Thank you for buying me that worthless Shetland pony when I was three years old.
For driving us to our grandparents on the weekend and teaching us to tack up, sit up, and ride.
For picking me up and drying my tears when said pony decided she had had enough.
For finding a local trainer and signing me up for real lessons at the age of 5.
For selling the first, and leasing a second pony – one that I could at least make canter.
For traveling around Pennsylvania and Ohio to dusty fairgrounds with a cart attached to your car.
For spending your winter’s hunting down purple chaps and rhinestones… and your spring’s spent embroidering towels and sewing curtains for the stalls.
For holding my hand when the new pony attempted to buck me off in front of the judge in western pleasure…twice.
For horse shopping with me at the age of 12, desperate to find a new and safer mount.
For finding a green thoroughbred at an auction and being persuaded that he was exactly that – athletic and safe.
For upping the lessons to twice a week and every day in the summer when we realized he was NOT what I needed.
For spending your Mother’s Days on yet another dusty fairground, wiping down tack and polishing hooves.
For buying me a trailer when you saw how much freedom it could give us.
For finding a place for my horse to come no matter where we travelled, even if it was for a week long vacation.
For waking up at 6am on your vacation to get me to said barn to ride before the heat and the flies.
For fighting with my dad when I said I wanted to take my horse to college.
For winning the fight with my dad by sophomore year and hauling my horse to college.
For supporting my decision when I said I needed to give my horse away when I knew that my father was losing his battle to cancer.
For holding my hand after my father passed, acknowledging that I was going through the hardest thing in my life without the therapy of my horse.
For encouraging me to move to Lexington, KY, homeless, depressed, and without a job.
For encouraging me to work for minimum wage mucking stalls on a thoroughbred breeding farm.
For sending money and paying for my truck insurance when mucking stalls on a thoroughbred farm didn’t always pay the bills.
For laughing at me when I said I brought a horse home.
For laughing harder when I said his name was Frank the Tank.
For laughing again when I said I wanted to start eventing again.
For laughing harder when I said it was on a friends pintaloosa.
For not laughing when I said I wanted to buy my own horse.
For getting serious and saying you supported me buying my own horse.
For calming me down and drying my tears two years later, when I was grad student broken and I said I couldn’t afford my own horse.
For sending more money and helping with that truck again, letting me keep my horse.
For (not really) encouraging me in all of my crazy endeavors with said horse, including skijoring, thoroughbred training competitions, ranch roping, team roping, eventing, and charity steeplechases, but giggling when I call and tell you about them.
For holding my hand from afar when I realized I needed to sell that horse.
For being my mom. The best member of the Happy Horse Holder’s Club out there. The most gorgeous rider, and the biggest supporter. The hardest kick in the ass. And the strongest hug. Waving the biggest pom pom’s, and screaming the loudest.
I love you,