R E G UL A R F E AT U R E WILLFULLY GUIDED by Allison Trimble The Best Friends are Horse Friends Horse friends often make the best friends. est that can stay connected after the event. I have met a ton of people in both scenarios that have become fast friends. Social Media: I think that social media has both a bright, and a very dark, side. Howev-er, if approached with caution outlets such as equestrian specific groups and pages can be a great place to meet new people. It is also a way to stay current on upcoming events and news. Picking a reputable organization, such as the NWHS fan page and website, is a safe way to approach this option. Local Activities: Open ride nights, ranch sorting, trail riding and fun shows are all things in our local area that are available and popular for interested horse lovers. While these are all great ways to meet like-minded people for rewarding friend-ships, it is also important to to know how to strengthen and maintain these relation-ships. Here are four tips specific to main-taining healthy, lasting horsey friends. Be supportive. Remember that this is a pas-sion for all horse people; it is the thing that unites us. Each person loves their horse, re-gardless of how naughty they are being. It is kind of like family: I can point out my hus-band’s flaws, but no one else can. Do not borrow anything. And do not loan out anything that is irreplaceable. This may include trailer, tack, equipment or horse. Lessons with a Trainer: Most trainers have a regular group of people taking lessons that either haul in or leave their horses in training. Making a connection with a trainer often helps introduce riders to a new peer group that also has an interest in horseman-ship. If the goal is showing, this can provide a support group at horse shows and can make competition less of an overwhelming experience. It can also be helpful to have a trainer/teacher overseeing a group. At least at my barn, I believe it helps to keep atti-tudes and behavior consistent and positive. Clinics and Expos: Events such as these invite a large cross section of horse people into an area. It can be a great opportunity to meet new people with a common inter-Suggestions are often meant with the best intentions, but in my experience unasked for advice is almost never helpful and often causes more issues. Unless specifically asked, don’t give train-ing advice. Suggestions are often meant with the best intentions, but in my experience un-asked for advice is almost never helpful and often causes more issues. If there is a safety concern voice it, but advice on anything else should be kept to yourself. Often, a person will ask for a second set of eyes and that is a valuable advantage to riding with friends. That said, the advice I typically see from non-trainers is not accurate. It is being offered, unsolicited, when there is a visible problem. The trouble is that true fixes to a problem are often complex. While I am a trainer, I do not offer any advice unless I am specifically asked or am being paid for my expertise. See the big picture. Having like-minded com-panions that share the horse passion makes the experience better so don’t burn a beauti-ful bridge over something trivial. Horses are big, dangerous and can be destructive and frustrating. For all the wonderful things they bring to our lives, they also bring many chal-lenges. Rather than focusing on what others “shoulda/coulda/woulda,” keep your eyes on personal improvement. NWHS www.nwhorsesource.com PHOTO: APRIL CRANDALL Allison Trimble has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Cal Poly, SLO. After her graduation in 1999, Allison started Coastal Equine and has been training and competing in Cowhorse, Rein-ing, and Cutting events. She has had marked success in the show pen, boasting many titles and championships. Coastal Equine takes pride in raising and training quality per-formance horses. With a background as a Non-Professional who trained her own horses, Allison believes in the ability of the Non-Pro to have a primary role in the training of their own horse. Allison’s clients range from beginners to advanced competitors. Willfully Guided is an educational program based on Allison’s training process. It offers insight into the art of building a willing and sustainable partnership with your performance horse. For more information visit www.willfullyguided.com . 16 June 2016 The Northwest Horse Source PHOTO COURTESY OF COASTAL EQUINE M 4 Ways to Strengthen Horse-related Friendships any of the greatest friendships in my life began with a shared love of horses. As a trainer, I have al-ways enjoyed seeing relationships develop not only between my clients and their hors-es, but between each other. Common ground is fertile soil for friend-ships at every age. For children and teenag-ers, healthy activities naturally develop with friends that also value being active and re-sponsible as well as having fun. Adults find respite by taking time out of busy sched-ules to enjoy the company of friends in the wholesome equine community. Even those in retirement often find companionship that makes the most of their equine experiences. This column is dedicated to such friend-ships, no matter what season of life they oc-cur in. Let’s start with some activities to share with like-minded friends. They also serve as good places to make new acquaintances.