The Barn Rat Route

I’ve been a barn rat since I was 11 years old. On the weekends and during the summers, my parents would drop me off in the morning and pick me up at the end of the day. Before I got a horse of my own, I would beg to ride any horses that needed exercise, and I got to experience a good variety of school horses. Some were saints, others not so much, but I learned more on the tricky ones because if you didn’t ride them correctly, they wouldn’t do what you wanted.

I took a 12-year hiatus from all things horses once I was married to have kids and attempt to be normal. But a year or so ago, thanks to one of my old trainers taking pity on me and inviting me to go out to his place and ride,  I went back into barn rat mode. At least while the kids are in school and nobody needs me.

How Good Riders Get Good

Unlike their furry grey namesakes, these barn rats come in various shapes, ages and sizes, the most common being girls between the ages of about ten or eleven to somewhere in the mid to late teens. They are reasonably easy to identify in their native habitat, which is any variant of horse barn.

Barn rats are the horse crazy kids who don`t want to be anywhere else. Not the mall, not the fast food joint, not even(sometimes) the Junior Prom, if there`s a horse show the next day.

Some barn rats get paid, but many trade work for the chance just to be in the general vicinity of horses. The parents of barn rats can`t be the obsessive kind who drag their kids from piano lessons to French lessons to figure skating lessons to soccer practice, because implicit in the definition of “barn rat” is is that they spend most…

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