All our moms deserve a bouquet of thanks for what they’ve taught us.
- The Whole World is Never Entirely Against You.
I was always a die-hard competitor and put my heart into every class. Equitation and medal classes were especially rough, because every aspect of my position and every detail of my performance were scrutinized by the judges. If I made an error that cost me a ribbon, or simply didn’t do as well as the other riders, I was crushed. Fortunately, I had a great Horse Show Mom. She’d give me time to recite every which way my jumping round met with misfortune. She’d stand back and let me rant about how I’d let my horse down, my trainer down and myself down. And then she’d get this look on her face, where she’d tilt her head to one side slightly as if she were sharing a deeply felt personal conviction, and say quietly to me, “Well, I thought your ride looked beautiful.”
- It’s Okay to be a Little Different.
While the other little girls in the neighborhood were playing with Barbie dolls I was playing with plastic horses. Other girls dressed like princesses on Halloween. My mom helped me make a jockey costume. Instead of pushing me to be more like the other girly-girls, my mom supported my horse-infused quirkiness. If I felt it was fashionably acceptable to wear cowboy boots to third grade, exposing my bare skinned knees below my knitted culottes, that was fine with her. Her unwavering support of my horsey lifestyle continued through my teenage years and into adulthood. Despite several broken hearts (from boyfriends who couldn’t accept the horses) and several broken bones (from horses that couldn’t accept me in the saddle), my mother never suggested that I give up riding and take up something more traditional, like tennis. Or less dangerous. Like knitting.
- Love Exists Despite Imperfections.
My mom loves me despite my faults, and believe me, I have many. We could start with my lack of social skills and continue from there. But besides that, my mom—like yours, I’m sure—sees a sort of beauty in less than perfect qualities. For example, if we think our smile is crooked our moms say it’s “cute.” If we think our nose is bumpy our moms describe it as “having character.” This ability to look beyond obvious faults and still see beauty, and indeed feel love, is a lesson we take forward to our relationship with our horses. I doubt that any of us own or ride a horse that’s 100-percent conformationally correct, or one that performs flawlessly each time. Yet we love the beast regardless. We disregard the lop ears, the mismatched hooves, the uneven gaits and the silly idiosyncrasies and embrace, instead, our horse’s kind eye, their courageous heart, their friendly nicker and their deep soul. We acknowledge our horse’s shortcomings, but look beyond them to celebrate those traits which make them special. Our moms have taught us that. And maybe that’s the best lesson of all.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there: Human moms and horse moms!
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