To everyone that asks me what the Finger Lakes Region of New York is like, I always talk about the water and hills first and then immediately follow up by calling it “horse and wine country.”
Now, anyone who has visited the area before knows that the region is rich with wineries – there are people who visit simply for the wine tours. But what I consider a more obscure world that is ingrained in the region is that of the equine.
I’m admittedly a little biased having grown up on a small horse farm. With six to eight horses right across the yard, it was easy to take for granted how lucky I was to have them so close. That being said, I spent hours in the barn.
I didn’t even need to be riding or interacting with the horses directly to feel content there – hay bales make for comfortable reading perches. My favorite horse, Harper, an old gray appaloosa, loved it when I read in front of his stall. But that might just have been because I would absentmindedly hold up small handfuls of prime snacking material as I flipped pages.
However, when I did participate in various horse-y activities, it was much more work than lounging on hay. Those who’ve had glimpses into the world of horses know that it’s a whirlwind of care, grooming, cleaning tack, and carting off to trails, Pony Clubs, polo practice, 4-H fairs and showing events.
Yet, if you are even interested in the tornado of mane combs, lead ropes and ribbons galore, I can honestly say that horse people are some of the most welcoming people I know. The sense of community that comes out of the riding in the same circuits is so strong.
While horses aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, if you’re ever in the area and can seek out one of the plethora of opportunities to experience life from a saddle – it’s totally worth it and will surely make for a memorable trip.
story and photo by Halie Solea