Most kids meet their friends through school or on the sports field. Friendships often become strong by bonding over a shared interest or passion—which is why the horse community can often help build lifelong friendships.
Barn kids are a special kind of child and when you put a few of them together, they’re in hog heaven. Whether they lesson together at a local barn or live hours apart and only see each other at horse shows, they’ll always have something to talk about and a good memory to reminisce on.
For youth riders Mia Pedrick and Hannah Brock, living four hours apart hasn’t stopped them from becoming best friends. The 16-year-olds first met two years ago when they both started riding with the same trainer, Avery Sinclair of Sinclair Performance Horses in Florida. Although Hannah Brock lives more than four hours from Avery, she has trained with her for many years.
The distance had kept her from becoming extremely close with other youth riders in her barn, only seeing them at horse shows, but once Mia joined the group there was an undeniable bond.
While it’s all fun and games riding together at the barn on non-horse-show weekends, their friendship is truly put to the test in the show pen. Both teens compete through the American Paint Horse Association in youth all-around events. Competing against your best friend at any age has proven to be a difficult task, but these young girls are a great example of how horses not only shape respectful and mature youth, but of how the horse industry prepares them for adulthood.
“Horse show friends are so much fun because we have the same goals and can help each other reach them,” said Pedrick. “Every time we go to a show, I’m equally excited to see Hannah as I am to show my horse.”
The Ties That Bind
Competing in a high-pressure environment and living hours apart hasn’t been able to break the tie these two girls have formed. The duo talks constantly whether it’s over text, Snapchat, or FaceTime, and they’re always planning for the next horse show or weekend at the barn. At shows, the girls are attached at the hip and usually smiling and laughing the entire weekend.
[More about horse friends: Best Friends: Horse Edition]
But beyond that, they also wait for each other after each class, will stay to watch their patterns even if they could have already gone back to the barn, and will always cheer for their friend no matter the placing. When one friend makes a mistake or has a bad go, the other is always right there to make them feel better and prepare for the next class. While they’re very aware of the fact that they’re competing against each other for the same prizes and points, they handle the outcome of each class better than some older riders. Both teens love their horses and the sport, so they’ve found a way to make competing against a friend a positive experience rather than negative.
“At first I was worried when I knew I would be competing against my best friend. However, spending the extra time, learning together, and sharing the victories has brought us closer together,” explained Brock. “We don’t see each other very often so it has actually made the competition environment even more enjoyable.”
Horse showing is one of the most character-building sports there is and seeing so many youth riders come together despite the high competition environment is proof that there are so many life lessons being taught that go far beyond just how to ride your horse.