Riding After Kids
- April 26, 2020
- Jolyn Young
Last week, I saddled my horse for the first time in two years. That seems like a long time off for a lifelong horse lover such as myself to forego riding, and it was. I used to ride horses for the public. I lope three-year-olds for a cutting horse trainer in Texas, and I cowboyed on a northern Nevada ranch. All that changed when I became a mother 7 years ago, though.
In 2012, my priorities changed when I realized how important I was to my newborn baby daughter. I was her source of nourishment and comfort. I was her first home. Someone else could change her diaper and bounce her up and down the hallway, but no one could ever replace her mother. Since then, two more babies have followed. Both were boys, and all three children evoked the same strong maternal instinct within me.
My desire to stay healthy and unhurt overruled my passion for riding and roping, even though I know plenty of ranch wives who ride daily. Some even start colts with their kids secure in a play pen nearby. My husband and I have always lived far from town and relatives, though, so I chose to be extra cautious when it came to riding. If I broke my leg or wound up in traction, I had no relative living nearby who could come take care of my kids while I healed up.
So, my chinks and spurs sat in the house and didn’t see a speck of dirt in years. I roped at the occasional branding or loped a few circles around a hay meadow on a summer evening, but for the most part my saddle remained in the saddle house until the seat became covered with dust. At some point, my husband tied a rope I’d never seen before to it.
But last week, I made my comeback. The kids have a gentle pony, and I have a reliable gelding that my husband gave me when we were dating. My kids are now old enough that I feel comfortable riding a gentle horse. If I get hurt and have to hobble around on crutches, at least my eldest child can make PB&J sandwiches for her little brothers.
So, I laid my toddler son down for his afternoon nap, handed the Netflix remote to my four-year-old, and headed out the door to catch my horse with my daughter. She’s seven and wanted to ride her pony with Mom.
I had been looking forward to the day I could ride alongside my daughter for years. I’m happy to say it was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined.
For the next five days, my older two kids and I pulled on our boots and ran to get our halters every time the toddler took a nap. If the little guy woke up when we were still horseback, I plopped him in front of me on my saddle and let him hold part of a split rein while I toodled around the arena with his siblings.
I’m glad I waited to ride for as many years as I did. It was the right decision for our family. I’m also excited to usher in this new phase in our lives, one where I can hold the reins and help pass our cowboy heritage down to our kids.
Here, I’m sitting on my favorite horse Teaks and holding my toddler Levi while my preschooler Milo cheeses for the camera on his pony, Crow.
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....