Horses are girls#039; best friends

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

There's an old adage that says that you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl.

Courtney and Kristen McLendon just might be reason to amend that adage. They are two city girls who have a lot of country in them and nobody can get it out, because they won't let them.

"We love the country," Courtney said. "We like everything about it and we come out here every chance we get."

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The girls' grandparents, Hugh and Jinene Drinkard, have a place in the country that, to the girls, seems like a little bit of paradise.

"They've been coming out here all their lives and they love it," said their dad, Bert McLendon. "They like any kind of animal - dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, chickens and, especially, horses."

The girls quickly admitted they would rather ride horses that eat, sleep or wash dishes.

"Riding horses is about the most fun in the world," said Kristen. "We like to ride all the time. We just love horses. They are like your best friend."

However, the girls admitted that caring for the horses can be a chore, but their granddaddy does most of that and leaves the fun part to them.

"For a while, we just had one horse and they would ride double or take turns," Drinkard said. "Now they each have a horse and that makes it twice as much fun. And, I just enjoy sitting back and watching them ride."

The girls hopped on their horses and trotted toward the open area near the cornfield. Both rode with the easy gait of seasoned riders and looked much the part of young cowgirls.

After a short ride, they stopped to let the horses rest on a hot, summer afternoon and share a few laughs with their grandparents and their dad.

The girls are students at Pike Liberal Arts Schools and said their classmates are sometimes curious as to why they want to ride horses.

"They just don't know how much fun it is," Kristen said.

Courtney gave a moment of serious thought as to whether she'll continue to gallop about on horseback in a couple of years when she's old enough to drive.

"I can do both," she said, with a relieved smile.

The McLendon girls don't see any reason why they should ever stop enjoying horseback riding. People of all ages ride horses.

The often go on trail rides with people of all ages and they have a great time.

They recently went on a trail ride with the Pike County 4-H Clubs that was both a fun ride and a fundraiser.

"We got people to sponsor us," Courtney said, casting a quick glance at her grandparents and her dad. "We rode 10 miles and the money our sponsors donated went to St. Jude's Children's hospital to help children with cancer."

Kristen said she rode because she wanted to do something to help other children and the trail ride was a fun way to do so.

As much as they enjoy riding horses and living the country life, Courtney and Kristen like helping other people and they start at home.

They help around their own home and, when they're at their grandparents' house, they jump right in with the chores. And, they always volunteer to head to the barn to feed and groom their best friends, Red Boy and Lady.

But, they also search for ways to help others. They recently donated their long locks to "Locks of Love," an organization the takes donated hair and uses it to makes wigs and hair pieces for children who have lost their hair due to illness.

Courtney and Kristen skipped off to help their grandmother with some chores, but it wouldn't be long before they'd be back in the saddle again. There's no way to keep farm girls off their horses for long.