Horse Show Moms Share Memories to Honor Mother’s Day
As one of the most heartfelt holidays of the year, it is effortless to spread the love when it comes to Mother’s Day. We celebrate our mothers and all of the mothers who have played crucial roles within our lives. If you are fortunate enough, one special kind of mother that you’ll encounter is the Horse Show Mom, as she is an incredibly rare breed.
Horse Show Moms go above and beyond for their horse-obsessed children every day. They attend all shows, pat away tears after a bad ride, never fail to wipe your horse’s muzzle before you go into the arena and polish every pair of boots so that you always shine.
These women do their jobs humbly, and most of the time without thanks, as many of us exhibitors sometimes forget the hard work and effort that they put in to support us at all times.
GoHorseShow had the pleasure of interviewing some of the very best Show Moms in the business and getting their insight on what it has been like behind-the-scenes raising their driven and passionate children.
Follow along with Nikki Schultz, Ashley Roberts, and Molly Cherry as they share their experiences on what is like to be tried and true Horse Show Moms.
Question 1: How long have you been a part of the horse show industry?
Nikki Schultz: I actively began showing AQHA when I was in high school after being involved with 4-H for many years. After college, I continued to compete in the All-Around events, and when my children were young, some of our hunt seat horses started showing in the hunter events as well. (pictured right with her daughter Katelyn)
Ashley Roberts: I have been involved in AQHA for eight years but involved with horses since I was very little.
Molly Cherry: I’ve been a part of the AQHA industry for as long as I can remember. I started riding around seven years old and began showing from then on. I competed at the AQHYA Youth World every year from about 1986-1989 and was lucky enough to win the reining title at my last AQHYA World Show. I showed some Amateur events as well up until Gentry, my daughter, started showing, and I decided to spend more time focusing on her youth career.
Question 2: When was the first show that you and your child/children attended together? Did you know it would become a passion for them or did it take time to develop?
Nikki: My children, Katelyn and Jarod, grew up attending shows and started showing Leadline when they were 2-3 years old. Both went on to show the Small Fry events, and we enjoyed showing as a whole family together. You could tell from very early on that they were passionate about the horses, and showing was a significant part of our lives. Katelyn continues to show now as an Amateur, while Jarod is active in high school sports and loves to hunt and fish. Jarod no longer competes, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the show pen one day.
Ashley: My daughters started showing APHA about eight years ago. The first show was with my oldest [daughter] Ella, was the APHA World Show where she showed the Small Fry Walk Trot. I knew right then that she was a goner just like her mom. My other daughter, Lennie, joined in about a year after that and them being able to do it together has been the best part. (Ashley pictured left- far right)
Molly: I think my Gentry and I both showed in the hunt seat events starting when she was around 9-10 years old. I could tell from the first class that she was hooked. She began the English flat classes and hunter events shortly after that and has never looked back.
Question 3: What was/is your favorite event, and what is your child/children’s favorite event to show in?
Nikki: My favorite events were the showmanship and the equitation back when I was showing. Also, I spent a lot of my time riding at a hunter barn when Katelyn was younger, so she rode a pony that was shown on the local hunter circuit. I think that is where she developed her passion for the working hunter. As a youth, she showed mostly All Around, excelling at the showmanship, but eventually, she began to focus more on the working hunter classes the last several years. Her horse, Dance Somemore, aka Conner, is great at the hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, and working hunter classes, so she is a very active competitor.
Molly: My favorite event was the reining. I always have loved the hunt seat as well, but the reining is just so exciting and challenging to me. Gentry started in the English events early on in life (pictured right), but now she shows in the reining and roping as well. She loves the Reining a lot like I do, but will always cherish the working hunter.
Ashley: I grew up showing the hunters, so anything English has always been my favorite. Both of my girls love the trail, and I think all three of us love the showmanship equally. It is enjoyable to get to show and then talk together about the good and the bad.
Question 4: What is your best memory with your child at a horse show?
Nikki: Having the kids grow up as part of AQHA has taught them both so much. Our network of friends from showing is vast and truly has helped them to become the people they are today. It’s hard to choose just one memory because showing has been such a massive part of our lives, but there is one in particular that comes to mind. I have been a Youth Advisor for the Wisconsin Quarter Horse Youth Association for years, and last year, at the AQHYA World Show, the youth team sent in letters to AQHA to nominate me for the Wrangler Youth Leader of the Year award. I was very honored to receive the award and love being able to see the future of our association grow up. From watching them show leadline, to loping classes, and then to competing at the Youth World, it’s been such a rewarding experience.
Ashley: For Ella (pictured right – far right), it was her winning the APHA 13 and Under Equitation at the AjPHA World Show. She had put in the time at home, and then, an hour before her class, her horse had a minor accident and stepped on her foot, breaking it completely. With Lennie (pictured right – far left), it was the Big A Circuit last year. Lennie’s past horse could be a bit naughty in the show pen and taught her a lot. Georgia was her first show with her newest horse and watching them come together as a team and try for her was a lot of fun.
Molly: I’d have to say that one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had being Gentry’s mom was when she won her first AQHYA World Championship at age 13, in the Youth Equitation Over Fences. However, as amazing as that was, the 2017 AQHYA World Show may take the cake. Gentry and her unproven, young hunter gelding, Al E Hondro, ended up winning the World Champion titles in hunter hack and working hunter, plus the Reserve World Champion title in equitation over fences. It was such a rewarding outcome for both of them, and a week we will never forget.
Question 5: What other job titles do you hold besides that of “Horse Show Mom?”
Nikki: Besides being a horse show mom, I am the Communications Director for a Catholic Church that we attend. I serve on the Wisconsin Quarter Horse Association Board of Directors, and I also assist with the UT Martin Equestrian Team Booster Club since my daughter Katelyn (pictured left) is on the team. Last year, I was asked to serve on the National Advisory Board that supports the NCEA Equestrian Teams and organize the National Championship. Now that my children are away at college, with the encouragement of our trainers Chuck Briggs and Linda Crothers, I hope to return to the show pen myself within the next year.
Ashley: I have five kids, three girls and two boys, so I wear a lot of mom ‘hats’ when I am not showing. I also manage Windemere Farms, a boarding facility that trainer Duke Williams runs his business out of.
Molly: Besides being a horse show mom, I also help to run our family business, Red Dirt Construction located in Guthrie, OK. My role as horse show mom will be slowing down a bit soon because Gentry is headed off to college at OSU to ride on their NCEA Equestrian team in the fall. I look forward to getting back into the show pen with one of our reiners and sharing more memories with my horses, family, and friends.
GoHorseShow would like to wish all the horse show mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!
About the Author – Sabrina Janis is a devoted Amateur competitor from Groton, Massachusetts, and has been showing Quarter Horses for over ten years. Under the guidance of Jennifer and Judd Paul of IronGate Quarter Horses, she shows her four geldings: Cruize, Ever So Sudden, Blazin OnThe Horizon, and Ima Money Magnet in the Western All-Around Events. She also shows her mare, Assets Agenda, in the Hunter Under Saddle. Currently, she is a freshman at the University of Tennessee at Martin, majoring in Veterinary Technology. In addition to showing horses, she is an active member in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and helps to volunteer her time on campus.