I have the coolest barn friends! They threw us a bridle shower because we got Charlie Brown. What a brilliant idea! Horses, like babies, come naked. So once you get the actual horse, there is a ton a stuff you have to get. I’m not talking about the big ticket items like saddles and bridles. There are a thousand smaller things you have to get, like blankets, and halters, and lead ropes, and lunge lines, and saddle pads, and polo wraps, and books… The list goes on and on! It’s really quite unbelievable the amount of stuff you need when you actually own a horse.
We registered on the various websites, just like a bride would register for china and linens. But in this case, the registries were for all things horse-related. The sites that offered us the ability to share our Wish List with friends included Horseloverz, Dover Saddlery and Schneider Saddlery. Other websites, like SmartPak, let us create wish lists, but then only we could access them. That made the situation rather cumbersome. Plus, a wish list is darn handy to have around come birthday or holiday time.
So on a brisk Sunday afternoon, we gathered at a barn friend’s house, and people from our horse world came together in regular clothes for an afternoon of food and fun. We talked about riding vacations we would like to take as a group. One friend regaled us with tales of her latest riding adventure at Machu Piccu. We congratulated her on surviving this trip without a major injury. Her previous trip on safari in Africa ended with a snake spooking her horse, and her getting tossed, resulting in a broken ankle. We re-hashed our recent Gold Cup tailgate exploits. We caught up on the riding and non-riding lives of those who weren’t able to join us. We talked about upcoming events in our lives and our horses lives. We discussed the recently finished show season, and outlined our grand plans for next season.
But I must say, the best gifts of the day weren’t “things” at all. For instance, my dressage instructor came, and generously provided a theory lesson for Rachael and me, and all the additional auditors who care to come along. Wow! Then, because the barn only offers dressage for adults, another gift was a private dressage lesson for Rachael — a special treat! There were books to teach us lots of things, and training aids, and treats for when Charlie is good, and saddle pads to make us look dapper, and ear nets to keep the flies out of Charlie’s ears next summer, and scrubbies and shampoo to get Charlie super clean before a show.
With a name like Charlie Brown, you just knew someone was going to take a few liberties. And they did! A cooler and a quarter sheet embroidered with his name – complete with a sleeping Snoopy nestled between the letters. As Rachael now says, our horse has his own logo! Spell his name out in orange letters, and insert Snoopy or Woodstock wherever they fit. Too cute!
Sure, it’s fun to get presents. But the biggest gift of the afternoon was the “safety net” that we saw being built for us. That all important gift was our friends coming together to let us know that they are there for us as we take on this great adventure of finally owning our own horse. I waited a long time to do this. And now that it’s here, I must admit it’s rather intimidating and that’s coming from a person who doesn’t intimidate easily! There’s so much I don’t know, and I’m old enough to realize just how much that is. I’ve told several people that a baby was easier because at least it was the same species as me, and I could guess better what was wrong. I’m learning a lot about how to speak Charlie’s language, and understand what he’s telling me.
Our friend who bought her OTTB about a year ago is my point person in this. She’s been through everything we are about to go through — how to get things done at the barn, dealing with saddle fit, and the myriad of other issues that are headed our way. She is my rock. I can vent to her and get all my horse frustrations out. I trust her to tell me when I’ve fallen off the deep end, and just need to chill. And I respect her opinion when she does. For the record, she’s already done it more than once. My husband is very impressed because not many people can do that in my world. I’m sure I’ll need her to do it again many more times. Just as we are there to support our friends, this shower was their statement that they are here for us. That meant more than all the gifts in all the registries in the world.
There is a lot to learn, and a lot of challenges ahead. But in this world of horses, I wouldn’t have it any other way.