By: Barbara Cox (Larissa’s Mom)
It started as a dream…
I always knew at some point in my life, Larissa would come to me smilingly sweetly and say, “Mommy, I want to learn to ride a horse.” As far as I was concerned, that comment came far too early in Larissa’s young life. What was a mother to do? As a City Slicker, my knowledge was limited to the few trail rides I took as a child, so I did what every mother would do…”I’ll talk to your Dad!” Speaking to Dad proved useless as he totally supported Larissa’s dream. “Why not?” he said…”It would be good for her, she will develop self-discipline and patience…” Panic stricken, I mumbled…”But she’s so young… she was just learning to walk a little while ago!”
So the search was on. Locating a suitable lesson stable wasn’t as easy as I had thought, never mind determining on whether a particular instructor was right for my child, but I pressed on. Larissa was soon enrolled in a summer program and she loved every minute of her day. The summer program lead to weekly group lessons, which lead to private weekly lessons which lead to “Mommy, I want my own horse!”
Twenty years later, one horse lead to four and her dream became a reality. This Mother’s journey has been filled with triumphs and tears and very frustrating trying to understand the complicated national and regional championship points systems!
My evolution of a horse show mom was “I will never use a porta-potty!” “Never” quickly became “only in emergencies” to “just this once” to “only this weekend” to “they have really nice porta-potties here at this show!”
Good show moms also know that working with Dad can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Larissa’s Dad is one of the few great show dads who get up early, drive the truck and trailer, muck out the stall and fill that water bucket. But really, have you ever seen a dad shine a pair of boots or wipe slobber off the face of a bitted horse? No, not really. How many of you have seen horse show moms carrying a bucket, filled with ring side necessities, in one hand, and in the other, the dressage test booklet, show jacket and camera. This mom has learned how to back the horse trailer, clip horse whiskers, lead nervous horses and to make just the perfect horse show bun! Not only that, I am an expert used tack purchaser and horse show photographer. In addition, I can quickly sub in for the pre-show coach, on the ground trainer, horse massage therapist and seamstress! Packing the trailer is now an art form which is admired by all at the barn. At the show itself, my red horse show apron can be spotted from great distances. The apron itself, with its multitude of pockets, holds all the necessary requirements to handle any horse ring emergency…from bottled water, Back’s Rescue Remedy for horse and rider, boot brush, towel, lip balm, leather towelettes, dressage test booklet, horse cookies, emergency sewing kit with extra buttons, camera and backup battery to show clothes hook and hanger. Dad carries the video camera.
The years that Larissa has been in the United Kingdom continuing her education has been very difficult. The barn isn’t the same, the excitement of the show season has come and gone and the two horses remaining at home have been on an extended vacation. However, 2012 is a new year and the anticipation of Larissa’s return home is being met with great excitement and once again the horse mom will carry on…there will be triumphs and tears and there will still be difficulty understanding that championships points system!