Horse show Moms. Share your personal stories in honor of Mothers Day.
I had a thread on this archived for years but it did not make the last fomat transition. In honor of my late Mom, I'll do it again.
Mom did not not ever really like horses, she was scared of them. Yet when I got involved and bought my first horse at age 19, she was nothing but supportive. I lived at home after my Dad passed, paid my own way. But if it was a choice between car insurance or a vet bill? She'd pick up the slack and never say a word.
She liked to visit the shows, especially Del Mar, Santa Barbara flower show and the old Indio Date festival show so close to Palm Springs. She held the horse for me if I needed to go to the bathroom and always had a treat for them even if she was a bit scared to give it to them.
Oh, she was no helicopter type, I was an adult and she mainly liked the scenery and any exhibits that might be on with the show. But she was there at a substantial number of my shows, driving alone or with one of her girlfriends. Always told me I looked great...and that is what a Mom's job is.
Only a Mother could come up with such common sense words of wisdom...I pointed out the horse in the next stall had been purchased for 16k (back in 72 or so when that was alot for a Western show horse). She walked up, sniffed, and said it smelled just like mine did.
Another time I was whining about not having a Pro trainer as a parent. She rather bluntly came out with the fact nobody was taking the role of Mom and just being there as a Mom. Can't argue with that sort of thing.
When she passed, she left my sis and I with a decent amount. Sis was angry with me for buying a horse with some of it...until she found the note Mom left for us, something to the effect that she knew what I would do with part of the money and I should get a good one.
I did. Still have it 10 years later...probably no accident it's a grey. She loved greys at the racetrack, always put a few bucks on them. Ironically she also always used to bet on anything with Johnny Longdon aboard back when-and he rode my mare's grandsire a time or two-a grey as well. That still makes me smile.
So share your Mom stories. And, if they are still here? Remember them on Sunday, even if you are at a horse show. If she is a good Mom, she'll be there as mine was so many times on Mothers Day.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Great thread. My mom sacrificed a lot for my riding. She was a horse woman long before my older brother and I were born, and got us both into it. When we were young kids, my parents were still together and money was good. When they split, Mom sacrificed our large and very comfortable post-separation house so that I could keep our at the time laid up large pony, who was my best friend. Sacrificed all forms of a social life to work over time so that I could have the fashionable show clothes and equipment. Drove FARRRRR to take me to lessons when we had to move the pony to a cheaper barn. Passed on the car she really wanted so that I could lease a very nice junior hunter. And of course, all the regular horse mom duties - show slave, chauffeur, seamstress, nurse, waitress.
The thing I have always loved most about my mom though is that she is there when I need to talk out a problem or situation or need help in making a decision. Whether it was choosing which division to compete in, which show to go to, which horse to lease, how to solve an issue in the saddle - she has always listened to my babbling and "or maybe's" and done the best she can to help me come to a conclusion. Even now as a pro, I still go to her for guidance in horsey situations, have her look at sale horses, etc. I usually don't let her come to horse shows anymore because she has proven to be a bad luck charm for many years now, but I know that if I invited her she'd be there, even if it was just to watch my students compete.
Oh, and I can still shove the milk container in front of her and ask her to see if its good She makes fun of me and asks why that's still her job, and I tell her it is a permanent mom role to smell potentially bad food.
My parents always wanted land. When they finally bought some when I was 7, they bought me a horse. An Egyptian Arabian BROODmare. Needless to say she bucked me off. a lot.
At the same time we purchased an appy mare for my mom. Eventually my mom and I traded horses since the Arab was a tad much for me then. The appy taught me everything a kid needs to know.
When I took up showing, my mom was always there. Always at the ingate, always took my ribbons. Always covered her face in my jump-offs.
My appy mare was always a bit of the "mule" type. Stubborn and determined to be that way until she died. But the one thing my mom would do I'll never forget is to grab her big muleish ear and whisper to her before classes "Be good, or I'll send you to Kal Kan." The mare would go in and be perfect.
The mare passed from old age a few years ago at a friends' farm who has foster kids but was forever our favorite. She still tells me I need to find my next "Darlin'" horse.
My mom was a wonderful horse mom. She wasn't horsey by nature, but she was my biggest supporter and biggest fan. So many of my wonderful memories from growing up involve the two of us, on the road coming to or from a horse show. And as a single mom, I'm still not sure how she managed to make it all work. But she did and I'm forever grateful to her for everything.
Early on in our horse-owning days, she discovered she really loved to brush the horses so she would come to the barn and brush my first horse when I was out of town visiting my dad. In fact, this is how I wound up with my heart horse, the large pony I had for the last few of my junior years. If it wasn't for her falling in love with him while he was owned by someone else and volunteering to groom him when his family was away, I wouldn't have wound up with my Wink and wouldn't be riding today. She loved that pony, sometimes I think more than she loved me (his picture was in her wallet, not mine...I was riding him in the photo, but she cut my head off to make it the right size...). One of his horse shoes sits on the sofa table, right next to my first pair of cowboy boots - I've been trying to get her to give me that shoe for YEARS but she won't let me have it.
Mom wasn't just the best mom at the barn, she was also the best horse show mom. She held horses, helped muck stalls, set jumps, whatever she could to help out. She always made sure I was fed and hydrated - and she did the same for all of the other kids whose parents didn't come to shows, as well as for my trainers and the grooms. If we needed it, she had it...and if she didn't have it, she found it. She was everyone's pony mom.
I did my first horse show in a long, long time a few weeks ago. It wasn't until I was standing there with horse in one hand, saddle in the other trying to figure out exactly how I was going to tack her up on my own that I realized what I was missing...my support system. I'd forgotten how much of a huge help she was. The minute I got home, I picked up the phone and called my mom to tell her how much I missed her.
Now that I'm married & on my own, my mom has started bugging me for grandkids. But I know in my heart, it's not that she just wants grandbabies, it's that she wants grand PONIES. She's gonna be an awesome pony grandma too.
My mother was the epitome of a horse show mom. She never missed a lesson or horse show from the time I was 3 until I went off to college. She was always there with a brush, towel, water bottle, smile, or hug as needed. They sacrificed so much financially. They spent my entire college fund and much of their life savings to buy me an imported high level jumper. I am eternally grateful for everything her and my dad did for me to support my (slightly expensive) persuits.
My mom was a great show mom too. She was not a horse person at all, but did everything she could to support my passion, including transitioning from being an at-home mom to getting a job outside the home to help finance my riding, driving countless hours, and generally arranging her life around my lesson and show schedule.
My mom had a small business making pottery, and she designed the prizes for many of the shows in our zone. Some 25 years later, every time I see someone from the northeast who was showing around that time, they ask how my mom is doing and tell me a story about the platter or picture frame made by mom that they won and have kept for all these years. In fact, most of these conversations seem to revolve around my mom, who, despite the fact that she never sat on a horse, apparently made more of a lasting impression at the horse shows than I did
I am pushing 40, and my Mom is still my horse show Mom. Today, I survived a particularly challenging ride on my fresh, fun loving horse. She followed me into the barn and said "I will do just about anything to help you with these horses, but I will never get on that horse!"
Sure! 30 years ago, she was my warm up rider. We reminisced about my first ever horse show. I was 8. My horse was a hot little park bred Arabian. Mom got on to ride him around the show grounds and get the fresh out of him. I remember it myself. He was so excited. He had his tail straight up over his back. The lady who was helping her was laughing at them. He was a hot little number. I think that was the last time Mom ever warmed up a horse for me.
She has been to every horse show these past 31 years. In fact, her mother was with us at every single one too. Grandma passed away two years ago. Last year I thought I might have the heart to go to a show without her but in the end I didn't. Maybe this year. We traveled a lot of miles, and had a lot of adventures... split britches, rank horses, floods (plural), wild costume classes and just about every little horse show emergency you could endure.
After we got done reliving the story of that first show, we were watching my step Dad shovel poop out of the indoor. He said the only reason he does all this work around the barn (he's non-horsey) is because we have so much fun. He's says he'll do anything if it means the "girls will play together". Yup, we've played a lot.
My mom is the best horse mom. Other moms hover, "Hon, have you eaten anything today?" "Now, why aren't you wearing the black belt?" "Where's the monogrammed saddle pad!?" "Here's a breakfast burrito... eat it while you're walking just before you move up to the 1.3m! You'll do great with 32482 calories in your stomach!" etc. (Am I the only one who feels nauseous when riding with a full stomach?)
I've been going to horse shows "alone" since I got my license, but my mom still comes up for Saturday and Sunday if she can get somebody to cover her patients. She understands that yes, I will eat something just not ten minutes before my class and she'll hold the ketchup for me while I eat (thanks!). She washes my clothing if I fall and always makes sure that my horse has a couple cookies. She loves to just veg out at the barn with me or by a ring and honestly tries to understand the sport while realizing that she doesn't need to cluck at me when I come by or try to talk my trainer into a hot new bit (true story: a vendor sold somebody's well-meaning yet very pushy mother a $170 custom bit when the same one was on dover for... $30).
My mother grew up with horses, but she never competed or rode "seriously." It's great knowing that she loves them as much as I do. She does more than just writing checks and bringing me water; sometimes when I get frazzled or if my horse and I are having one of those days, it's nice to go out to dinner with her and hear about one of her cases or some such other thing not at all related to horses.
My relationship with my mom has always been horse-centric, starting from the moment I opened my mouth and said "pony!". I was a year and a half and that day my mom hunted down a pony ride place and I sat on my very first four-legged animal. Not too long after that (though far too long by her calculations because I just "wouldn't shut up about that pony ride!"), she found a farm that would take me at the tender age of 2 years, 11 months. Within a month of taking my first official riding lesson, she leased that very pony for me (a small named Nickles n' Dimes) and then another (a medium)...and about a year after that, another. And it just started going from there.
Though my mom grew up riding and owning horses, she was in the epitome of a "backyard" situation (hell, her pony used to drag the swingset across the lawn when she'd tie her to it to give her baths!), so there was never any intention of getting seriously into riding and showing on the A circuit, but through a series of events, that's precisely where we ended up.
I was very lucky to have two parents who were very supportive of my sport, even though my dad complained about the price tags all the time . The fact that my mom rode softened the blow a little for him, I think. It was harder to say no to his wife AND his daughter than just to his kid .
My mom was (and still is!) that horse show mom that every kid wishes they had. Horsey enough to know where to find 'X' and how to make use of it, fashionable enough to put together a GREAT jacket/shirt combo out of your overflowing clothing bag, handy enough to polish boots and wipe mouths at the same time while staying out of the way of the person polishing feet, wise enough to know when I'd need a pep talk or when I needed to be left alone, and talented enough to remember everything I'd forget and things that I didn't even know I needed. And she's just the nicest person on top of it all. Always has a smile, kind to everyone, always made an effort to get to know everyone (my friends, their parents, barn staff, trainers...if they were involved, my mom was friendly with them). She's known to spoil everyone rotten and has a cute habit of buying gifts for the barn staff that she gives out on the last day of the horse show. The longer we're there, the nicer the gift. She likes knowing that people feel appreciated.
In the past she's been a surrogate barn mom to the kids whose parents are less involved in their sport. Bringing extra drinks or buying extra snacks/lunches, giving extra pep talks, and always giving extra hugs. She usually takes the farm staff out to dinner once a week at the big shows and usually springs for special treats for everyone on the weekends (donuts, ice cream, cake, etc.). The irony is that she's a skinny redheaded Irish woman with no taste for treats and my father is the big Tony Soprano-esque Italian man who loves to feed everyone. Go figure!
And our horses LOVE her...more than me most of the time, lol! She's a weekend rider, loves nothing more than a nice trail ride or hack in the ring. She has mostly taken over my favorite pony that we've had for almost 12 years...the trade off is that I have her super nice investment horse turned family member . Out of our herd, she regularly rides 3 and I ride the rest, though we certainly don't have any that are "hers" or "mine", even though she'll claim differently (she tells everyone that they're all my horses and she's just grandma, lol!). She actually gets upset if she forgets treats and will go out of her way to get a bag of peppermints or carrots.
Even though she has a demanding clinical schedule and runs a consulting firm, she does everything in her power to make sure she attends every horse show, even if she has to come up a few days later. In the last few years she's even started showing a little bit in the pleasure and long stirrup divisions which has been so neat! And if we're not horse showing, we spend every Sunday going between our three farms, riding, going to lunch, and just enjoying our time together.
I'm very glad that I stayed in the area for college and grad school, the barn would never be the same without my number one favorite barn mom!
Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.
I haven't shown consistantly since my first pony, about 10 years ago...but almost every single show I've done, my mom has been there cheering me on. We don't get along sometimes but I really do appreciate her.
We lost our pup Jerzey in early March...she was my mom's best friend and my mom is NOT by any means a dog person, so I ordered a commissioned painting of her that arrived today: http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/8291/deleteia.jpg
Not a story about me neither about my mom, but it's about a horse show mom and I find it kind of funny.
I was at the sidelines watching a pony class. Right next to me is the mother of the child in the ring. The pony happens to refuse at the jump right in front of us and the child falls off.
I tell you, this mother knew her daughter very well. As the girl touches the ground mother is already 2 steps into the ring. By the time the girl has crawled back on her feet and opened her mouth her mothers hand is already slapped over it and she is being dragged out of the ring under the fence by that same hand.
The pony is running loose for the trainer to catch because this particular horseshow mom has been around.
She is most definitely not going to let her youngest embarass herself by screaming the F-word so loud they can hear it in the foodstand if she can help herself.
This happened a few years ago and as I mentioned I had front row seats. I have never seen anything like it. The speed with which this mom retrieved her child and how she went straight for the girls wide open mouth was amazing! LOL
I knew them loosely from seing them around and she told me that the girl has a bit of a temper and has picked up some bad language from her older siblings. She said all "I could think of was to get her out of there before she got her wind back and got herself excused from the entire show!
Well, my mom was not born the horsey type. If I recall correctly from the stories she has told me, her only experience ever riding involved a friend a a run away horse who had been stung by a bee, or something like that.
Despite having no horsey background, she has become the best barn mom that I could ever ask for. She is always there to hold my pony for me, or get me a snack. She never complains about sitting out in the heat all day at a summer show, infact, she always says how fun it is to watch my "renagade" pony jump. She has tried her best to learn the "lingo" and even does pretty well for herself. She can graze, lead, brush, bathe, and even remove a bridle. Oh, and of course, she can feed treats.
She has always been there to support me financially. She has paid for countless lessons to broaden my knowledge and riding experience. She has driven me thousands of miles to shows, lessons, etc. Without her, I would not have a pony, nore a ride to lessons. She is so supportive and words cant describe how thankful I am to be her daughter.
On the other hand, she has also been the one to decline me financial support, which I have now realized has helped shaped who I am. I have learned to work and set goals; I have learned to save and manage my finances. It has been an important lesson that she helped me learn.
Without my mom, I would not be where I am today.
"To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong
My mom is adorable. She's about 4'11", and can't way more than 90 pounds soaking wet, so pretty much everything she does is extra cute.
She rode when she was little, but only because they already had a horse. She mostly just likes petting them on the nose.
Anyways, she's a total bleeding heart type. If there is a horse in need, she is right there. She doesn't know a lot, but she just loves so much. She doesn't really do much at shows, but she's always giving kisses, patting all the ponies, and everyone is just so darn wonderful. It's just cute because she looks like one of the little kids until you get up close to her.
And without fail, she always brings my Pomeranian and walks her all around the show grounds. We joke and call it the midget parade, but really, I love seeing them coming towards the trailer. One time, someone commented on the dogs breeding, saying she seemed awfully big for a Pom (10 lbs), and my mom was SO upset! It was like someone had insulted her child. It was precious.
I love reading everyone else's stories! Yay for moms!
My mom was not a typical "horse show mom". I was almost born on a horse because my mom's whole life is horses. I never knew a life without horses because of her. My earliest memories are being at the barn with her, be it cleaning stalls, grooming a horse, or, my favorite memories, the early 3:00 am mornings of going with her to braid, sitting in a freezing cold barn aisle just having conversations with her. She scouted out my first pony who got me through short stirrup and was with our family for over 20 years. She gave me my first horse, my best friend who grew up with me, which we raised from birth, she trained her and took us to many shows, being the trainer, groom, and horse show mom all at the same time. I never knew any other life than being at the barn or a horse show with my mom. Now that I am older, I appreciate those times even more, realizing that those times were so special, and were "our" time. My mom would sacrifice everything to make sure I/we had horses in our life, she would trade braiding for me to have lessons with a pro trainer, trade training and grooming to get me a ride to a show, and cut back on other things to make sure the horses were well taken care of. Even though we would have our mother/daughter moments, I would never, and have never, been to a show without her there, wiping my boots before I go in the ring, holding my horse for hours at a time, and giving me direction from the side of the ring. I can't imagine being at a show without being able to ride past and see her at the side of the ring, always with a smile on her face and the direction I need in her eyes.
I had a horse show dad, not a horse show mom... So I will wait for Father's Day. Mom is NOT a horse person.
Thanks for writing this guys. I work at a retail store and I see customers I will work with once or twice, that make an impression on me. Today I saw a woman who had been so kind and patient and fun to work with... with her daughter whom I had never met.
Her daughter was reaming her out for not letting her stay out past 9:30pm on a school night, yelling in between her selfish tears. How she didn't want to stay home because she couldn't stand to be with her, how her mom was so horrible to her... And the woman was calm but you could see how much it hurt.
This really brought a tear to my eye. So in honor of mother's day... THANKS to all the great appreciative daughters out there. I wish she had daughters like all of you.
Ironically I started horse showing at 15 and it's what kept my parents together! We never did family trips or anything. And my folks never had a great relationship but I started showing 2 or so weekends a month, we were stuck in a camper together and boy did things change!
My favorite Mom memory though is from Friday nights. We'd haul up, I'd ride and after bath. While my horse was drying in crossties I would band. Now my horse was a neurotic nut so mom would stand in front and "share" her Rum and Coke with him! he would stick his tongue in her cup and lap up the beverage! Kept him occupied though!
My mom was/is awesome horse show mom. She took me to shows as a kid. She was scared driving our truck and trailer but she did it anyhow.
She always made sure I had food/drink/towel and shoulder. If I had a bad class she was there to wipe the tears. When I had a good class she was there to hug me. She would find classes that I could have as my blow up class. (nerve buster).
Even now when she comes to shows she steps right into horse show mom role. She still brings me drinks and reminds me to drink. She closes her eyes when I jump.
This is a work in progress, and I'm sure I will edit it more tomorrow (I'm never happy with my own work):
From the moment I was born
it was all I knew
Being at the barn
just me and you
From my first lead line class
to my first adult show
You were always there
teaching me all I know
In the early morning
we would travel together
to braiding jobs all over
no matter the weather
Cold, quiet barn aisles
only horses eating hay
your fingers working magic
among an occasional neigh
You found my first pony
a little bay named Kande
and then my first horse
a beautiful blonde named Taxi
You taught me how to ride them
to get right back on when I fell
wiped my boots at the ingate
and on occasion even had to yell
As I grew older and lost interest
in horses and riding
you took care of my horse and pony
without even blinking
Then the horrible, dreaded day came
when my true best friend
the love of my life
had reached the end
As I hugged her good-bye
and told her I loved her
I decided then that
I could never love another
Years had gone by and
the spark re-ignited
you once again led me to
the newest love of my life
You take care of him for me
from his stall to his hay
just as you have always done for me
from my very first day
Now that I'm older
I look back on those days
and wish we could go back in time
to the ponies and braids
To the full days at the barn
and the days at a show
to just riding in the fields
and riding in the snow
I realize now
how important those times were
and could never imagine horses
without you there
Every horse I see and
every time I ride
I will always see you
standing by my side
There may be a butterfly
that I like to call Taxi
but there will always be a butterfly
that will be my MOMMY.
I was one of those kids who had to borrow other peoples' horse show moms. Hats off to those ladies!
My own mother likes horses and does want to help to an extent, but just could never bring herself to get fully into the sport. Horses are just much money and responsibility for her financially-conservative tastes.
But that came from her momma. My own mother did ride as a kid whenever she could and yearned for a horse. Perhaps the crucial difference between us was that she took "no" for an answer from her mother, and I did not.
When we were adults we switched roles. I bought her a series of 10 lessons, chaps and helmet, and watched from the rail while she rode. We talked about her riding and the kind of horse that would be good for her. I made her the (still standing) offer to find her the perfect first horse and team of barn owners, trainer, vet, farrier to make that work.
What I didn't realize before that first set of lessons is that she didn't know how to be supportive of my riding because, very sadly, she had never experienced that herself. She still has not accepted a first horse from me, yet I remain convinced that taking me up on that would expand her life in ways she can't imagine.
As a wee child, pre-kindergarten age, my mom read horse books to me. I was dreaming of being one of those lucky kids whose lives were magically transformed by interaction with horses. Mom soon realized her mistake, but my dad was a softie.
For my 7th birthday, I got to take riding lessons at $2.50/hour at a stable nearby. Every Thursday, when elementary school let out, I did not join the children from my neighborhood on the afternoon bus but, instead, went with the "walkers" (kids who lived within a mile of the school) and would walk to the riding stable. My dad would pick me up on his way home from work.
I didn't think much of it, other than my blissful delight in being able to, once a week for an hour, ride a horse. Years later, I remember that period of time as when my dad worked two jobs, he'd come home from his "day" job as an aircraft mechanic, pick me up, the family would have dinner and then dad would leave to work another 4 hours at a second job working with sheet metal.
Sniff, I should be writing that part for Father's Day!
I remember back in my "know it all" teen age years, taking the top telephone pole off of a drop jump (I had decided to take in the wrong direction while schooling) at Bay Ridge Stables when they were based near Clifton, Va.
The horse and I took quite a tumble and, afterward, I had short term memory loss resulting in my knowing where I was and what was going on at the show,but no recollection of anything that had happened that day.
I kept asking (to mom) silly questions such as "have I been in any classes?". She had not been at the show when I fell.
Mom said to me, "if it's that bad, get off and I'll take you home, otherwise hush up!".
I got off and mom was so surprised that she took me to the emergency room. At the hospital, after I had been examined, the doctor told my mom "we've x-rayed her head and there's nothing there".
Mom said "I know that! Is she HURT?"
Years later, once the Winglet had grown up and moved to his own nest and dear Trixie came to ride with me, the Winglet said "She's the daughter you've always wanted, isn't she?"
The Winglet is astute, I give great thanks to Trixie and to her very own real "horse show mom", who raised her, for allowing me the opportunity to be a Horse Show Mom with all the idiosyncrasies that encompasses in my declining years.
"If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."