Another Bad Friend Move by Moi






(Mary and Sienna)

It started almost 25 years ago…not the BAD friend part…just the friend part. Mary was my husband’s client…brought her dog in with severe pyometra and in the ensuing conversation revealed that she was looking for a place to board her horse. I board horses…so we met.

After that we spent endless hours together, mostly on horseback, but doing other things too. She’s brilliant and self-effacing and fun…everything I look for in a friend. Several years later, she got married and moved away. Not out of the country or anything…just far enough away to make it difficult to ride together. Bummer. But time passed and I began riding games. Here in the Midwest we call barrel racing and other speed events ‘gaming’. In the east they call it gymkana. There are wonderful sports like pole weaving:

(Bint and me.)

Key hole:

(Some poor soul who’s horse fell down at the last show.)

And rescue race:

(Bint, me, and Colleen, who hasn‘t learned to hate me yet…but give her time.)

Anyway, about two years ago I suggested that Mary buy a new horse and begin gaming with me. Let me just interject here that never in my wildest dreams, did I expect her to simply concur with my newest hare-brained idea. But to make a dull story a little less blunt, I’ll just say that she agreed and we went equine shopping together.

It was all great fun. She ended up purchasing a cute little strawberry roan named Sienna. She’s not very tall…just 14.2 hands which is great for Mary who stands about three inches tall in her riding boots. And she’s a cuddly little mare…loves people, plus she was only four years old…which meant she has lots of years ahead of her. The problem was…she wasn’t fully trained. But, “Never mind,” quoth I boldly. “I’ll put some time on her back and you’ll be able to pop her into the arena quick as a bunny.” So she popped. We took her to a couple shows where everything went fine…mostly. Two weeks ago we competed in another show. Sienna was great. She understood the patterns, she was calm. Time to start picking up some speed, we decided. So, when Mary took her into the barrel racing class, she started asking a little more of her. Imagine this: The first two barrels are beautiful….tight, controlled, balanced. Now she’s coming home from the third can. The crowd is cheering. “Bring her home. Come on. Open her up.” That’s when Sienna started to buck. There was a collective hiss from the crowd followed by clever advice like, “Slow her down. Keep her head up.” And my personal favorite: “Stay with her.” But Mary didn’t slow her down. Neither did she keep her head up, or stay with her. Sienna did about four hops then came to a jolting halt three feet from a gate. Mary, on the other hand, didn’t stop at all and crashed into the steel tubing head first.
Now me, I’ve known Mary come through far worse. She’s a boxer, a motorcyclist, a scrapper. I was sure she would just pop up and say, “Well, that was interesting.” But she didn’t pop up. People started hovering over her. Sitting on my horse outside the ring, I began alternating between cursing and praying. When I finally handed my little mare off to someone else, Mary was still lying in the dirt, gazing serenely into the sky and asking what happened. It didn’t seem too serious…until she asked me the same question another 10 times. That’s when the ambulance arrived. That’s when I got a free trip to the hospital with her. And that’s when I decided I must be relegated to the ‘bad friend’ department.

Since then Mary has recovered most of her memory…though there are still holes regarding the actual day of the accident. I’m just hoping she’ll forget who got her into this in the first place.

So how about you? Have you ever been a really bad friend? Have you ever made a suggestion that got someone in trouble? Sadly, I seem to have a lot of these stories. Please tell me you do too.

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16 Responses to Another Bad Friend Move by Moi

  1. Unfortunately yes, I have some of those type incidents in my past. I think the worst was when a certain friend followed me to a job. She had a job which was stable but she didn’t like doing it. I had a job that was stable and I did enjoy doing it. They paid about the same. She asked me if I thought she would do okay with my company. I said yes. She followed me. My ‘stable’ company folded 3 weeks later.
    I, like you, want to take responsibility but really, all we did was give suggestions or feedback.They chose to follow them.
    Loved Uncorked, btw.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Judy, Judy, Judy…I love you. (sung to appropriate tune) Thanks so much. Thrilled you liked Uncorked. And thanks for sharing. Nice to know we all blunder now and then.

  2. michelehauf says:

    Sounds like ‘bad friends’ make the best of friends. If you can’t be daring with your friends, then what else is there? Admittedly with me, the most daring we might ever get is food choices, but you gotta have someone to do that for you, right? 😉

  3. leannebanks says:

    Lois, I’m usually the friend who gets talked into doing something like going to the oyster festival when it rains all day and it’s freezing. Or going to the concert when it’s 100 degrees outside. I don’t always say yes, but when I do I regard it as “an experience”… and sometimes I get a fun story to tell.:)

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Leanne, at Son One’s wedding last year, his best man, Son II, made a toast that said something about us all having stories of things that we’ve done with Travis that we never want to do again but that are great to talk about. Maybe that’s MY designated role in life, too. 🙂

  4. Oh, my. I’ve had one of those trips over the horse’s head. Scary! Years ago when we were ranching in ND my best friend from high school came to visit. I always assumed people wanted to ride when they came to see us. Heck, if Mama wanted to ride, surely my BFF did. We put her on our kid horse–big sweet Palomino. Clyde saw he terror immediately, told her to ease up on the reins and he’d help her down–but she had a death grip on those reins and pulled the horse over backward at a standstill. The horse settled down right away but not before he stepped on her foot. The same foot she’d gotten tangled up in her bike spokes when she’d been sideswiped by a bus in Boston less than a year before. Re-broke most of the bones in that foot. You know how many bones in the human foot? A lot.

    I learned the true meaning of the word ASS-U-ME.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      🙂 Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. Whenever I see someone limping I wonder what kind of horse they have, but I suppose there are other ways to endanger our friends. I just haven’t found anything as effective.

  5. Linda says:

    Well yes I think most every one has convinced someone to do something risque at some point in their life. I will admit that I have talked a few friends into taking one of my rescue animals, and few times it has gone awry. The worst one was the cat who decided to shred brand new drapes. :O But I have been on the receiving end of headers over a horse. My uncle tells me I had the horse until he did a 180 on a dime. I don’t remember much of that day, just know I was very sore for a while.

    • Stacy says:

      Big difference between risky and risque and I think you meant the former. 🙂
      I once took a dare from friends at horse camp to be the 4th girl in a row to leap frog onto an old appaloosa’s rump while he was tied to the rail. He had apparently had enough and decided to block my attempt by lifting both hind feet at once and planting them firmly in my tummy. I flew backwards and hit the dirt and couldn’t actually catch a breath for a little bit. I remember passing out just as I sucked some air into my lungs and then coming to almost immediately after. Scared the bejeezus out of our counselors…:).

  6. Lois Greiman says:

    Linda, it’s so much more fun when someone else has to describe the event to you. 🙂
    Good for you with the rescue animals.

  7. Trish Jensen says:


    Got Dr. Zhivago when he was only 1.5 years. He’d been saddle-broke WAY too early in his life. But he was the most loving horse ever.

    On the uh-oh advice, I’d have to say that my worst have been talking a friend, who is an amazingly talented author, to submit to my agent and my editor. I thought she was a sure bet. Both turned her down. It broke my heart that I mis-read her appeal to others beside me — I believe in her SO much — and I put her through rejection. Been there, done that, would NEVER set someone up for it. But it felt like when she told me about the rejections that she thought I gave her horrible submission advice. I was so sure…

    And the guilt lives on…

  8. Guy Ogan says:

    Oh, yes…my facination with “Mustangs” (not the four legged variety, but the four-wheeled type) got my friend interested. We found him a real beauty at a very reasonable price. Problem is, it had a very rare type of automatic, that even finding a rebuildable case for is impossible, and of course the transmission went out right after he bought it. The shop “fixed” it (less than 50 miles before it blew up again – and no my friend doesn’t race). So, that was about 18 months ago…shop owner has had one of the same transmissions in his own ‘Stang and knows them inside and out…he is trying fix the transmission for the third (or is it the fourth time…I’ve lost track). So the beautiful ‘Stang sits down at the transmission shop rather than allowing my friend and his wife to cruise around in it. The amazing thing is, my friend hasn’t tried to kill me YET (operative word is YET)! LOL

  9. Nora Braun says:

    Guess I’m usually the gullible one — like the time my brother got me to catch a bee in my bare hands :-(. But my frailty is believing that all dogs I love will love all my friends! My daughter has a sweet pit bull who loves me dearly ….. But is afraid of strangers. So one thanksgiving at my house they had him in his kennel because our friend Bill was over and Rascal didn’t seem to like him. I felt bad for the dog being locked up and said “see how sweet he’s being. He won’t hurt anyone!”. Of course I let him out…..and he went straight to Bill and bit him. Was I ever in trouble 😦

  10. Chiming in late here, because we we up in MW MN for a family wedding and I’ve been out of town. Oh, Lois, your photos brought back so many many memories of my WSCA open show days up in Minnesota! I started shows at the age of seven. Showmanship, Halter and pleasure classes…then a change of tack, and on into the games, in a quest to go after high point. In college I switched to mostly Tri-State and AQHA shows, but the open shows were always the most fun. It’s so cool that you are still showing!!

    The worst thing I ever did was when I was in grade school, and let a neighbor girl get on my horse bareback. She promptly fell off and broke her arm. Ooops!

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