It's funny how every Equestrian Mom had a different path to becoming what we affectionately call Equestrian Moms. Some have always had a love for horses. Whereas there are others, like me, who have never held an affinity for horses or even the outdoors. Imagine my surprise when my oldest daughter, at 6 years old, asked if she could take horseback riding lessons. Cue the wide eyes and horror music. How in the world did she come up with this, what does this mean for my wallet, and where do I find the best and safest place for her to take lessons?
I was born in Washington DC and our family moved out to the Northern Virginia suburbs when I was in elementary school. My sister's and I were city kids all the way, but in our defense our parents were from Long Island, N.Y. It was in our DNA. We were very well rounded as kids and had ridden horses on the beach on vacations around the world, but at the same time we had never been camping and only wanted to stay in the nicest hotels. My only true horse riding lessons came from a sleepaway camp, up in Pennsylvania, that I went to in 5th grade . Some girls in my class were very into horseback riding - remember, we had moved out to the suburbs now and at the time there were far more rural areas than I was used to. These girls were heading up to a sleepaway camp at a ranch during the summer, and my parents let me join. I can't say that it was an awful experience, but let's just say it solidified my dislike for the outdoors. My sister's and I grew up playing a wide variety of team sports and participating in other extracurricular activities, but equestrian sports never crossed our minds. Our mom is not an athlete by any stretch, but she and my dad allowed us to pursue our interests and supported us every step of the way. I still remember as a freshman on the varsity basketball team we received a last minute invitation to a national tournament 12 hours away. We found out Friday, and our first game was the following Wednesday. Most parents couldn't pick up and go like that, but mine were some of the only players parents who traveled to the tournament at the drop of a dime. My mom was always in the stands cheering us on and getting us whatever we needed, while my dad was our unofficial coach. Even after a combined over 15 years of watching sports, I doubt my mom could explain some of the technical terms. She didn't have to. She was there for us. Our cheerleader.
I never had a bad experience on a horse, for which I'm grateful. I've just always been more of a city girl. You can imagine my surprise when my oldest daughter came to us at age 6 asking about horseback riding lessons. I really shouldn't be surprised because she inherited a love for all animals from my sister. She also likes to try EVERYTHING. By that I mean, she's taken guitar, ballet, jazz, tap, swim, gymnastics, and just asked about karate. Did I mention she's 6? Maybe that's normal nowadays, but I had only had piano lessons at her age.
Grandparents have helped out alot with the expenses of lessons, but horses are a whole other animal (no pun intended). I never anticipated that my husband and I would find ourselves here - with a daughter interested in horses. She watches all of the shows she can find, and loves to read about and look at pictures! Could this be more than just a fad? Will I end up being one of those moms at the barn every weekend? Only time will tell if she commits to it, but one thing is for sure I will be right there for all 3 of my girls, with them all the way, supporting them and doing everything an Equestrian Mom is supposed to do because after all, I had an exceptional sports mom myself.
- Courtney L., possibly future Equestrian Mom