In which I muse about riding partners, and how to find a good one

I am lucky right now:  I have some of the best riding partners in the world.
Patty and Shade, Sirie and Arianna
 Somebody asked me recently:  "What makes a riding partner a good riding partner?"

Madeline and Hana
I haven't always had good riding partners (and I'll only post photos of the good ones here).  My buddy Megan says that relationships are like waffles--everybody always burns the first 2 or 3.  She was talking about love/marriage relationships at the time, but I think the "waffle theory" applies to riding partner relationships also.

Let me tell you what I've learned about finding a good riding partner:
Duana and Hana, Connie and Farah, Patty and Shade, Sirie and Arianna
A good riding partner is happy to see you.  Even in the rain, even when s/he has had a crummy day so far, even when YOU have had a crummy day.  A good riding partner knows that a good ride will make everything better.

A good riding partner knows when to take a break for a few minutes
picking black-cap berries along the trail
Berry picking (above) is a good reason to stop.  So are "sightings of Elvis" (below)...
an "elvis-sighting"
 ...which occur when a rider shouts, "I see Elvis--look, over there!" and the rest of the group politely looks the other direction while the shouter hops off into the bushes to pee.  (A good riding partner has approximately the same time/distance between pee stops as you.  That way, one person isn't always waiting for the other person). 
 A good riding partner gets along with your friends, and makes them feel welcome when you bring somebody new.  You'd be amazed how uncommon that can be--and how wonderful it is, when it happens.

A good riding partner doesn't mind making photo-stops along the way--and takes pictures of YOU and YOUR horse sometimes, too.

Sky and Cricket in the vet-line at Foothills of the Cascade, 2010

Photo of Fiddle and me, taken by Patty
 A good riding partner knows that hopping off the horse to relax a while is sometimes a better idea than staying on the horse and practicing the go-go-go thing all the time.
Sky and Cricket, relaxing in a meadow
A good riding partner recognizes the value of riding lessons, and will help you work on your horse's training issues while you help work with his or her horse's issues....
Jim and Hana at a riding lesson
...and is also willing to leave the arena behind, and go with you to see "what's on the other side of this hill."
Jim and Hana on the trail at Renegade Rendezvous
 A good riding partner is somebody that you enjoy talking with AFTER you've ridden 50 miles or more together.
Jim, Aarene, and Paul, in camp at Elbe Endurance Ride
  A good riding partner is somebody who smiles at you.

A good riding partner is somebody who thinks you are a good riding partner!


  1. That's everything I look for too bad we don't live closer.


  2. Spot on!! And if you get lucky enough to be married to a good riding partner you've hit the Jackpot!!

  3. What a lovely post!

    I don't get to go out on the trails as often as I'd like, but I feel fortunate to have some great barn friends (who accept my sometimes weird idosyncrasies and bizarre training philosophies- LOL).
    When you have to board, finding good fellow boarders/barn friends ranks right up there with having good riding partners -- they are not always easy to find and are absolultely priceless when you find them :)

    I LOVE the Elvis sighting LOL...Grif and I want to be on THAT trail ride :-D

    One rule I've always found to be very important when looking for trail buddies is also that you only ride at the "speed/comfort level" of the most inexperienced rider in your group. When I was working on overcoming some fears I had awhile back -- having folks that worked with me on this was a total godsend!

    ...and from your previous posts. I love Pickles. She is adorable. My family had a sheltie (who was acutally my brother's dog before he was killed) once. I didn't always find him to be the smartest dog, but he sure was lovable...and cute as a button (but then I tend to think a lot of dogs are cute as buttons LOL).
    Kudos to you for giving Pickles a loving home. It really breaks my heart to see the way some people abandon animals and just don't care. It's good to see that she has found someone who will love and care for her :)

  4. Love you Aarene! Wish we were close enough to be riding buddies. I've been very lucky to have lots of fun people to ride with since I started riding late in life (thanks Brenda, Melinda, June, Paul, Molly, Dolly, Linda, and Darlene just to name a few!). I'd like to add that a good riding buddy will ride even in the worst weather without much notice.


  5. Loved this post Aarene! The Elvis Sightings "trick" is brilliant! hehe!
    And that photo of you and Fiddle is so sweet.


  6. Great post, and so true!

    I agree with Carol. The best riding buddies know you well enough to know when to slow down and when to push you through your fears.

  7. I'd like to add a couple:

    A good riding partner understands completely that there are times you are just to dang lazy to hike your kiester up on a horse and will hang with you.

    A good riding partner isn't afraid of silence. Lapses in conversation are perfectly comfortable.

  8. "A good riding partner won't murder you in your sleep even when you post a picture of her sighting Elvis." ;)

  9. I second Funder's comment! :-) You'll need to watch for the "pay-back" photo!

  10. Good riding partners are few and far between. They should be treasured above all else.

  11. I LOVE the comments I see here! I've been looking for a good riding partner for a while now and you guys have renewed my hope.

    Selah, Wa

  12. Rhonda in Selah, I know a young man (capable rider, good horse) who might ride with you. He's a student at YCC. Let me know if you want to arrange a meetup.

    He rides a standie. >g<


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