'She Is Just the Support We Need': For a Life With Horses and Being My Biggest Fan, Thanks Mom

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M

y mom started taking riding lessons a year or so after me. She had never ridden before, but considering her six-year-old's obsession was clearly not waning, she figured "if I'm going to spend so much time and money on this activity, I might as well enjoy it, too." So we spent the entirety of my teenage years competing together at horse trials, jerking our fully loaded bumper pull through the mountains with a salmon-colored '92 Ford F-150. My life with horses today is built on the foundation of my friendship with my mom, developed over thousands of highway miles, and I know my story is not unique.

On this Mother's Day, we salute the moms who drove us to lessons, threw horse-themed birthday parties, and was always ready with a hug or a kick in the pants (she always knew which one was needed). Most of all, thanks to Moms for always being there to encourage us, to fuel our passion, to help us shoot for the stars. We love you. 

Share your barn mom stories in the comments!

My mom has been a major part of my riding career. Every show I have competed in since I was five she has helped me to succeed. No matter a 2 or 4 a.m. start time, she would have my horse ready, my tack ready, and pull our horses to wherever we needed. I give all the credit to my mother for being so amazing and I believe that if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have made it this far and I also wouldn’t have started horseback riding. The reason as to why I was so successful was because she was by the ringside cheering me on. - Milliann C.

My mom went to Lake Erie College and majored in Equine Studies. After college she got a job working at Centenary College as assistant director, head IHSA coach, and taught equine studies classes. After six years at Centenary, she by chance saw a job posting in the back of The Chronicle of The Horse. It was Director of Riding and Head IHSA coach position at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Twenty-nine years ago she got that position, and now this year she is retiring after 35 years involved in IHSA and 29 years as the Head Equestrian Coach at Dartmouth College. ... Many see her during the day but behind the scenes she takes time to give care and attention to every horse. She makes sure every school horse feels like it has the attention from one person. Besides being an amazing mom to my brother, sister, and I, she has been an even more amazing horse mom. She raised us three on the road by bringing us along to all of her horse shows, she would attend all school and sporting events for us, managed and led the Dartmouth equestrian team to many successes, and still managed to never let the care of the horses dwindle. She truly is an amazing supermom and deserves everything and more! - Jenna B.

Our horses can teach us important lessons about motherhood. 

My mom used to pick me up from my bus stop as a child on horseback. She'd ride her mare the 1.5 miles to where the bus would leave us, ponying my pony, and then we'd ride back home together. Never fully grasped her deeply rooted level of coolness until I became a mom. Mom was also the one who taught me how to hook up, tow, and back up a horse trailer like a badass. Now my towing skills bring all the boys to the yard. - Alli A.

My super mom with our horse (pictured above), supporting me from the beginning! - Maud V.

My mum is the most badass barn mom. Without any prior history with horses, she has endlessly supported me and my twin sister in this sport. Travelled altogether thousands of kilometers for horse shows (she even learned how to drive a horse truck!) and travelled all over Europe to try horses with us. Couldn't have wished for a better mother than the one who, instead of spending her weekends enjoying her valuable free time, she would chauffeur us to shows where she would help us by running from warmup ring to show ring the whole day. We thank her for all the time she came rushing to one of us when we fell in the competition arena or was the kick in our butt after crying over a bad lesson. She is just the support we need. Love you mum. - Tina P.

Molly Ashe Cawley is proof that motherhood doesn't mean giving up on your dreams.

My mum always said to me "I will never ride a horse," and look at her today! After eight years that she followed with me my biggest passion, she went on my horse (pictured above)! Mums are so special! - Irenee D.

What would you like to say to your mom?

Feature photo courtesy of Jenna B.

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Written by Leslie Threlkeld

Having grown up on horseback, Leslie Threlkeld, Managing Editor at NOËLLE FLOYD, treasures her career in the equestrian industry as a writer, photographer, and eventing technical delegate. Leslie thrives on frequent travel but never tires of returning home to the serene mountains of North Carolina.