Feb 18, 2012

All By Myself

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.

ride wJohn 028

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.



  1. This sounds like a real dilemma. I'd be cautious about all the thumbs down scenarios you listed but my biggest concern would be if someone got hurt riding one of my horses and sued me. In this day and age you could really lose a lot.

    I wonder if when you start riding with a group again someone may know someone by word of mouth sort of thing would find a companion rider. A rider who could be vouched for by others. Otherwise, maybe you could just make the boys do it, like it or not. Probably not...

    Love the road you're riding on, wish we had roads around here like that. It looks so inviting.

  2. This post sounds like me! I find myself riding alone quite a bit of the time, and the roads are my trails. I am 46, have had horses all my life (grew up on a ranch in the sandhills), my husband doesn't ride, and my daughter doesn't have much time to ride during the school year. I love your enthusiasm and your ability to put the on-going action into words. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Too bad my Mom didn't live in your area. She would totally be up for a ride once or twice a week. She loves good company and never says no to a canter.

    And I also want to say thank you for the really nice comment you left on my blog way back in November. Apparently I wasn't receiving notifications from comments, so I only just now saw it. It makes me feel good to know others can see the progress Bear and I are making. It has been fun, and I can't wait to see where things go in the future.

    Good luck getting some riding companions.

  4. Perhaps hang something at your tack/feed store? Or go to the ACTHA website, you don't have to be a member to find riding buddies located in your area.

  5. You should do it. When my daughter was a baby, I was tired of walking to the park all by myself so I put a sign up in the supermarket looking for other mothers to go to the park with and I met a couple of women who turned into friends. I had the same problem in Virginia--having no one to ride with. I'm sorry but it gets boring after a while. I put a sign up on the bulletin board outside the convenience store looking for someone to ride with and offered my arena for them to use. I did attract one person. I also met tons of riding buddies when I was living in New Jersey the first time when I joined a local group that was trying to preserve trails and open space. We'd often meet at the mile marker. In fact, I had a set date with a few of them every Friday morning for a trail ride. I'm still close friends with those women to this day.

    This is what you do since you're offering your horse. That's the tricky part. You have to protect your horse. Tell everyone who responds that you are going to go out on a ride with everyone once and then you are going to put all the names in a hat. You're really not going to do that but you can tell them you are so you don't have to hurt anyone's feelings if someone comes who is, let's say large, and bounces on your horse's back. Then, if you decide later that you don't get along with this person after all, just say the horse has some kind of lameness. It's a lie but it's a good lie because you're doing it so you don't hurt anyone's feelings and God allows those lies, lol.

  6. Thanks for your comments. Lots of options; lots of concerns. The thing is, if I want to trailer, I don't have to look far to find someone to ride with. But by the time you get the trailer hooked up, drive, come back, clean it out, I've burned another 2 hours for what was probably just a few hour ride anyway. That is why I would like to have someone to ride with here.

    I am planning to schedule Wednesday night rides in my county so perhaps this will open some new doors. Like Arlene said, the liability of having someone ride my horses is great and something to be concerned about, but if I do go that next step, I like Debi's process of elimination. :)

  7. Finding a good riding buddy is a common dilemma. Keep networking amongst your riding friends and I bet someone will know someone. I hope you can find the right person to fill one of your saddles. The liability issue would concern me too. I wonder if you can have them sign a waiver or hold-harmless agreement of some sort.

    You have a beautiful area in which to ride.

  8. Yeah, that's part of the reason I didn't have anyone to ride with in Virginia. Because I had to trailer everywhere. Not worth it when you only have a couple of hours to squeeze in a ride.

    Hang one of those liability signs up they have for all states, plus make them sign something. Then stress you are not insured, even if you are, AND require proof of their own health insurance. A lot of work but could be worth it.

  9. I still can't get over my luck on this point. When Brian and I married I thought it was great that he supported my desire to have a horse. Now he has his own, and last year he spent more time in the saddle than I did! I almost never ride alone anymore.

    When I was younger I rode with my sister. But I also did manage to find some good riding buddies in college (mostly just through luck). I agree with your other commenters that a signed legal agreement and a trial run would be requirements. Since they are your horses, you have every right to be picky about who handles them. :)

  10. I hear you - when I first moved out here I was lucky enough to happen across someone who needed her horses ridden (but didn't ride) and a colleague who was ready and willing to come ride with me - and incredibly generous with introductions to the horsey community out here, her trailer, and her friendship in non-horsey areas, as well. I'm still lucky to have the first woman in my life, but she still doesn't ride. And health issues have forced the second woman to quit riding entirely. While we've stayed good friends, I've lost my riding buddy. I have other friends who ride, but their schedules don't match my own as well as I might like... for now I'm thankful that I have some to ride with at least occasionally. But I do like your idea of posting an ad!

  11. You are definitely not alone in your dilemma. Really enjoyed the post. Thanks

  12. Hi! I may be able to help out-- I'm 44, I have a horse, but can't ride out in the country. I just ride in Pioneers Park here in Lincoln, but want to get the feel of really being out away from it all. I don't have a trailer, but would be happy to ride one of your horses. I'm about your size, but shorter, and just love to ride. Call me or email me if you like...Mary 450-7230 or maryborakove@gmail.com

  13. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Thanks for posting!!

    I can't seem to find anyone that is close enough to me to ride with either.

    I actually did create a posting on Craigslist a couple of years ago looking for a riding buddy but that did not pan out.

    My idea was to give free board to 1 horse in exchange for a riding buddy that had a horse trailer.

  14. Anonymous6:45 PM

    I posted for a horseback riding buddy...but no luck. I don't have a truck and horse trailer so that limits me in meeting new people. I assume most people would not want to come by and pick me up to go for a ride (even though I would pay for half of the gas).

    I went to the ACTHA website but I don't see where I sign up for a horseback riding buddy if I don't want to be a member.

    Thanks for posting. It seems like a good many people are in the same situation.


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