Many of us let generational insults fly willy-nilly.

Baby Boomers are out of touch.”

Gen Xers are such downers.”

Millennials are so frivolous.

Gen Z are too sensitive.”

As a result, we struggle to understand each other in our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our families. Two recent conversations I had on HN Reads, the Podcast have led me to believe that there are still a few bridges that can connect us across age and experience, and one of those is a love of horses.

Fran Severn is the author of Riders of A Certain Age: a Guide to Loving Horses Midlife and Beyond and this week’s featured guest on HN Reads. She spoke on many of the advantages of returning to horses later in life, one which included our relationships with other equestrians—especially those that crossed generations.

For older riders, she suggests that “there’s nothing wrong with riding with a stable full of kids because they have so much fun.” She also noted how it was good for one of her horses because even after her gelding retired from riding, he was still doted on by the many generations entering the barn.

Memoirist and A Man Walks into a Barn author Chad Oldfather, another recent HN Reads guest, noticed something similar as he watched his daughters interact with the other equestrians around them.

“I can distinctly remember a couple points where people much older than my daughters would ask them for their advice seriously and then take it. That seems to me to be really valuable as a way of transitioning from being a kid to being an adult. That you’ve had a foot in this world and you’ve had relationships with adults that are not just the authority figures, but their peers too.”

As a community college professor, I can attest that my cross-generational relationships in the barn prepared me for teaching. Before starting my first day of class, I knew that the joy and energy of people younger than me was contagious and that as we get older, we still deal with fear, insecurity, and big dreams. It helped me navigate the complexities of teaching and honor the variation in age and experience that entered my classroom.

Because of people I have met through horses, I know there is always something to learn from the person in front of me, and I have the confidence to know I have something to teach them too.

Catch up on all episodes of HN Reads, the Podcast. Exclusively on Horse Network.