Liz Goldsmith writes Equine Ink, a very entertaining and informative blog. She also writes Equine Products Review, an exhaustive resource for user-written reviews of all equine and equestrian products. Go! Now! Read what she has to say. But before you do, read this. Liz and I share common prerequisites for places to settle.
The Secret Handshake
Kim’s impending move to Hawaii has reminded me just how much I hate moving. I am a person who likes to settle into a community and stay put. I am married, however, to someone who loves to move and I’m sure that once our kids are out of school we’ll be trying new communities. For several years we did move a lot (by my standards) and I thought a lot about what is important to me. I came up with these requirements.
1) There must be a Whole Foods Market within driving distance. Okay, I’ll compromise if there’s a store of equal quality, but I Whole Foods is a tough act to follow.
2) There must be National Public Radio.
3) There must be an equestrian community.
With those three things I’m insured of good food, stimulating talk radio and a community of like-minded individuals. My equestrian friends have been real life savers during our previous moves. Often we moved for my husband’s job and I found myself in a community where I knew no one, often had radically different political and religious views and, since I’m self employed, had no immediate friends or colleagues. Except for the equestrians. In each place I’ve lived, once I found other horse people, I found an almost immediate acceptance. A secret handshake if you will, that serves as both an introduction and a reference.
These people never asked what I did for a living, what church I attended, or whether I was a democrat or republican. They wanted to know what type of riding interested me, what kind of horse I rode, and could they share some war stories about their horses. These friendships, born out of a shared passion, have spanned many years. They are people I came to count on and whose company I’ve relished. Some of my longest-lasting business relationships are with equestrians (in fact it was a client who started me riding again after an almost 10-year hiatus). Riding may not be golf, but when you run into another equestrian in the business world, you have an immediate bond.
The Internet has widened my circle of equestrian friends and made me realize that this shared passion is global. Although I will likely never meet many of these new friends face-to-face, I’ve been amazed how many people I now correspond with as a result of my blog and how much we have in common. I’m also amazed by how many people have found me after being out of touch for many years. In just the past three months I’ve found a mentor and teacher that I last spoke to 30 years ago, was contacted by a woman who owns one of just two horses sired by my Trakehner (obviously before he was gelded) and exchanged emails with a writer whose humorous columns I admired for many years.
So, Kim, while I don’t envy your move (although with a foot of snow on the ground here Hawaii sounds appealing), there is no doubt in my mind that the equestrian community there will welcome you — the secret handshake will guarantee you admittance into the global equestrian club. As someone who understands the healing power of touch in the human/horse relationship, your skills will be valued and appreciated wherever you live. I just hope that there’s a Whole Foods Market and NPR near where you’re moving!