Mom Moments May 10 2010, 0 Comments

Last week, I had a Mom moment. Like most other moms, I do have them—you know, it’s that instant when Mother Nature takes over. Your actions are no longer your own, and suddenly you more closely resemble a female lion or momma bear rather than a middle-class suburban mom. (Those of you thinking, “She lives in Vermont, so really she’s a redneck”….just stop right there. Up here, we call them woodchucks.)

My trip back down the evolutionary path happened at the barn, which is where I am (usually) more skilled at suppressing these instinctual outbursts. Watching your child ride an 800-1,200 pound animal is dangerous territory for non-horsey moms. Mom moments can come frequently and without warning. Any sudden eruption from mom has the potential to scare not only the horse, but other people as well.

And you see, moi, with my own horsey upbringing, should not be subject to these evolutionary outbursts, because I understand that most of these moments, while somewhat terrifying, do not lead to any harm of the cherished offspring.


The moment in question happened during a lesson outside on a beautiful spring day. (FYI, yesterday it was 36 degrees and snowing here.) Samantha’s lesson was going well. Then Mondavi decided that something was really quite scary down here at this end of the ring. He took off, and it wasn’t that “Oh, let’s see what she’ll do if I pick up the pace a little bit,” take-off. It was that no-feet-on-the-floor-I-am-going-so-fast-I-accidentally-just-farted kind of fast.

I was out of my plastic fake Adirondack chair in a flash. Our trainer, Tara was all over it, telling the girl to make him circle, but no, there he went up the long side, faster and faster…

The yell was in my throat, but I managed to hold back the scream of “Pull your inside rein!” My mother-in-law sat by, not really understanding that this was not good. Oh, the irony!

This happened about four more times, with the girl unable to turn the Mo Man on to a circle while he gleefully galloped up the long side at the speed of sound. I was about to hop the fence when Samantha finally managed to get him back under control. It was an excruciating three minutes. I was sweating and cursing under my breath and about ready to….to….to….do something. Because really, who does know what to do with all of that preternatural rage and energy?

I quickly looked around to see if anyone had noticed that I’d lost my cool. It seemed I was in the clear. The remainder of the lesson went well without any more outbursts by either me or Mondavi.

Back at the barn, Samantha and I chatted about the little take-off. I had expected tears (from her, not me). Instead she admitted that it was a little scary, but that it was just a dorky Mondavi moment. The rage drifted away a little. Later, Mondavi and I had a little chat about what the term “precious cargo” was all about.

This was an unexpected moment for me, one I had not foreseen in the step up from the pony to the horse. Humbling, I must admit.

A few days later, I caught another horse mom who also rode as a teenager, yelling at her mother who was nervous watching her 8-year-old granddaughter canter around the ring. “Should she be doing that?” asked the Grammy. My friend the daughter yelled at her mother, “Oh Mom, stop!”

I immediately came to the grandmother’s defense. “Don’t talk to your mother like that! She is just making sure that your kid is safe!” Melissa laughed at me. In another minute, if she kept it up, we were going to be belly bucking it out. Fortunately, I was able to sooth that inner-lioness so Melissa was spared any physical harm.

I went and stood with the grandmother.

This post originally appeared on The Chronicle of the Horse web site.