Horses bring so many special bonds into our lives, but the mother-child connection can be profoundly deepened by this common interest.The hours on the road traveling to the barn, the emotional ups and downs, the scrapes and bruises... if you are lucky enough to have a great barn mom by your side - or be one for your child - we hope you take a few moments to reflect and treasure those moments.
In honor of Mother's Day, some NF readers chimed in with their favorite 'Mom, Horses & Me' memories. Thank you to all of the mamas out there - we hope you feel treasured today!
The Life Lessons of a Barn Mom
From Lindsay: This picture epitomizes my life with Abbey as her mom and barn mom. I wore a grooms back pack at the shows. Abbey gave me one for my birthday because I was always carrying around towels and rags. I love every moment of being her groom, part time trainer, part time vet, cheerleader and confidant when things got stressful and overwhelming at shows and riding in general. When she broke her collarbone from a fall, I was the person who guided her through her recovery and her fears of getting back on her horse, Romulus.
Looking back, being a barn mom was one of the most stressful and wonderful experiences. The moments when Abbey conquered the show ring were magical and then there were the dark days of barn drama, and struggling with intense fears and overcoming obstacles. Abbey and I shared so much the last 10 years. The shows and our horses have made us such a team. As I prepare to launch her to St. Lawrence to hopefully ride on the team there next fall, I am so sad that this is all over.
But I am also looking forward to seeing Abbey ride in college and on her own. She doesn’t need her barn mom anymore, she’s ready to go. No one understands the complexity of showing and riding unless you are in that world. It’s so hard and emotional. Your teammate is a beautiful animal. As a mom, helping guide Abbey through all the learning curves and life lessons the show ring brings has been a beautiful challenge. I am grateful for all the lessons and all the things these amazing horses and team mates have taught us.
Trying to keep Abbey humble and understanding the true meaning of the sport and ignoring the rest of the drama and dark side was the hardest part. Winning isn’t everything and it wasn’t for us. We didn’t have the money to buy the horse that could win, it was always for the love of the horse and improving yourself. I wish more barn moms viewed things this way, so many get caught up in all the wrong stuff when showing. Barn moms have a wonderful opportunity to make this sport a bit kinder and forgiving and I tried to do that at our barn and with my daughter.
A Proud Daughter
From Kaileigh: My favorite picture of my mom (Hilary) and me! She has been there since day one at 4 years old and always put my riding dreams and goals above hers. She was my biggest cheerleader, my harshest critic, the best support system and so much more!
Although we both enjoy different aspects of horses, myself hunter/jumpers and her fox hunting, we have always found a way to connect. She now owns and operates a successful equestrian center to support our horsey goals and habits. I couldn’t be more proud to call her my mom and hope to be half the horsewoman and person she is!
A Treasured Photoshoot
From Enjoli: This is one of my favourite memories because my mom had never ridden a horse before but decided she wanted to get on my horse for our photoshoot. I was so happy that she got on my horse, Kyoto, because he is so trusting and caring and she knew that he would only want to be a good boy. Every moment with my mom and my horses are amazing moments because even though she may not be sure about them she always wants to help and learn more about the equestrian industry. She continues to support me and I would never be where I am today without her.
The Horse Bug
From April: I was very lucky to have a horse show mom that was also a horse lover. Our shows were usually Saturday and Sundays. Saturdays were for English riding when my mom would be riding, and Sundays were for Western riding when I would be showing. So we would be each others' support on either day - to help calm nerves, bring the grooming bag, and encourage one another. When I think back on my childhood I TREASURE the weekends spent at horse shows and I have to thank my mom for that. Introducing me into horses, pulling the manes, and sometimes lunging the fresh horse, I could always count on my mom.
I hope that I can pass these memories on with my daughter and hope she catches the horse bug too.
The Pep Talk
From Shanna: I was doing my first Grand Prix at home, and I had my mom hold my horse so I could walk the course. I walked back to them and she’s walking him around giving him a pep talk since it was his first Grand Prix too 🤣 We ended up getting 4th in front of a home crowd but now she has to hold him and give him a pep talk before every ride so we don’t jinx it. She also has to make her oatmeal cookies for him so she can walk and feed him while talking to him.
A Horsey Scavenger Hunt
From Hilary: Recently I had a big "pinch me" moment of gratitude when, right before Covid hit, it was my oldest daughter Violet's 11th birthday and my middle daughter Eleanor had the idea of creating a birthday scavenger hunt for her on horseback. We hid gifts all over the farm where we board. My husband led my 3-year-old Reed on her pony and I got to ride my horse. We were all together as a family, outside, no screens! It was really magical and I felt so grateful that we have horses in our lives!
The Famous Skirt
From Mackenzie: My mom was pretty much the best show mom a girl could ask for. She had a bad experience with horses when she was younger, but never let that stop her from supported my riding goals. She went to every show with me. When I came out of the show ring she always had a peppermint ready for my horse, her boot rag ready, and a big smile. She knew nothing about riding or horses but was always there for me.
Mackenzie and her mom (with the lucky jeans).
One of my favorite memories horse was with my mom at medal finals for our local circuit. My mom was famous among trainers, riders, and parents on the circuit for wearing her athletic skirts at the show grounds. She would clean out stalls, wipe down tack, and rake the aisle rain or shine in these skirts. It became her quirk. At this show it was unseasonably cold so my mom wore pants for the first time in the season. Before my medal ride my mom was talking to trainer from another barn that we were friends with while I waited to go in the ring. I was so nervous. My mom stuck by side not say anything but just being there for me. The trainer looked at my mom and seemed a little lost... a few seconds in the conversation she “exclaimed oh my gosh Dawn! I did not recognize you without your skirt!” We laughed so hard! I ended up placing second in the medal, I don’t remember anything about my ride. What I do remember is laughing with my mom. That memory I will never forget.
Feature photo by Kate Metzner.