It was 2011 and I started a job at the New Paltz Golf Course trying to save for a new barrel saddle: Beer cart girl in the evening, waitress at night. On one particular Friday night it was the New Paltz High School Class of 1986 Class Reunion.
I had three goals when I started at the golf course: Save enough money to buy a brand new barrel racing saddle, make new friends, and try and meet horse people interested in gymkhana. And on this particular night, I did. I met Neal and Cindy from Ridgeview Stables. I overheard Neal talking about horses and interjected myself in the conversation, telling him and his wife, Cindy, how I was new to gymkhana and how excited I was to learn with my new horse. It turned out that Neal knew my trainer, Ozzie, and explained he and Ozzie did pickup races “back in the day.”
I was working so I couldn’t talk long, but I’m fairly certain I got Neal’s number that day. And I’m certain that I gave him Ozzie’s number so they could touch base. And they did.
In 2011, there were seven Gymkhana events. Six in Orange County at Thomas Bull Park and one in Ulster County, at the County Fair in New Paltz. On May 19, 2012, Ridgeview Stables had their first gymkhana event in New Paltz, NY in a brand new arena. An arena where I learned to run faster than I ever had before. And although they have since moved from that location, Ridgeview now offers seven gymkhana events over the summer along with clinics with Ozzie. The success of Ridgeview’s gymkhana and exposure it has given to the venue has encouraged others, like Falcon Ridge, to hold their own events. Southern Dutchess added an additional event in Dutchess County this year bringing their total to four summer games. At this count, there are 32 gymkhana events within one hour of the Hudson Valley (Ulster & Orange Counties).
So there you have it. My three goals are complete: I made new friends, I got a new saddle, and connected with great horse people and great games all because I couldn’t mind my own business.