Photo © Hanna Olaussen

Top Exhibitors Share Their Horse’s Best Friends

Best friends are a part of everyone’s lives, whether we realize it or not. We all have someone we call our best friend, and even dogs are considered to be “man’s best friend.” But have we ever stopped to think about our horses and the best friends they might have?

We caught up with a few youth and amateur exhibitors to ask them about their show partners and their best friends. Some horses have attached themselves to other horses within the show barn, while other horses have slightly less expected friends.

A lot of horse owners separate their mares and geldings, but Sarah Rosciti told us about her sister-in-law’s retired show horse, Absolute Or Scotch, and her AQHA World Champion broodmare, Slow Legs, who are best friends. Sarah told us, “We even bought them matching fly sheets so they could look even more ridiculous,” she says and laughs.

Amateur Sarah Chabot also told us about two horses at her barn that are close friends. They can always be seen together when they are outside. Even horses with very different breeding and event backgrounds have found each other as friends. A Well Dressed Man (Calvin), who is a multiple Congress and AQHA World Champion hunter horse, can be seen rubbing his neck against, Cataboom, who is a reiner and showmanship horse.

Some horses even have more than one friend. Kamiah McGrath told us about her all-around gelding, They Call Me Jake (Jake) and his many friendships. Kamiah said that Jake is a big fan of her showmanship mare, Jlo. “Whenever I take Jlo out of her stall to go practice or turn her outside, Jake runs around his stall and whinnies like she’s never coming back. Jlo must always be in sight for him to be content. If we go to horse shows where the stalls are solid, we put them across from each other so he can still see her,” Kamiah told us.

Aside from Jlo, Jake is also a huge fan of Kamiah’s mother. “Jake has two best friends, and I’m not either one of them. Jake has been a part of our family for the last 15 years. My mother bought him as a two-year-old to show as an amateur. Later on, I started showing him in the small fry, and I still do to this day. He is obsessed with my mom, and she is his best friend. If I am ever riding in the arena, he will always follow her wherever she goes. She can call his name when he is out in the pasture, and he will come running like a barrel horse to greet her at the gate.”

Some horses have a preference for smaller humans, such as Amateur Meghan Tierney’s mare, Pretty Assets (Lacey). Meghan tells us, “Lacey loves little Charlotte Miller. She is so gentle with her, and baby Charley often rides her. Charley will sneak Lacey some grain and say she’s hers.”

Often horses will befriend other farm animals that they may see around or even get pastured with. Youth Cori Cansdale told us about her gelding who has a soft spot for her trainer’s sheep. “Promotional Asset (Chucky) loves sheep. He is pretty aggressive to other animals, whether it be ponies, dogs or other horses, but for some reason, he loves sheep. Every summer when he hauls him up to Nancy Renfro’s house for Youth World boot camp, he and her sheep share food and hang out.”

Youth Hanna Olaussen told us about her two geldings who have both become good friends with her two pet goats. “My two pet goats, Tom and Jerry love hanging out with our horses, and their absolute favorite is my ranch rider, Smart Like Bruce. They rub themselves on him, nibble on his chestnuts, walk under and right in front of him. Bruce enjoys their company, sniffs their heads, and is always careful not to step on them. Wimpy Della Reno (Reno), my reiner, is home for the summer and got to meet Tom and Jerry for the first time. He is newly gelded and has been acting up around other horses, but took to the goats immediately.”

Youth Natalie Vargo filled us in on the two friendships her horses shared before, Art Of The Deal (Rocco), sadly passed away. “When Dancin N The Dirt (Carter) and Rocco were in Texas together at Chuck Briggs’ barn, Carter always wanted to touch and be close to Rocco. It was almost like he knew he had big shoes to fill when we retired Rocco.” Since then, Carter has filled his shoes by winning the Hunter Hack at the AQHYA World Show in 2016.

Although Rocco is missed by many, he is most likely missed by his unusual pasture mate, Cherry Pie. Natalie told us, “Rocco did have a best friend, a longhorn cow. Her name was Cherry Pie, and they were pasture mates and did absolutely everything together from going to the water tank to grazing all day long. They were pretty inseparable. It was adorable. Rocco would scratch her back with his nose like horses do with each other, and she would attempt to scratch her back, but he was so tall she couldn’t get close. It’s the thought that counts.” Cherry Pie and Rocco were close, Natalie adds, “I can tell she sure misses him out there.”

Horses pick and choose who they want to spend the majority of their time with, just like us people. Whether that be another horse, a human or a longhorn cow…horses enjoy the company of a friend while at home, shows or out to pasture.