I have a great suggestion for a new reality show — Horse Moms. Now I bet you’re laughing at this suggestion — how on earth could this possibly compete with Dance Moms — I mean, have you seen that show lately?! Well, to be honest, I don’t really watch Dance Moms and I do hope that I’m not that off the wall yet — but some days I think I may be working up to it and maybe I should consider a reality show. At least it would pay for my daughter’s therapy bills later right?!
What is a mom to do when she spends hours at the stable watching her child ride knowing that she could do better — the urge to leap over the fence and shout advice is almost beyond enduring:
Keep those heels down!
Where are your eyes? You have to look where you want the horse to go!
Why isn’t your body in position — head, shoulders, heels — what are you doing? Belly dancing?! You don’t belly dance on a horse!!!
Heels! Heels! Heels!
And that’s just during the ride — before she mounts up I struggle to resist the temptation to lecture (these lessons will drive your parents into the poor house so you’d better ride well!) and after she finishes I try to frame my response in a way that is equal parts useful criticism and loving advice (um, sweetie, do you remember you have to keep those lovely heels down — really, down!!!)
And let’s not even talk about the perils of talking to other Horse Moms. The casual questions that are not always so casual — how long has your child been riding? At what stables? Is she cantering, jumping, prepping for the Olympic team perhaps? And then the guilt when you start to obsess that your child is not as advanced as child X, Y or Z — really, shouldn’t you be happy with the progress your child has made and with how happy she is riding? Ok, silly question, at least when in the presence of all those gifted child riders and their beaming moms — sigh.
What is a Horse Mom to do I ask. It’s an expensive sport fraught with pitfalls for a mom who really only wants the best for her daughter — is an Olympic medal too much to ask? In all reality, I do not expect her to reach that level (we don’t have that kind of budget!) but I would love for her to reach her own personal goal which is to be able to jump and show (especially at the show in Kentucky that she dreams of doing).
So it looks like I will have many years of Horse Mom fun ahead of me — years of sitting in the cold or heat, helping to groom/wash/pick hooves and generally serve as equine gopher, fighting to get chaps on (what evil person came up with chaps!) and boots off, not to mention cleaning tons of gravel/dirt/manure from boots, off clothes and out of my car, and hoping that this will be the ride that will make it all worthwhile.
And when she looks over, sitting tall and proud on her chosen steed, with a big grin I know it is in fact worth it. And look, her heels are down — yes!
(Note: My daughter would, in fact, tell you that I am a very nice Horse Mom — despite my obsession about those darn heels