National Equestrian Headquarters

My wife and I were once invited to dinner at a friend’s home.  We were joined in the elevator by another couple headed to the same place.  All were fine company.

Upon entering the apartment it became instantly obvious that the hosts and the other guests shared the same passion; horses.  There were paintings and statues all about the place and the guest wife, not mine, glowed with excitement as she went from piece to piece.

“Do you ride?” she asked the hosts.  Both replied they had done so since birth.

“Me too!  Do you still?”

I saw where this was headed, I could not stop it.  I think it all fell apart somewhere around the word dressage or possibly saddle horn. 

“Wait, do you ride English?” 

 “No, western.”  Sad silence… 

“This roast is fantastic!” I chimed in.

While driving through somewhere in New Jersey, the sort of somewhere you don’t pay attention to, I started passing signs that told me there would be no saddle horns here.  I like this world, though I know little of it.  Clean white rail fences and horses with wrapped tails have a sort of charm, but not enough to stop the car.  Then I passed that one sign.

There was a large iron gate that inferred no entry, but the sign’s national nature emboldened me with a sense of entitlement.  When I hit the call button a female voice asked if I was at the gate, I replied I was, and it opened. 

Now I am not unaccustomed to barns, not even unfamiliar with living in one, but this was nothing like what I know.  Built by Wall St. tycoon James Brady in 1911, this barn was bangin.

Not knowing what to expect, but assuming the worst, I found the women working here surprisingly friendly and unperturbed by my presence.  With a smile and flip of the light switch, I was sent upstairs to the trophy room, while my host went back to work filing papers.

Ribbons, brass, wood paneling, silver, add in a green carpet, and the place had all the elements of a competitive while classy lounge.  There were no saddle horns; there were not even any horses.  There was plenty of history, the remnants of money, and fortunately no remnants of horses… if ya know what I mean.

I showed myself to the door, kicked dust off my boots, and went on my way… not really.  There was no dust and I wore driving moccasins.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “National Equestrian Headquarters

  1. The roast is fantastic… That made me laugh out loud…

  2. uglyblackjohn

    I hate horses.
    My grandparents had them on the farm in Louisiana and my other grandparents had them on the ranch in Oregon.
    I never learned to ride – although I do enjoy going to watch my homegirls ride in competitions. (I think I just like to wear the affectational clothes and hats.)

  3. We had horses growing up. Dad traded for a colt, broke it himself… then a few years later it returned the favor.
    I have been kicked, bit, stepped on, and they make me sneeze my face off…. but I still like ’em.

  4. lindsey

    YOU OWN DRIVING MOCCASINS?!?!?!? Are they leather? Do they have fringes?

  5. uglyblackjohn

    Of course you like horses brohammas – you’re a ‘Trad’.
    The odd thing is – I may be one too.
    Besides horses, boating might be a Trad prefernces as well.
    I was just stopped by a guy from the local yatch club because he recognized the emblem on my sweatshirt as being from an old America’s Cup race and that it was signed by Dennis Connor.

  6. @UBJ, funny you say that since in my conversation with THE Trad, I discussed the ways in which I am not one. I thought I liked horses due to my Western roots. You don’t because your roots are California.
    @Linds, uhhhh, wher have you been? Of course there are no fringes.

  7. Lisa

    Lindsey hasn’t been driving with you for a while… She missed WY. I actually browse shoe sales looking for a worthy pair. Recommendations?

  8. uglyblackjohn

    But brohammas – in many circles, horses are huge in Cali.
    I even have jodhpurs just in case I can be convinced to ride with my friends.

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