Well, things have been busy here. I had my birthday, my dads 88th birthday, a house full of daughters and nieces, and two of my dearest and oldest friends came for visits. I ordered new products that decry Rollkur for the itsnotforsissies store. I have not ridden in a month. Its been hot! But now the guests are gone (waah!), the nieces and daughters are all back in school (waah!), the weather has changed for the better (yay!), the Olympics are over (more on that later), and things are getting back to as normal as they ever get here at Kogler Haus.
There are always a ton of things to write about; I want to get back to Bryan; I want to start to share the stories of some of the other boys; I want to talk about therapies and riding position and attitudes and all of the things that horse girls can talk about at length, but I think today I will talk about my friends.
I have lots of really wonderful friends. I have been very blessed that way. I have friends across lots of groups; school friends, camp friends, piano friends (I played and taught for many years), garden friends, history friends, work friends. I love and appreciate them all. But maybe since so much of my life has been horse based, my horse friends just seem to be the ones I see the most, and treasure the deepest.
Karen and I met at the barn I took lessons at when we were 13. My parents had moved from the house where we kept the horse in the yard, to a house with a pool. They let me take lessons at a local hunter/jumper barn to make up for selling my horse. Karen was there too. We cleaned stalls and tack and built jumps and slept at the barn and ditched school and went to horse shows. We rode together and squabbled together and traveled together. We painted the whole barn together in exchange for *one lesson each* and considered it time well spent. We weeded neighbors together to get money for extra lessons and horse stuff. We drove horses for Hap from San Diego to Indoors. We have had adventures and misadventures. I can not see her for years, and when I do, we fall right back in to the happy team we always were. She came to visit me two weeks ago; it was miserably hot; I had had surgery on my mouth and was miserable; she helped me clean stalls, feed, we visited my Dad and she cheerfully folded his laundry with me. Throughout, we laughed and talked and worked, just like when we were 13. Karen saved my chickens from a coyote, screaming like a banshee and chasing it with a pitchfork. She got bitten by one of my cats. What a vacation! >;->
Kathy moved in across the street from me when we were 12. Her dad raised and trained appys and POAs. I had a backyard horse. We were inseperable. Riding bareback through the river bottom, jumping all the neighbors backyard furniture double, racing the ponies along the farm roads, roman riding (or not!) Falling off either together or separately. Saddles were for sissies! Her dad took us to horse auctions. We rode for hours and hours and hours, either laughing like maniacs the whole time, or talking the serious things that 12 and 15 and twenty yr olds talk about. We'd be so dirty our moms would make us strip outside and hose us off before allowing us in the house.
She came the week after Karen. Same. Miserably hot, we did stalls, we carried hay, and we laughed. She brought her 11 yr old grandaughter, and she and I bathed, clipped, swept. Kathy has allergies and though she sneezed and dripped, she was right in there. We laughed like maniacs at the memories of laughing like maniacs. We made some great new memories with Elizabeth. My fly system broke, and we totally could not figure it out, but oh, did we giggle trying. We watched horse videos on line and talked and laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
And so. Now everybody is gone. I am still laughing at the silly things we did. Man, I miss them. Is it that horse girls just find each other, and are bound by the same love with which we love our horses? Is it just a shared interest? Or is that the work the horses entail creates situations wherein deep and lasting friendships can flourish? I don't know. It doesn't really matter I guess. I just know that cleaning stalls with Karen and Kathy (and Elizabeth) was just as pleasant and cheering at 56 that it was at 12. There were just as many things to talk about and just as many things to laugh about. A real friend hoses you off when you're sprayed with fly spray from a broken fly system. A real friend gets hay all down her sweaty cleavage while she helps you feed in her good clothes and doesn't mind it. A real friend goes along to visit your elderly dad and helps you clean your stalls in the heat and hunts for your cat in the dark, alone, and is as fun to be with now as she was 45 years ago. As much as I treasure all my friends, I think my horse friends are the ones I love the most.
I have made new horse friends since then, in college, and as an adult, and now in my new town. They are of different backgrounds, economic groups, political persuasions, and genders. But what they all have in common is a willingness to help with chores, an ability to see the bright side in any crisis, and every one of them knows when to laugh, and when to cheer, and when to support, and when to and how to help.
Maybe it *is* a horse thing. Regardless, how wonderful it is to have these life long horse friends in my life. And oh, how I miss them when they go home.