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Moms and Horses

What is YOUR favorite horse story shared with your mom?

- May 5th, 2016 - Special Section

These heartfelt memories between moms and daughters are being reprinted from the California Horsetrader archives this issue to celebrate Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8.

Keeping the pony dry…
I’m the mother, but I think I’ll share our story. I was 29, and my daughter, Elishia, was 7 when we first got into horses — and we got her first pony. He was a Shetland Pinto, about 11.1 hands (good thing my daughter was very small). We named him Oreo since he was black and white. We were new to horses, and this was our first small ranch. It was a stormy and rainy night after it had rained all day. We only had partial covers, so Oreo was soaking wet. I felt so badly because my daughter was feeling so bad about her pony. So, thinking I was doing a good thing for Oreo and my daughter, I brought little Oreo into my living room, in front of the fireplace.

My daughter was so excited, she got out her blow dryer and we proceeded to blow dry him. Well, we got him all dry and fluff. He looked happy. Then my husband came into the living room and said, “Well, now that you got him all dry, when are you taking him back outside to his stall?” Oh, oh. We hadn’t thought that far. We just had thought we were doing a good thing for Oreo and a good thing for my daughter. But poor Oreo, all nice and warm and dry in our living room, had to go back outside to his stall with the partial cover to get wet again. I think we made it worse. Now after owning horses more than 21 years, we know better. Now I have a three-acre ranch with about 18 horses — some mine, some boarders — and all have full covers. I have made sure of it.”

Hail storms and steel umbrellas…
Diane Netter, Escondido
A hail storm — we didn’t notice the dark, suspicious clouds looming on the horizon that hot summer day. “Mom, I’m going riding with Janell!,” I yelled over my shoulder as I ran out the door in shorts and a tank top. “Put some shoes on!,” Mom yelled out the window. I smiled and waved but, being a typical 13-year old, completely ignored her request. Janell and I always rode bareback and barefoot during those carefree teen-aged years. The noon day sun bore down on us, as we headed out of my backyard corral toward a nearby river. We didn’t see the storm that was following us until we got to our picnic spot, and by then a strong breeze was blowing and it started to sprinkle. The unfriendly clouds were directly overhead and the temperature had dropped dramatically. We hopped on our horses and headed back home, as the sprinkles turned into pouring rain. Then it started to hail. Hard balls of ice struck our bare arms and legs, producing large, red welts. Our horses were running now, tossing their heads nervously in response to the pelting ice. Janell and I tucked our heads into our horses’ necks, letting them have free rein to find their way home. It seemed to take forever, but finally my trusty steed bolted into the corral and under her protective shelter. I jumped off, crying from the painful welts. Just then my sweet mom appeared, running from the house with a metal washtub over her head for protection. Grabbing my arm, she pulled me under her steel “umbrella,” and together we raced back to the house. The hail pelted the metal, causing a deafening roar, but I was glad for the protection. I know Mom must have been anxiously watching for me out the window when the unexpected hail storm arrived, and I was so grateful she was there to rescue me with her makeshift shield that afternoon. It made me realize that no matter how grown up I felt, I would always need Mom’s loving umbrella of protection.

Crisis, and the best time ever…
Shannon Clark, Hemet
Our first trip with the truck and trailer to Des Moines, Iowa, for the POA International Sale and Futurities. One blow-out, two leaking tires, and a 2-year-old with stitches, buying five horses and only having a three-horse trailer AND an insane freak storm with lightning, hail and black ice…yet having the best time ever!

She never missed a class…
Susan Hutchison, Temecula
I don’t have a specific story about my mom…I just am so lucky that I had such a great mom. She never missed a class, came to most of my lessons and was supportive in every way. I was a very lucky kid.

A long ride home…
Catherine Brown-Swain, Peyton, Colo.
When I bought my first horse at age 11, my parents bought me a Paint mare that I named “Nellie.” After the decision was made to buy my mare, my mom began arrangements to have my horse hauled to where I would be boarding her. As no one was available to haul my mare on that particular day — and I was not willing to wait — my mom and I went to pick up my horse. I would be riding her home…miles away, my mom followed me on my horse in her car for miles (and hours). We arrived at Nellie’s new home very late Saturday afternoon.

My horse in her hands…
Carmela Bozulich, Rowland Heights
My mom was diabetic and suffered from kidney failure the last few years of her life. I bought my first horse, Spirit, a bit before she passed. She never understood my horse passion, being a New York City girl herself, but one day she asked me to drive her to the stable where I boarded Spirit so she could meet “her grandson.” I remember taking her out there, and she couldn’t get out of the car easily, so I walked him over to the passenger side window that she had rolled down, and he stuck his head in. She actually petted him and didn’t seem at all bothered by his attentions. I will always have that picture of her hands on his head in my heart.

Through love, much is learned…
Molly Rush, Riverside
As a child, my mother and I supported our family by delivering newspapers. At 12, I was, of course, wanting a horse more than anything else in the world. The newspaper cost $2 a month and we collected door to door. She found an untrained 2-year old for sale for $200 and told me that we had to collect enough to pay for the horse before we could even go look. We did, and soon “Babe” was mine. I got a little help from a trainer and a lot of good advice from my mother who had been quite the horsewoman prior to starting a family. The first time that Babe dumped me on the trail, the horse went to our neighbor’s house where they had an outside haystack. The neighbors called my mom, who panicked and searched until she found me, walking my dusty self home. From then on, each time the neighbor called mom to say Babe was at the haystack, my mom would just say, “Well, if Babe is there, then Molly will be soon, too.” My mother has been gone for 19 years. Thanks to the discipline she taught me, I no longer deliver newspapers…I don’t know anyone who was loved by their mother as much as I was. She would have me pick out a “poor” family every year, and we would buy them a Thanksgiving turkey or give them a Christmas tree so that we could share our good fortune with someone who had much less. She never told us that Rice-A-Roni and Mac-and-cheese were side dishes, for us, they were the main course at dinner often because she could not afford groceries, but she made sure that I had a horse — and what that horse and my mother taught me gave me the life I have today. My mother left this world seemingly poor. The day she left, I learned that things that seem to be tangible are not real at all, since they cannot be carried with you when you leave this life. My mother went to heaven carrying the one thing that is truly tangible — and she proved that, too — LOVE was the only thing she could carry along with her.

Fears aside for horse-crazed kid…
Cynthia Murphree, Ojai
My favorite horse memory shared with my mom is when I was around three years old. My mom would take me to ride — not ponies, but horses. I got to ride all by myself, around a horse shoe track with a small fence between lanes. As I was only three, they put me in the slow lane. I would hop the horse over the little fence and come down the home stretch at either a trot or sometimes a canter. I would be laughing, my mom would be almost ready to run out and get me, and the ranch hand would put me back in the correct lane — and we would do it again and again. I know it must have really scared my mom to see me running on the horse, but she kept taking me back week after week because she knew how much I loved it. That says a lot when a mom puts her fears aside for the happiness of her horse-crazed kid. I believe that my mom gave me my passion for horses.

Inspiration of her lifetime…
Barbara Harris, Anza
From 2009 through 2011, I rode the vast trails on my beautiful mule, Scooter, dedicating to my mother those rides in Montana, Oklahoma and Arizona. She inspired me my whole life to enjoy our beautiful country, sitting a saddle. Thank you mom. I miss you.

She rode into her late 80s…
Marlene Rold, Oroville
We were heading to the Trinity Alps on a pack trip with my folks, sister and a friend who had several pack mules. My mom had mentioned her hip was bothering her on the drive to the trailhead, saying she may not be able to ride once we got there. However, once at the trailhead, it was evident no one wanted to stay and camp at the trailhead with her, so she climbed on the back of my old Appaloosa who was a retired distance horse. Rearing to go, off we went following the pack mules. Not far down the trail, I noticed that old appy was really acting up, chomping at the bit. When I asked Mom if she wanted to trade horses with me, I was thinking her hip must be killing her. She replied, “no my hip’s not bothering me.” Go figure — all that jumping around took her mind and any pain away, and she rode the rest of the 13 miles to camp and back. She never complained of any soreness. This was just one of many rides we took together. Mom was in her mid-70s at this time, and she continued to ride occasionally when her joints would act up. She always said it was good for her, and she felt it loosened her joints up. Even into her late 80s, she would occasionally say she needed to go for a ride. I miss her…

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