Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
Growing up it was very frustrating to have a mother who didn’t ride. I had to drop out of Pony Club when I was 13 because both my parents worked and the meetings were right after school 30 minutes away. Unlike other mothers, mine couldn’t drive a truck or a trailer and therefore I never went to a pony club rally or even a pony club lesson. I didn’t have a horse growing up. In fact, my parents just couldn’t fathom spending so much money on ones hobby. They also didn’t understand horses or my love of riding.
Both my Mother’s Brother and her Sister ride. Both have owned horses, and my Uncle his wife are in the cutting horse circuit out in Az. For some reason, the love of all things equine skipped over my mother. Not only does she not get it, she is actually afraid a horses. What is a mother to do when she is afraid of horses and has a daughter that wants to ride?
After years and years of begging to take lessons my mother cracked. In 5th grade I got 4 lessons for my birthday and 4 lessons for Christmas. I know that these lessons were against my mothers better judgement, horses are dangerous after all. I think she just got sick of hearing me talk about horses and figured I would knock it off and see how scary they were once and for all. Unfortunately, her plan didn’t exactly work. Instead of 8 lessons total, she agreed to a weekly lesson when the weather was nice.
She ALWAYS worried about me riding though. As soon as she realized I was going to ride we went to the tack store and bought me a beautiful new helmet. As time went on I was allowed to lease a horse every July and August, and eventually even full lease a horse my freshman year of high school in the hopes it would help me get over my anxiety disorder. Sure enough, having a pony waiting for me helped to get me out of the house and stop worrying as much (all though we all know I still worry plenty)!
As a kid I never really thought about how much riding cost, or the time it took out of my parents lives to drive me to the barn. In fact, I was always a little resentful that my mother knew nothing about horses. Thankfully my trainer is the kindest person ever and I could call her up 10 times a day asking questions like, “why is my horses eye running” and “is it okay to use a saddle pad that is damp” because my mother had no idea.
The few time I fell off growing up would always result in a hospital visit. When you don’t fall off much, you don’t know how to fall. I can still see the anxiety in my Mother’s face each time she came to the barn to whisk me off to the ER. The anxiety was palpable and after each time she would try and dissuade me from riding anymore. I was resolute in my love of horses though.
Even though my Mom never understood it, she tried to be supportive. From the obvious things like paying for my lessons growing up to coming to each and every vet visit when Gen was hurt my Mom always tried to understand. While she is thrilled that I choose the relative safety of dressage she still gets nervous when the horse I am riding acts up. I know she was sad for me when Gen was retired, but I also know that she breathed a giant sigh of relief that I wouldn’t be riding my crazy pony anymore.
My Mom might not love horses, but she loves me. Even though I am 30 years old, my Mom is still willing to come to my horse shows and cheer me on. The one good thing about having a non-horse mother is that she has no idea what is good and what is bad. I can count on her to be at the gate with a big smile and a thumbs up no matter how terrible my test was as long as the horse kept all 4 feet on the ground. Would I have Loved Karen O’Connor to be my mother? Of course! But I have to say that I got pretty damn lucky with my Mom. She might not be horsey, but she is an awesome Mom!
What about you all? Did you have horsey Mom’s? Did your mother support your love of horses?