When I was 15, I joined my high school’s horseback riding club. My high school was in Brooklyn, New York. I took two buses from Bay Ridge to Prospect Park. We would saddle up our horses, walk them down the cobblestone road on Caton Place, walk them across the big traffic circle and then hop on and gallop through Prospect Park. It was madness: 100-pound teenagers on 2000-pound death monsters speeding towards joggers and people with strollers. When we were done we would wash them down, put the saddles away and ride home. No one would sit next to us on the bus. Our boots and jeans were filthy.
I loved it.
Last night after working with our exec team in NYC, I visited the stables. They’re still there! I met the owner and he told me how much the place had changed. They fixed the broken skylights that were just covered with tarps to keep the rain out all these years. They fixed the electric. When I was there in the ’80s, they had a long chain of extension cords that led back to one outlet. They raised the ceilings. They cleaned up the ring. They changed from straight stalls where horses can’t turn abound to box stalls. And they changed the name from Kensington Stables to Prospect Park Stable. It was amazing to see it all and talk to JQ, the current owner, and his daughter who has been riding there since she was a kid.