• Amy Pridige

The horsemates who started as neighbours and their mutual love of horses brought them so much more.

The winners of the Muddy Mare search for #horsemates in September were the Suffolk based artist Teresa Lewis and her best friend, neighbour and ‘the sister she never had’ Naomi. Their story spoke to me about what #horsemates is all about, friendship, support and inclusivity whatever your discipline. I think that their friendship shows how they have supported one another and helped each other progress as horsewomen. Here is their story in Teresa’s words:

‘My Horsemate neighbour, best friend and the sister I never had is Naomi Watkins.

Naomi and I moved to where we live within six months of each other.

When I got my first horse Naomi offered to walk out with us. Her daughter, then about 8 years old would come & help with Bono, my Shetland and Naomi volunteered at our local RDA centre at that time.

I offered for Naomi to ride Bart, my first horse as although she had owned horses years before, she was not riding at that time.

At the time I also needed (and still do) help due to my chronic health issues- Crohns, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia & Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

With Naomi’s help we went for lessons and I did my first ever dressage test. Naomi also started to compete at dressage and she started jumping again which I thought was extremely brave having not done it for 15 years.

We shared taking Bart out for hacks and she helped me through some difficult times when I had to sell Bart and we then found Harry together.

I asked if she would like to share Harry with me and once again both shared lessons on him. After a time both competed at dressage and show jumping on him.

We have been there for each other through some difficult times, but awesome times too.Her daughter is now 14 and they now have their own horses.

Although things have changed, Naomi continues to be my cheerleader and help me with the boys as she knows there’s days I am ill.We are planning to go and ride out together once I get back up to speed with my riding after the pandemic.

Naomi has also been my right hand woman in helping me with my art, coming to shows, helping me pack & post parcels (an absolute godsend when I had to self isolate for 5 months).

I honestly don’t know what I would do without her & so this is why it would be amazing to win and show people that it isn’t just about riding, but that we will continue to be ‘sisters from another mother’ for life and that riding has brought so many amazing adventures already that we thought we would never achieve. We are older and probably more the ‘Happy Hackers’ - but proof that it doesn’t matter that we aren’t winning rosettes but that we are making awesome memories together.

I’d love for her to be recognised as my amazing #horsemate.'

For winning this search they each won a #horsemates hoodies. I look forward to sharing a picture of them wearing them together in the future.

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