friends and companions

Yesterday I loaded Tarma up (we’re down to under five minutes with plenty of side eye and resentful alfalfa snatching once aboard) and drove up to my friend’s house for pony pedicure day. The farrier was late, as he saves this barn for last. We don’t mind as it gives us time to play in the sunshine, and celebrate King’s 27th birthday! We all hopped on in our awesome bareback pads from Brockamp (seriously, the best out there and super pretty colors!) The range of riding ability is from “working on steering, trying not to fall off” (yours truly), to cantering around on a loose rein.

Tarma immediately engaged in a vicious attack on my friend, when she discovered said friend’s treat pocket. Tarma even licked her! We had great fun teasing my other friend’s mare, who is deeply, fully in love with Tarma, who is, sadly, rather indifferent to it. Seriously, Rue almost peed on me in her desire to show Tarma her availability.

Once the farrier was done with Tarma (feet are looking good, no news is good news!), I set her up with her hay, alfalfa and supplements for the night and drove home, leaving her for a sleepover with Rue at my friend’s barn without hesitation. She’s happily turned out in my friend’s side pasture while I finish up some work at home, and we’re planning on riding together this afternoon (after the obligatory visit to the newly opened tack store near me!)

It’s that “without hesitation” part that I linger on today. Its due to these friends (and super supportive husband), that I have Tarma (and had Flash) at all. This group of friends are the kind you wish for, sometimes without knowing it. Of all the things I’m proud of in life, building this supportive, open, flexible (and let’s be honest, occasionally enabling) set of relationships ranks top among them.

We’ve gone through the loss of beloved friends, family members and pets; bounced marital arguments and misconceptions and worries off each other (and each other’s spouses); navigated our children’s struggles and triumphs and grey areas; dealt with family upheaval; been refugees of a sort in each other’s homes; eaten delicious food and dug into some seriously raunchy games of Cards Against Humanity; built fence, painted ceilings and driven thousands of miles; ridden ponies and fretted over ponies and spent oodles of money on ponies; stared at our phones in mutual silence and utter exhaustion; slept in a stall while holding vigil for a beautiful palomino gelding; given and received the occasional cold shoulder; made up and disagreed and flexed and flexed again to support everyone’s goals and low points and every day aggravations.

Even aside from the pandemic, these past few years have been hard ones for us all. From pigeon fever to pregnancy to abscesses and ulcers and truck woes, we’ve supported each other and worked together and just now, at least, we’re starting to ride together and adventure again. It feels like we’re finally on the cusp of a solid summer, but even speaking such hope aloud is like saying “quiet” in an ER or a firehouse…unwise and inviting more chaos and delays and worries.

I do hold out hope despite knowing the universe keeps churning, dragging us along with it. The world is a hard place with serious reckoning due, and dreaming of a summer of riding and camping and friends seems naïve and is privileged; and yet. Whatever comes, I’m proud of my friends, and I know we’ll do our best to face it, to handle and work it and enjoy together.

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After years of borrowing horses, working to ride and catch riding, I finally have my own horse, a spicy chocolate mare...but also a demanding day job (who doesn't?), a nerdy husband, a soccer loving kid who needs to be parented (by me, duh), and the ultimate trail buddy, a chocolate Labradork!

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