“Please don’t give birth in the back of a horsebox, in a lay-by, on the M25,” is what I pleaded with her as she told me to be quiet down the phone because she was having another contraction…
This is a story not about how Buddy and I won a red rosette, represented our riding club, or fell off trying a crazy jumping exercise. This Equo blog is a little different, but it’s something I think every single dedicated horseman/woman can relate to; it’s about friendship – and for once, I’m not talking about the ones we form with our four-legged friends!
Having a horse, stabling on a livery yard and benefiting from a supportive group of people around us, is one of the main reasons my “horse time” is so special – and this isn’t a recent thing, it’s something I’ve been blessed to enjoy for the past 20 years.
Turning up at a riding school in a leafy London suburb at the tender age of eight was not the place I – nor my parents, I’m sure – had envisaged I would find a friend for life. Despite being two-and-a-half years older than me, Vicky and I quickly became good friends and when I was finally gifted with my own pony, we became inseparable.
We would sit on our ponies bareback in our stables talking for hours, go galloping across golf pitches when the “adults” had specifically told us not to. We discovered pony club together, fell off together, won rosettes together – well, usually she won and I just stropped because my strawberry roan pony had once again thrown me off at the first fence! Our mums became friends, our families looked out for one another, and our lives became intertwined as they only can when you spend every waking moment at the stables, wasting hours of your childhood playing, learning and discovering things.
Our sisterly bond continued into our teenage years, when we dealt with the drama of choosing between boys and horses; Saturday nights out versus early Sunday morning competition starts; and through university and work life, and eventually into adulthood.
And the one thing that has always remained as the constant factor in our friendship? Horses. Even though we’re now tipping 30, we don’t see ourselves as adults but two young girls who just love horses; two girls that despite now living two hours away from each other and at times and not catching up for six months will pick up the phone and know the other one will be there to talk through the bucking/rearing/or even boyfriend trouble the other is happening!
Never had I heard that little girl come through more than earlier this month when a 9-month pregnant Vicky rang me up to let me know her waters had broken while she was watching her horse compete at Osberton Horse Trials.
The love I have for that girl and now her beautiful baby Esmé is that of family. All this started with two girls, in a stable, tripping over their love of ponies, so when you head to the stables tonight, or go for a riding lesson this weekend, take a look around and chat to the fellow equestrian next to you – you never know, you may just meet your best friend for life.
Catch up with what else Leanne and Buddy have been up to in her other brand ambassador blogs.