Jennifer D'Onofrio would definitely be considered a partner-in-crime mom with her daughter, Bella. Photo © Jennifer D'Onofrio

In Honor of Mother’s Day: Seven Types of Moms You’ll Meet at Horse Shows

Let’s hear it for the horse show moms! It takes someone strong to make a strong competitor and we all know that horse show moms are some of the toughest people around. They are the late night, early morning warriors who inspire and support us from our first rides to our victory laps.

As far as moms go, they are in a category all their own, but if you’ve been around enough horse shows, you can probably start to see some common “types” of horse show moms. While no two horse show moms are exactly alike, in honor of Mother’s Day and horse show moms everywhere, here’s a list of the kinds of horse show moms you’re most likely to meet at a show.

1) The Caterer Mom

This is the woman you’ll find unloading four coolers, a mini-fridge, and maybe 3+ crockpots while simultaneously setting up a snack bar so those unloading the tack and horses can keep their energy up. She’s organized and has executed a full menu meeting every food need for the entire group. She’s got proper nutrition and comfort foods alike and never forgets to pack that one favorite item that you can’t live without. She’s your go-to mom when you need to re-fuel and she’s got love served up with every bite.

2) The Stylist Mom

She’s got makeup magic, that extra touch with hairstyles, and is in high demand for every last minute style check. While the trainer might have the horse’s grooming tote, the stylist mom has the triple-decker Caboodle with tidy containers of every possible size and color of bobby pins, hair nets, ribbons, and safety pins. She usually has a long waiting line to sit in her “chair” before show time. She’s your go-to mom when you need to look your best before you hit the pen.

3) The Documentary Mom

Video camera? Check. Phone camera? Check. High-res digital camera? Check. Social media accounts? Hashtags on point. She’s there to record every minute. She doesn’t want to freeze her kids in time, (okay, maybe just a little) but she knows that any moment could be a memory. Oh, and she doesn’t just document her kid, she’s taking shots for the whole horse show family. She’s your go-to mom for scrapbook materials or when you are feeling nostalgic.

4) The Lifer Mom

She’s faithfully watching every live-streamed moment when she’s not still riding along on those horse show trips whenever she can, all while posting every achievement along the way. She’s seen you through leadline and beyond and even though you’re an amateur or maybe even a professional now, she’ll always remain your #1 fan. She’s your go-to mom for cheerleading and moral support.

5) The City Slicker Turned Cowgirl Mom

Once upon a time, she was the one awkwardly putting the halter on upside down as her kid panicked about the possibility of missing the class. You may find this mom cautiously hanging onto the end of a lead rope praying that the horse attached doesn’t try anything funny. Or she might be the mom asking to watch you band or braid so she can try to learn how. She’s your go-to try anything mom who never imagined she’d be spending all of her free time in a barn, and she does it all for you.

6) The Partner in Crime Mom

She’s cheering you on from the sidelines but minutes later your roles are reversed, and you’re the one whooping in the stands as her number is called. She’s the mom who either introduced you to showing through her love of the sport or somewhere along the trail she decided she may as well try her hand at this crazy sport, too. She’s your go-to shoulder to lean on in a sometimes dog-eat-dog world because she’s been there, too.

7) The Professional Mom

She’s not cheering in the stands or tidying up the tack room; she’s on her way to the pen. She’s the judge who is checking on her own kids at the lunch break. She’s the one taking a victory lap with a baby bump or toddler riding double, or she’s the trainer who has to sneak in cuddles or phone calls home in between three runs in the Junior Trail. She’s your go-to wonder woman who manages to get it all done with a little help from the fleet of show moms you’ll meet at a horse show.

So, here’s to you, horse show moms.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Did we miss any types of horse show moms? Let us know below or tell us about what makes your horse show mom special in the comments. And, of course, don’t forget to thank your mom for all that she does.

View a slideshow of pictures honoring more horse show moms below:


About the Author: Rachel Kooiker is a lover of horses who loves to write. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BA in English and Psychology and an MA in Curriculum & Instruction. She and her husband Drew operate Kooiker Show Horses, where they stand APHA World Champion Im the Secret. They have a 2½-year-old daughter, Reed, who is currently training her imaginary pony, Gumdrop, for all-around events.

Photos Courtesy: Vanessa Froman, Vanessa Froman (via Eric Hardesty), Valerie Kearns, Beth Case, Beth Foster Hattan, Christopher Strong, Lacey Armstrong, Christine Shidler, Tammy Dyer, Sara Koster, Brandy Barniak, Christi Christensen, Paige Stawicki, Michelle Siefferly