A couple of years ago, I sat back on my couch, looked at the girls/women gathered in my living room watching Mean Girls, and realized that my non-horse friends would find my group very odd. Gathered in my house was a 14 year old, two 17 year olds, a college sophomore, and two 30-somethings (three including me). This is not your typical friend-group age demographic but yet it seems pretty natural in the horse world.
This is not a phenomenon that non-horse people understand and sometimes even I have a hard time with it. I have thought a lot about why it happens though, and I have a couple ideas. The first is that horse people are weird. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but we are, and we love to talk about what is such a HUGE part of our life! The downside of wanting to talk about it is that my non-horse friends really do not understand when I complain about how Winifred used to do the 1.2m jumpers and has won at Maclay but yet he will refuse a 2’3” fence if you do not ride him perfectly up to it! They have no idea what that means and then I get both guilty for making them listen to me and a little frustrated that they don’t understand. On the other hand, I can talk to the now 16 year old and, not only does she get it, but she can share her experiences. I think that these friendships are more common because we all compete at the same shows. I cannot think of any other sport that you will have people over 30 competing at the exact same event at the same time as a child.
Even though it is pretty common in the horse world, I have to admit that I still sit back and have to think about my place in all of this. I have 3 nephews who I absolutely adore and so many of their friends also call me aunt but it still has a different feel taking them to the movies as it does going out to a post-lesson dinner with high school and college kids. At some points, it feels like a true friendship but then other moments I have a total maternal, or better yet auntal (yep I just made up a new word) feel to our relationship. I am especially reminded of this awkward middle ground when I hang out with the moms, which I love to do!
Maybe I am weird even among the horse world. Does anyone else have friends that their non-horse people would think is weird to hang out with? As weird as it is, I will not be giving up my young friends anytime soon. Perhaps being friends with them keeps me young in some way.
P.S. I just had to share a little funny from this weekend. We had a baby shower for a barn-mate and TD looked over at me and said, “I have known you since you were 8 but why does it freak me out way more to see you drink coffee than seeing you drink alcohol?” LOL