Friday, November 13, 2015


. . . . and Eddy.

My mostest favorite picture of us of all time.

When I first started riding Ashke, I rode a lot with N. Ashke and Cali were at about the same place in their training process and N was fun to hang out with. We talked and laughed and enjoyed being in the barn together. At first, we shared similar goals: ride our ponies, learn how to walk, trot and canter, figure out the newbie, green horse stuff with someone going through the same thing. As Ashke and Cali made progress in their training, our goals and focus shifted. I really love to trail ride and think a 30 minute ride is almost a waste of time. Oh, I'll do it, but I don't have to like it. N loved taking lessons, practicing transitions, getting the right lead in half a step. She wanted to show dressage (that was her goal in 2014) and when Cali turned five, start jumping again. 

Because of how much I enjoyed riding with N, I began to learn dressage and eventually took lessons, which did not turn out well. I started wearing breeches and half-chaps, started working on transitions and riding in a circle. I tried to find the sweet spot, but mostly ended up dreaming about wide open spaces or the obstacles in WE. N rode on trail with me, but it was never really fun for her. I think, in retrospect, she resented the time it took, the people we had to share trail with, the uncontrolled and unexpected nature of being out of an arena. She spent a lot of time angry at me or other trail users. We had issues on every ride until I stopped riding with N.

N and I really didn't have as much in common as I had at first assumed. 

That acknowledgement is what drove us to buy the trailer and J to try riding and ultimately led to us getting her Coyote. She was reacting to my need and desire to explore all of the trails. Having the trailer freed us to go wherever we wanted. She knew how much I loved riding on trail and knew that I would do better in company, and so she stepped up and became a great trail riding partner. 

 Last fall when Eddy was still out of shape and unconditioned.

And then there was K. We had actually ridden together on one of the moonlit rides Michelle and I organized. And we had chatted a couple of times in passing at the barn. I knew that Eddy had dumped her and given her a concussion and that she hadn't ridden for about eight months. We had seen each other in passing, but had not really connected. I bumped into her one day at the barn and the conversation turned to riding and she said something about wanting to trail ride. She wanted to ride trail more than anything in the world and that was her entire reason for buying Eddy. At the time Eddy was a brute with issues: didn't want to load, spooky as shit, didn't want to cross water, more than willing to run over K to get his way. But her willingness to put up with Eddy's shit and explore all the trails made her a kindred spirit.

That was the beginning.

Colorado Trail the second time.

And kindred spirit she is. I have never met anyone so laid back. Oh, trust me, K has an opinion, but she is willing to compromise and is entirely happy with whatever is decided. She never gets upset about anything that happens on the trail. Like the time at Buffalo Creek when we rode 20+ miles and she was so exhausted at the end that she rode J's bike back to the trailer. Or when she got shoved into the barbed wire fence and got all cut up. Or when Eddy laid down in the snow. Or when he laid down in the water. Or when we drove to Dowdy Draw in the cold to ride for a little over an hour and came back to the trailer to discover it was 19 degrees out. It's all part of the adventure.

K is game for anything. This is not necessarily a good thing when combined with my complete disregard for common sense. Thankfully we have J to keep us on the straight and narrow and to rein me in when my need to see what lies over the hill over runs rational thought. And she wants to ride all of the trails, no matter how long it takes. So far we have driven an hour in each direction to get to trailheads, spent hours on trail and driven home with no complaints about time, distance or the ride.

I love how positive and friendly she is. She laughs and talks and shares with both J and I, and is open and friendly to the other trail users we come across. She doesn't get angry and blame me when something goes wrong. And at the end of the ride when we are exhausted and it's taken longer than we expected, or was hotter than expected, or rockier, or just not a lot of fun, she just chalks it up to another adventure. (Adventure by definition can be bad or good.)

We can ride all four seasons together. K has cold weather gear and is willing to brave the wind or snow to get a ride in. She hasn't batted an eye at the thought of doing an archery clinic in late November or riding the Indian Creek trail the Friday after Thanksgiving. She's hoping to move Eddy to the new barn where Ashke will be in the spring and then maybe we can ride the fields in the spring snow.

I also have been very impressed by K's ability to bring Eddy along, given her limited horse experience prior to Eddy. He has become such a solid trail horse and she has been very diligent in riding consistently every week to help him develop the traits she wanted. It's been amazing to watch their connection, Eddy's trust and K's ability as a rider grow over the past year.

K doesn't take J or I for granted. She always lets us know how much she appreciates riding with us and from the very beginning she has given us money for gas. Every time. Without being asked. It is welcomed and much appreciated. We are also the same age, so we share a lot in common, and it has been very comfortable hanging with her and her hubs.
    I think it is difficult to make friends as an adult, especially if you do not live in the community in which you grew up or don't have family in the area. In our case, that difficulty is compounded by our sexual orientation and the fact that we have a son. It's been nice to connect with K and her husband and it's been phenomenal to find a riding partner who so completely matches my riding interests. I can't tell you how happy I am that we stopped that day a year ago to chat in the aisle at the barn about going trail riding.

    Thanks K!!! Here's to lots more trails!
    (ignore the visor. We were having issues that day.)

    1 comment:

    1. Omg, Karen, I'm speechless. Meeting you and Jen has changed my life immeasurably and I'm so grateful for everything you do for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such wonderful sentiments. I love you guys!