I’ve talked before about making friends. It’s hard work. Sometimes it’s not successful. And boy, nothing makes you feel like a bigger loser than not making friends.
It’s been about a month since my daughter started formal horseback riding lessons. By this I mean that it’s more than a pony ride and I’ve had to fork out significant money for the right boots, pants and helmet in addition to my left lung, which was payment for the first batch of instruction.
Each Saturday morning, at the crack of dawn, we head to the barn. My daughter goes skipping down to where the horse she rides stands waiting. The horse whinnies in happiness – probably not as thrilled to see us as the knowledge he gets peppermints after class. I head into the “club house” to try and make friends with other parents who have horse happy kids. Note: by club house I mean an air-conditioned room in the barn that has a kitchen, sofa, drinks, snacks, the competition "yearbook", TV, and wireless because, well, this is
I’ve tried. I’ve tried hard. But wow, these are like pageant moms in sneakers and with hay in their hair. Several moms have already made it clear they own their horses. One has three girls, all of whom are riding competitively. Another tells me her daughter has been doing this since she was four. (Really? Am I starting this late? At four, I was just hoping my daughter made it through the whole day without peeing in her pants.) She also has made it clear that I should be flexible on our lesson time as the kids in competition will train during the coolest part of the day. Note that we live in AZ, it's the f-ing surface of the sun in the summer. Naturally, her precious offspring is one of the said competitors. Another mom drives more than hour to get to the barn and then sits in this small little room all day long so her daughter can ride. (Reasonably sure I will win bad mom award for never considering that.)
Many of these moms have been reasonably nice though mostly indifferent towards me. They either ignore me or talk to me like I’m a total dumb-ass. Now, I many not know horse-speak. I may not know a halter from a bridle. But, at least I admit this. I don’t pretend to know all this crap. So I guess I’m at least an honest dumb-ass.
I’ve actually tried to be an eager beaver and volunteered to help. There is a youth group at this barn and my daughter was thrilled at the idea of a “club.” Cha-ching – was the sound of those dues being sucked from my wallet. I’ve made sure my daughter had the shirts and was at the meeting. The mother’s stood in the back, I tried to join. I was completely ignored as they all whispered about upcoming plans, custom riding pants (at $100 per pair, I assure you that won’t be happening) and yes, competitions.
Some of these moms are very helpful – one-on-one. But in a group? It’s herd mentality. Clearly, they are all thoroughbreds and I’m just a cross. And, for all you fellow dumb-asses, a cross is a mixed breed horse with no particular lineage. I’m the mutt of the horse world.
The little fillies (see, I’m learning my lingo) are following in their mother’s footsteps. They are a a bit snooty and indifferent. It is so hard to watch my very earnest little girl ask questions and want to help (the kid is willing to muck a stall – I can barely get her to clean her room) and get rebuffed.
Now, I can get a bit bull-doggish about things like this and will keep putting on my happy face, encouraging my daughter and playing nice in this sandbox. At least for a little while longer. Summer is hard and lots of folks take off so maybe we’re really just dealing with the die-hards. But, if we aren’t more fully accepted into this herd, we’ll mosey on over to another barn.