Gina McKnight, Author, Freelance Writer, Equestrian, Blogger, and Poet! Welcome to my international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, cowboys, equestrians, photographers, artists, poets, poems, and more horses.
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Saturday, April 16, 2016
Friends Take Friends Riding: Guest Post by Candace Wade
am the “horse slut” on the Horse Nation team.
I don’t own; I rent. I started
riding later in life. I don’t pretend to
know what I don’t know. This also makes
me a born again horse rider. I
proselytize. I believe everyone should ride. That’s why I nudged my since-diapers friend
Kimmy to come riding with me while I was on a story-scouting trip in my birth
home of Los Angeles. Oh, Kimmy doesn’t
and I did Barbies, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Sunset Blvd music venue crawling, snow
skiing and navigated our early marriages together. She still lives in "El Lay.” I live in Nashville. I camped at her house while I was in town researching
equestrian stories and for an interview on the Writer’s Block for L.A. Talk
Radio. I had planned two horseback rides
at rental stables. Besides wanting to
share my horsey-happiness, I believed that we could build new memories to layer
onto our old ones. Kimmy should come riding
with me. She just should.
of my missions as a “horse slut” is to remind experienced riders that
non-riders can find perching on the back of a horse to be daunting. My other mission is to reach out to the
nervous and assure them that they are not alone in their visions of all the
“what-if-scary- things” that can happen on the back of the horse. Those things mostly don’t happen and the
rewards nourish great stories for years to come.
agreement to hike her leg over the saddle for the first ride through Griffith
Park was as weak as a one-dip tea bag.
The first stable we checked out just didn’t have the right vibe for
either of us. We drove down the street
to scope our other choices. “Turn left!” I shouted. I had a warm teen-hood memory of a stable on
Mariposa Street. Kimmy jammed on the brakes and executed a wide left. There it was!
The Circle K.
guide, Dar, had smiley eyes, was kind and answered all of her questions. He would take us out alone and Kimmy could
set the pace. My goal was to float down
my equestrian memory lane not beat the trail speed record, so whatever pace
Kimmy wanted was okay with me.
and I led so Kimmy was assured her horse wasn’t going “yeehaw” down the trail with
her. She had a vise-grip hold on the
horn, but her leg position was terrific.
Shoulder-hip-heel, head up, shoulders back. Perfect. Dar chatted with us and Kimmy chatted
back. With a few basic suggestions, my
friend was enjoying her horse ride.
moments like this must be recorded, so Kimmy and I lined up our horses for the
money shot. We held hands like we did as
little girls. Her clutch on my hand would have been okay except that her horse
noticed some tasty greens on the side of the trail and moseyed over to
munch. It didn’t dawn on Kimmy to let go
of my hand. I struggled to free myself
just before she pulled me off my saddle.
Okay, this was good. We will have
some goofy stuff to sweeten the memory.
was all-in for our next ride the following day.
We drove out to Malibu Riders at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica
Mountains. She enjoyed showing me all
the changes in the area that had occurred since we used to drive the canyons to
Zuma beach. She shared joyful stories of
her son’s wedding that was held near where we were would ride. In other words, she was relaxed and into
whatever lay ahead.
again, the rental-barn-karma was perfect for our adventure. The horses and equipment were well cared
for. Scott, the guide, was enthusiastic
and informative. We rode with a father
and teen daughter – both newbies. Scott
explained everything horse and safety related in a way that was clear and not
insulting to them or to me. We rode through the western town set used for Dr.
Quinn, Medicine Woman and Scott made all the Hollywood film sites we passed
come alive. Kimmy was right with him in
the discussion because she had spent some time at that park. She was hip to
some of the film history.
was riding. Kimmy was now a member of the horsey set. She engaged the teen daughter in conversation
and was successful in drawing her out.
She was calm enough to take photos when we crossed the creek where they
filmed the gun fight with Kurt Russell in Tombstone. Her grip on the horn was a little less
tight. Kimmy was having fun.
had so many stellar moments in those two days.
One of the most satisfying was when Kimmy dismounted, ”got her legs” and
said, “That wasn’t such a big deal.”
Yes! Kimmy had shed so many of
the “what-if-scary-things” along the trail that she decided to take her sister
riding. Bye-bye “scary things, hello
self-confidence. Kimmy and I got to share
something that I loved, but more than that we energized our 60 year old friendship
by having a new adventure.
an older, recreational rider who rents.
I feel lucky and exhilarated every time I ride. Like any other tasty treat, we want to share
it. We do have a responsibility to make
sure we take care of our friends. We
make sure that the stable and terrain feels safe for our friend. We remember the ride isn’t about us showing
off our equestrian skills. The goal is
to honor the gift of love – friends take friends riding.