Approximately 2 million people in the U.S. own horses, but not many horse owners can boast that they have a cat who joins them on their daily rides in the barn.
Fieldstone Farm in Holland, MI regularly instructs both adults and children in horseback riding, but Gumphrey the cat is also on their register.
Head trainer Meagan Hengst said “Gumphrey is the king of the farm.”
It’s difficult to argue the title once you see this 13-year-old cat sitting atop one of the many horses that take up residence in the barn.
Gumphrey was born and raised on the farm, which explains why he’s so friendly with many of the horses there. He is a gray and white cat who, as a result of being around horses his entire life, has even come to enjoy riding them.
Hengst explained that as a kitten, Gumphrey would often sit atop the fence inside the arena and watch her ride. When she finished her lessons, she would grab Gumphrey and place him on the saddle in front of her. She said that even when she wasn’t around, Gumphrey would perch himself atop a horse and take a ride around the arena.
The elderly cat is certainly the most unique of all the riders attending lessons at Fieldstone Farm, and his horseback riding skills are praised by everyone there. Hengst has a few choice stories she likes to tell about Gumphrey’s younger days at the barn.
“It was a cold winter day, he was about 2 years old, we looked out our house window and we saw him on one of the horse’s backs in the pasture,” she said. “He did it all by himself out there.”
Now, Gumphrey needs a little bit of help getting onto the horses, but the riders at Fieldstone Farm never have a problem giving him a boost. Hengst said that riders even look for excuses to take Gumphrey for a ride.