We don't have the fortune to live close by the horses. We aren't too far, but it's a twenty-five minute drive out. I grew up out in the area where our horses are boarded, but I married a surfer, and all I can say is that once you marry a man who is totally devoted to the Sea God, you might as well forget getting him out to the country. I figure I get the best of both worlds--live near the beach, be out at the horses daily (I do have to admit though that the drive can be brutal at times, like around 5 in the afternoon).
Anyway, my little one and I make the commute everyday after school, except for Tuesday and Thursdays. I let her take those days off to just have play time with school friends or relax at home. I try and make Thursday a kind of day off for me. I teach in the morning and then I go to the horses for the rest of the day and play on my own. I ride my horse and then pop the pony over a few jumps (he's a large pony--Gypsy Vanner). Thursday tends to be my favorite day of the week. I love going out with my daughter, but on Thursdays I don't have to keep a tab on her, so it's a bit more relaxing.
One thing I've noticed about being at a barn is like any place--be it work, home, school, etc--it has its own culture. There are a variety of people out where we ride and they make up this culture. Being a writer, I've kind of studied it and entrenched myself a bit into it. It's almost like there's three or four separate families out there--like a neighborhood. The barn has a mish mash of people and horses. We aren't a hunter jumper barn, or a dressage barn, or a western barn--we are all of it and more. We even have a few people who drive.
There are the pony clubbers (like my kid) who tend to be out there daily after school. The kids range from 8-18 and they are obviously all passionate about the horses. Moms are all involved because we have to be, and within the moms there are only a few of us who are "horsey" people, so even there is a bit of a sub-culture that goes on. I think I'm the only pony club mom at this point that actually rides reguarly.
There are the hunter jumper people (i'm kinda in that group, too). They are a cross-over from older pony clubbers into women of all ages. This group tends to be the more serious group (as far as quiet, reserved). We're all for the most part in the main barn, we all blanket nightly, we all give supplements and we all make sure our horses at least get out for a stretch of the legs daily. The dressage group is like this, too. However, the one thing I notice about those ladies is that some of them never ride their horses. They saddle them up and hand them over to a trainer and that sort of strikes me as odd. I guess they just like to groom and watch. You got me.
Then we have the cowboys and cowgirls. Now I have to admit that this is the fun group. Not to be stereotypical here, but this group tends to swear a little more than the others, have a beer or two (sometimes before noon), and hang out when not on a horse, shooting the breeze. They cut cows, they rein (spins and sliding stops--all that) and they just seem to ahve a goold old time. Plus they have some great stories.
There isn't one group I prefer to hang out with over the other. It is interesting to see how all of these people interact and get along, and they do. Everyone gets along with one another. That's the thing about horse people--no matter what "sub-culture" they're in, the bottom line is that they all have a passion and love for the horse. I believe it's that commonality that keeps peace around the barn. It's knowing that we're all better than those outsiders who don't know anything about how wonderful the animal is. LOL.
Anyway, I'd love to hear about your barn stories or if you have an interesting culture at your barn and how it all works together. Write a comment and let us know how things work where you ride.