I’m a 29-year-old horse and pony fanatic. This is no secret to anyone who knows me.
Not much about my horse obsession has changed.
When I was a 10-year-old, I wrote in my diary. Now? I Instagram; #marecrushmonday is my current go-to hashtag, especially after my Monday riding lessons.
My trip down memory lane, due to the reappearance of my old diary, has solidified something I’ve noticed before about the barn. At the barn, the typical cultural and social divisions caused by human age completely disappear.
For example, I’m currently on a group text chat with riders who are 14, 17, 23, 28 and 29. We occasionally talk about fashion or life obligations, ranging from high school demands to big-girl jobs, but we predominately talk about horses. We talk about our lessons, our horses, our riding clothes, which high-end saddle pads we covet and the Olympic-level horses we wish we could ride.
(I’m eternally grateful for their messages telling me to set my DVR for a televised grand prix.)
When I was in high school, I had a riding lesson every Saturday morning. I rode with a few other girls in who were in high school, and I also rode with several who were in sixth and seventh grade. The four-year age difference between a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old is quite a bit different than, say, that between a 25- and a 29-year-old.
Still, I loved chatting with the girls at the barn. We’d talk while tacking up, while cooling off our horses, and while eating lunch after our morning ride. Talking about our lesson mount of the day and pretending we didn’t have homework waiting for us at home were our specialties.
However, when my high school self would run into my 13-year-old barnmates at the movie theater or the mall, our friendship didn’t mesh the same way. We said hi, and nothing went wrong, but we couldn’t find anything to really talk about – except of course how great our horses were. Chances are we were each out with our non-horsey friends, so the conversation usually didn’t last too long.
So many great memories are made at the barn, and the barn’s magical ability to remove age barriers allows for friendships that would be unlikely otherwise.
Within the barn, age doesn’t matter. Horses, and our love for them, bridge the age gap.
Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas. Follow her on Twitter: @allisongriest.