Monday, June 18, 2012

Confessions of a Middle-Age Barn Rat

Let me introduce myself and this new weekly blog post. I’m Kathy McDonald, a beginner rider in the Touchstone Farm lesson program, and a Woman of a Certain Age. Pushing 52, to be precise.

I’m also a volunteer at Touchstone Farm, helping get the word out about all the wonderful horsy things that happen here every day. And yes, I’m a barn rat.

Me in the Rockies
A barn rat likes to hang out with horses even when she’s not riding or taking a lesson. A barn rat shows up at the stable to see what’s going on and make herself useful if she can.

But truthfully, a barn rat is just there to be with the horses.

And that’s me. I was born horse-crazy (there’s a gene for it, I’m sure) but never had the chance to ride as a kid. Then, as I closed in on 50, several events got me thinking about learning to ride horses.
  • I went for a trail ride at Rocky Mountain National Park. I spent the first 10 minutes desperately gripping the saddle horn and cursing my stupidity for thinking I could stay on this large, swaying creature for 2 hours. I spent the remaining 1 hour and 50 minutes giddy and exhilarated. Me – on HORSEBACK!
  • I attended a school horse show outside Boston where my nieces, ages 9 and 7 at the time, were riding. Their heels just cleared the edge of the saddle pads but they easily walked and trotted and won ribbons.
  • At this same schooling show, I saw several adult riders who were beginners. Among these was a woman with cerebral palsy. She used a walker with difficulty but rode her horse with easy grace and competence. Her riding impressed me for many reasons.
Nieces making it look easy
And so it was, the day after my 50th birthday, that I found myself at the Touchstone Farm open house, signing up for lessons. 

It’s been an amazing ride, so to speak. In these weekly posts, I’ll be telling you more, not only about my learning to ride but also about the interesting, fun, funny, exciting, moving, and darned cool things I see at Touchstone Farm.

Because the thing about barn rats is, we’re always around. And if it’s about horses, we find a way to be part of it.

See you around the farm,

Kathy McDonald
Rider and Volunteer at Touchstone Farm


  1. As another horse-crazy something-ager, I am excited to come along for the ride! Rock on, Kathy. Or should I say, ride on!

  2. OOOOH, can't wait to read more!! Keep it coming! : )