Rethinking Horsemanship: A Mother’s Journey

Posted in: Featured, Horse Care, Horse Training, Ranch Life

Before I had kids, I evaluated my daily productivity by how many tasks I fully completed each day. I only felt satisfied if I loped a bunch of circles, improved my second barrel, got my horse more rounded behind the bit, or checked another similar item off my list of personal equine goals.

I spent the first several years after I had kids not feeling satisfied with my horsemanship progress. Our society is very goal-oriented, and women are told to not put aside their former activities after they have kids. We are encouraged – even expected – to maintain the same level of horsemanship and competition after kids that we enjoyed before kids. But, kids are a game-changer. Their needs are constant and all-consuming. I felt bummed when I only walked one circle around the arena on my gelding while my baby screamed “Mommy mommy mommy mommy!” relentlessly from her stroller until I put her on the saddle in front of me. No loping that day for Mommy.

Or, I’d put on my boots and pearl-snap shirt, lay the sleeping toddler down for his nap, settle the middle child onto the couch with a movie, and take my oldest child out to catch horses with me. We’d get them brushed, saddled, bridled, and be ready to swing on for a mother/daughter ride when my toddler woke up, red-faced and screaming, in the middle of his nap.

I’m nearly eight years into this motherhood gig, and I recently realized I need to reframe my mindset. Instead of focusing on my many tasks I do or how long my rides are each day “even though” I’m taking care of my kids, I should consider how many lessons my kids learned while shadowing me. I didn’t get my horse exercised, but I taught my kids to rub their pony between the eyes until she half-closes her eyes and sighs with enjoyment. I didn’t lope circles to the right, but I showed my daughter to look where she wants to go to improve her barrel pattern. I didn’t brush the stickers out of my horse’s tail, but I helped my son gain the confidence to ride bareback. I didn’t clean the tack room, but I held my toddler son in front of me in the saddle, where he kicked his chubby legs and clucked to go faster.

Now, I’m much more satisfied with my day’s work of raising little cowboys and one little cowgirl. If I reframe my horsemanship to include what I’m teaching them, then my day’s work is done.



Posted in: Featured, Horse Care, Horse Training, Ranch Life

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit

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