of us have found ourselves wondering at some point what it would be like to ride a friend’s horse (especially the fancy one that prances around like a mini Valegro, or the one with a jump that could rival the likes of Big Star.) Luckily for us, most equestrian friendships involve a “horse swap” at one point or another – because we just can’t resist it – meaning you can find out what their horse feels like to ride after all (and then come sheepishly back to your own horse to beg for his forgiveness because you betrayed him by riding another horse… a couple of carrots usually does the job!)
For all the fun that horse riding can bring, there are always low points and times when you might even feel scared, especially when doing something new or something that you or your horse has little experience with. Nobody understands what that feels like quite like another equestrian does, because we’ve all been through it at some point.
This makes an equestrian friend the perfect person to accompany you and talk you through your difficulties – they might even have some top tips from their own experience that they can share with you! I can honestly say that some of the most helpful and personal advice I’ve been given has come from friends that are fellow riders. However, the real epitome of an equestrian friendship is how well you understand one another in the good times. After all, you never truly know the feeling of pure elation once you’ve completed a full course of jumps, or the pride you get when you teach your horse something and he learns it, until you’ve experienced it yourself. Being able to share that with friends who have the same goals and passion as you is something truly like no other, especially when it’s something that has been a long time coming, and something that you’ve put endless amounts of hard work into.
The language of the equestrian is, to an outsider, strange and sometimes incomprehensible. What is “a green moment” anyway, and why does that horse “need more leg”? The lexicon of horsey people can be confusing to non-equestrians, that’s for sure, but there’s something simplistic and blissful about talking in a (bad pun alert) unbridled manner about your equine antics to someone who understands what you mean, and not having to explain the meaning behind your nuanced phraseology. After all, it’s all common parlance to us horsey folk!
So, those are my five reasons as to why I think that horsey friends are some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Having been an equestrian since the age of four, I’ve spent most of my life so far allowing it to revolve mostly around horses and, like many other people, I’ve managed to build up a lovely group of friends and acquaintances that make my horse riding journey even more enjoyable. Whether they’re people that I know personally from growing up at the same livery yard, or people that I’ve met online through my Instagram platform (@mycrazyponies_x), every friend that I make within the equestrian community is just another reason to be thankful that I am a part of it. I’ve met some amazing people that I would have never known if I hadn’t reached out to them in one way or another.
I suppose the key message here is to be kind and supportive to everyone, no matter their circumstances or your differences. Reach out to people, because you never know what great friendships could come out of that gesture or what happiness it could bring to someone’s life, even if it's something as simple as a kind comment on one of their pictures.