Picture this: the song You’ve Got A Friend in Me is playing. A girl and a horse, the very best of friends, spending time together every week for six years. The horse and the girl grow and learn together; they have fun and adventures like trail rides, riding games, and obstacle courses. The girl always brightens up when she arrives at the barn, and the horse always closes her eyes in contentment as they get ready for class. That, my friends, is the weekly story of Molly Hess and our little dark bay mare, Lexi.
Molly has been coming to ride Lexi every week for six years. When she first started coming to the barn, she was shy and often didn’t want to speak with anyone or make eye contact. She would walk out to Lexi silently and was shy about helping groom and tack the little mare. Lexi was always patient with Molly. She would stand quietly without judging or needing anything, and then would faithful carry Molly during lessons. Lexi was always steady, and always willing. And with time, her steady, unwavering personality began to coax Molly out of her shell.
In little bits and pieces, Molly’s own personality brightened and became more animated. She began to look forward to seeing Lexi. In the barn, her helmet now on, she would peek out the door and beam at Lexi. She would gently brush the mare and talk to Lexi about her day. She would even ask Lexi how her day had been. As more time passed, Molly began to speak to her volunteers and her instructor, all about Lexi at first, and then more about her day and what she liked, and what she wanted to do. Her confidence bloomed just from spending time with Lexi.
And what does Lexi do all this time? She settles in, she rests a hind leg, her head drops, her ears droop, and her eyes close. Molly’s happy spirit puts Lexi right at ease. There is no doubt that Molly and Lexi have a special bond. They have chosen each other. They look out for each other. They relax, play, learn, and grow with each other. It’s incredible to watch.
These days, Molly is able to speak up for herself and for Lexi. She can plan ahead and make good choices during her ride. Most importantly, she can voice all of that to her volunteers and instructor. She knows when Lexi is having a good day and they can work independently on their skills together. And she knows when she may need a little help, or how to redirect Lexi when necessary. Molly has even learned how to do more advanced movements with Lexi, such a leg yields and pivots.
And when the East site is on winter break, Molly doesn’t let a little cold stand between her and Lexi. Last winter when Lexi spent the winter at the North site, Molly just had to come visit her. Making it through a whole winter without seeing Lexi was just out of the question, and so Molly came to spend a little time with her favorite mare. They stood in the aisle together, having a quiet conversation, Molly grooming Lexi, Lexi relaxing and closing her eyes in contentment. If ever there were a theme song for a friendship, it is surely playing while those two are together.
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
If you’ve got troubles, I’ve got ’em too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and can see it through
‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me
Yeah, you’ve got a friend in me
Agape wouldn’t have this incredible privilege of serving Molly without our horses, especially not without sweet Lexi. And Lexi wouldn’t have the strong friendship with Molly without you. Your support creates unique and special bonds between our horses and their riders. Together – our horses, riders, volunteers, staff, and champions – we make a friendship circle that is hard to break. Will you join with us in supporting Lexi’s care this year?
I love riding Lexi because she gives me a challenge. Since she used to be a racehorse, I know she can be really fast. Sometimes that can make me nervous, but Lexi knows when I get nervous when my thighs get tensed up and she slows down. When she starts to get fast or a speedy trot, I tell her ‘easy’ and she listens to me. After every ride, I give her a hug because I love her so much and sometimes she even neighs when I come for my lesson. I think she loves me too.Abby Marxparticipant at East