I was asked last weekend to braid a mane for a friend at a horse show, something I haven’t done in a few years to say the least, but I was excited for the opportunity to test my muscle memory. It turned out she didn’t need the mane done after all, it was a smaller show, but that didn’t matter. As I walked down the stall aisle looking for my friend, I ran into several more. I’m not sure why that surprised me, given how long I showed, and despite how many years since, but it turned into a mini-reunion.
Like any circle of friends, the relationships ebb and flow with time like ocean waves, but they never go away. All the usual conversations picked up right where they left off, however many years ago. I was smart to rely on muscle memory too. As one friend gathered his things to head to the warm-up area, I looked for the ring supplies and remembered to hold the off-side stirrup so he could mount without pulling his saddle over on his head. I thought of all the things people had always done for me, unrolling chaps, brushing legs and tails, holding and grabbing this and that. It all came right back, like I’d only been doing it the weekend before. It felt good.
No matter where your path goes, there’s a feeling of continuity that cannot be fabricated. You can always go home again, especially when home is a steamy weekend at a horse show with good friends.
Ladies posting groupies on social media, take note, here are a few #squadgoals with real value…
To the late nights getting dirtier as our horses got cleaner, and the early mornings hooking up rigs in the quiet darkness. To the clothes full of tiny clipped hairs, the blisters and eventually arthritis in worn fingers from many a banded or braided mane. To the horses with better clothes, nicer shoes, and newer rides than we could have ever wanted, but always put on the back burner. To the dirt, the sweat, the smeared makeup, the blood, the elbow grease and all the liniment and painkillers you can lay your hands on. To your favorite piece of jewelry being your custom spurs, to knowing how to survive a trip to the bathroom after putting chaps on, to memorizing patterns, countless hours of prep for that two minute ride, and for never imagining how life could be any better. Cheers to you all, my friends, I love you!