Mother’s Day is Sunday and I’m guessing many of us have our moms to thank for nurturing the horse love. I know I do.
My mother, Sally Butcher, can also thank her mom. That’s how it sometimes lovingly goes.
Elden Olsen, a reader from Utah remembers his mother, Rae Low Whitlock Olsen, pictured at right with her mustang, Desert Storm.
“She would put the grandkids on Storm and he would follow her around the yard like a puppy dog. He would eat the weeds that she would pick out. He’d give the grandkids a ride and be tended to at the same time.”
I’m recalling with fondness the knowledge, respect, and admiration my mother showed for equines and that she passed on to me. She and her mother, Louise Baldwin King, got me horseback in my preteen years. I was sent to riding lessons and even to a summer riding camp.
The best times were on the trails. By middle school and thanks to my mom, I became capable enough to head out on my own. That meant freedom, equine connection, and exhilaration all wrapped into these regular, positive experiences. The outings helped color those challenging teenage years in a happy light. They nurtured my confidence and connection with animals and the outdoors. They kept me out of trouble.
Thankfully, my mom also taught me about the heavy responsibility and expense of ownership. Girls grow up and ponies get left behind. I managed to not own any, but worked (feeding, cleaning stalls, etc.) for the privilege of riding. It was another set of lessons that my mother nurtured.
This winter, my parents left Maine’s winter chill for several days at the Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia, Arizona. There, a wrangler named Maddy helped Sally (who suffers from arthritis and scoliosis) get horseback for the first time in many years.
“She did great,” said Circle Z owner, Diana Nash. “We called her ‘Mustang Sally.’”
Here’s hoping we’re all stepping into the saddle when we’re good and grey!
Speaking of mothers and daughters:
Author and horsewoman Ann Campanella has an award-winning memoir: Motherhood: Lost and Found.
Campanella is a former magazine and newspaper editor. She lives on a small horse farm in North Carolina.
Mother-daughter pair Lynn Raven and Nancy Raven Smith assisted Bradford M. Smith in the publication of a fun book: The Reluctant Farmer of Whimsey Hill.
Don’t let the goofy cover fool you. It’s an easy, entertaining read of the trials of a beginner farmer.
Happy trails and happy reading!