Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, I love where I live. I am a 1/2 hour from my work in Lincoln and about that from west Omaha. City close, country fresh. Branched Oak, Pawnee Lake, Oak Creek, Two Rivers and Camp Moses are all thirty miles or less from me, so I don’t have to trailer far to meet friends and ride some nice trails. But what I do miss out here is having someone close enough to ride with; someone I don’t have to trailer to meet; someone I can meet at the two mile marker, ride a section or so and head on home.
Now granted, I don’t mind hopping on Windy and riding an hour or so by myself. I have done it for years and it’s a great way to unwind. But upping the ante and increasing miles for the Distance Derby is no fun by myself. I read about others riding together and admittedly I am a bit green with envy that they have folks in their neighborhood or family members who will ride. I can maybe get John to ride with me for an hour or so every other weekend when the moon is in the second house and Jupiter aligns with Mars….. The boys won’t ride anymore at all, it seems.
I have four nice saddle horses that anyone who knows how to ride could ride. Its crossed my mind to post an ad on Craig’s List. “Wanted: Horseless horsewoman to become my riding buddy. Must know how to ride, be over 35 years of age and close to my size and weight. Need help putting miles on stale horses. Can't be afraid to walk/trot/canter. ” That’s the criteria.
Now what scares me is getting the call from a middle aged woman who hasn’t been on a horse in 35 years and prior to that only rode an uncle’s plow horse on the trip to his farm every third year. Or the mom of four kids whose 12 year old daughter has always loved horses and just needs someone to teach them but can’t afford it because mom is on disability and dad is not in the picture and oh, by the way, they don’t have a car, either. Or a rider much heavier than any of my horses, but Baby or including Baby, can comfortably carry. Or a man threatening discrimination because he knows how to ride and why do I only want to ride with other women? (I don’t think John would be too keen on me advertising for a man to come ride with me.)
I want that person who is around my age, give or take a generation and dress size and had horses all her life, or a good portion of it, and for some reason no longer has a horse. Someone who is not afraid to ride and a fairly decent hand and has a few hours a day or two a week to burn and will come ride the roads with me. This person must own a pair of boots and aren’t too proud to wear a helmet and aren’t afraid to get out and move. Oh, and they must be punctual. I have no time to wait. Or better yet, someone who lives close enough that I can call at the spur of the moment and say, “Let’s ride!” and they are game.
But how do you interview for that? How do you tell someone they are not a good enough rider or they are too heavy to ride my horse? And what if it doesn’t work out; that you don’t like the way they ride or you don’t click with that person? Friends are found usually quite by accident, not application.
So unless one of my friends moves into the neighborhood, (and I did get hopeful a few times!), I ride alone. I know, I'm whining. And I am grateful I have a horse that will leave the farm without much angst and that I trust miles from home. It would just be fun to occasionally share it with someone.