My Barn Side Kick and I trail riding in Brown County State Park
I recently came across this great article: 10 Reasons Your Teenage Daughter Needs a Horse By Hannah Broaddus and it got me thinking about when I was taken under the wing of wonderful Horse Women and how, now, I get to pay it forward to Horse Girls. I knew the Horse Women in my life were gracious beyond my wildest dreams- taking me on adventures and teaching me the Ways Of The Horse World, but I never knew how much I meant to them (I hope!) until now. My Barn Girl self looks around Little Red Farm here and it is more than what I even dreamed when I was yet a wee Barn Girl. I have dogs, chickens, cats and of course- horses- a plenty that faithfully ride, jump, drive and anything else I seem to throw at them- and a cozy trailer to get us there. If you asked my Wee Barn Girl of yore if I would have ever slowed down or stopped my Barn Adventure Shenanigans I would have looked at you like you had two heads- especially not when there is a truck and trailer hooked up in the driveway begging for the open road. Unfortunately, Wee Barn Girl didn’t know about Life- the kind of Life that makes you watch the horses out the window while you do the dishes, or laundry, or cook, or clean, or rear the children, or are just plum too tired to do anything but look out the window at the horses. However, there is a remedy- the elixir of life for this Old Horse Woman called: Your Teenage Daughter – to us as our newly minted Horse Girl.
Without further ado, here is 10 Reasons Old Horse Women Need Your Teenage Daughter To Have A Horse (Or at least want to ride one of my fat ones!)
1. They call you up with that spark in their voice (ok, or text you) wondering just what ARE you doing on this glorious day?
The answer to that, my dear Virginia, is now taking you on a trail ride, or teaching you how to drive a horse or getting covered in mud having horse Spa Day and having so much fun that who cares if the dishes aren’t done and the laundry is unfolded. Remember? That’s what night time and winter is for- not beautiful Perfect Fall Days with a gentle breeze and the sun warming our faces. Starting to remember Old Horse Woman?
2. The Horse Girl’s enthusiasm is contagious, they remind you just WHY you love horses again.
That first time galloping up a trail, that first time popping and oxer, that first time stepping into the box and picking up the driving reins for the open road – we get to relive it through our Horse Girls- and its just as much fun that second time around as it was the first. We get caught up in their enthusiasm and everyone has a better time because of it. Those proverbial Glass Half Full creatures they can be!
3. Their Fun Ideas… or excitement at your Fun ideas.
Drive into town and get milkshakes for dinner? Only the best idea ever in their eyes, what were you going to make Old Horse Woman? A sensible salad? Remember when the world kept turning even though you had fun? You’re catching on.
4. Their Undying Gratitude-
See- the best Horse Girls have it figured out- They are abundantly thankful for the opportunities to go for a twilight trail ride or ride your horse or, even, take their Own Horse somewhere its never been- they are an outpouring of gratitude- which- in turn leads to the Old Horse Woman feeling Very Heartwarmed Indeed so they just want to afford every opportunity to Horse Girl. Thus leading to more adventures for both the Horse Girl and the Old Horse Woman. Vicious cycle. It also reminds the Old Horse Woman how lucky she is as well.
5. Becoming that Horse Woman role model at the Barn and in Life.
The article had it right- the Horse Girls are going to talk to someone- and would you rather it be a non- responsible girl at school or a Horse Woman who knows about Hard Work and its Big Reward? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know what Hard Work, staying in school and being a good person got me, and I’m happy to share those tid-bits as we’re ambling down a trail. Horse Girls seem to have it figured out too- they mostly dont concern themselves with trivial nonsense at school because the barn chores and its subsequent fun are waiting.
6. Teaching Learned Responsibility AKA: Training, Grasshopper, Training.
Even though I think I’m a pretty Fun Old Horse Woman (even though I need a kick out of my shell every once in a while!) I also don’t skirt around the responsibility that it all entails. There is work, but it usually leads to a great reward. Responsibility is a learned skill and so many people (young and old!) want to skirt their responsibilities yet have the rewards come. There is a direct correlation and horses provide no clearer of a picture. Plus- what is the pleasure of being an Old Horse Woman who’s paid her dues as to not share such ethics with up and coming Horse Women? My barn’s never looked better, the horses are squeaky clean- but we also have a lot of fun!
7. The Highest of Mountains and The Lowest of Valleys Can Be Ridden Together
I always say you’re not a horse person until you’ve fallen off (or stepped on, or lose in the show ring, or have a bad ride) more times than you can count. We, as Wise Old Horse Women, get to teach our Horse Girls that there is a tomorrow, another show, another ride. Surprisingly, they too can teach Old Horse Women a thing or two when the valleys get low (back to those eternal Glass Half Full Creatures they tend to be) and we can all ride into the sunset together.
8. They keep US physically Active! (To go along with the other article- this is no truer!)
Trot bareback into the sunset? Clean all the stalls right now so there’s time to go riding? Just do ONE MORE LOOP of the trail PLEASE? I’m markedly more exhausted when there is a Horse Girl calling the shots… and I love it! Plus the amount of adventures increase 10 fold when there is a Horse Girl to tag a long. They keep our heart young and our compass pointed down the trail, and I thank them for that.
9. Teachable Moments-
Most of the equestrian lifestyle can be applied to real life and how we treat others- those valleys become discussion points and even the peaks can be reveled in with a sense of reflection. They connect the dots and find out how their hard work training and perseverance through problems makes a difference to them and those (horse and human!) around them. In training, there will be ups and downs and it teaches them to handle these ups and downs with grace and outlook for tomorrows session. I saw a quote that sums up both horses and humans- “A horse may forgive, but it Never forgets” I believe the same with humans. We treat everyone with a bit of a training attitude and we have lifelong friends because of it.
10. Mirrors of Ourselves-
Good, bad or indifferent- we’re teaching those Horse Girls with every action and reaction we give. Nothing makes me more happy to hear one of my “Horse Woman-isms” being parroted from across the barn to another horse girl… or even parroted back at me! (It’s always good to have reminders!) We watch how our Horse Girls interact with the world around them and we hope that as they become Horse Women themselves, they carry a piece of us with them. I know I am a better person for all that my Horse Woman mentors had on me and its this cycle of support only found within the sweet horse smelling confines of a Barn.
So, Thank You for sharing your teenage Horse Girls with us. It’s a reciprocal relationship between a Horse Girl and a Horse Woman and we’re happier than you think to do it- plus it makes our stalls really clean, our horses very happy and our hearts overflow.