Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

A Salute To Mothers PDF Print E-mail

February 1999 issue of Collected Remarks
By Gigi Nutter

prose_106_1.jpgDuring the last 25 years as an instructor, I have always looked for those treasured "moments of enlightenment." Students experi-encing a breakthrough have made one more step towards forming a good concept of riding and the "big picture." Looking back there seems to be a countless number of children ages 4 to 14 bounding around the ring in small groups trying to learn posting trot or the ultimate diagonal. Years ago I had a palomino pony named Astro that was usually assigned the youngest child in a group lesson. If I said "whoa" and he would stop, "trot" and he would trot on. He was a little teaching machine.

Occasionally the barn help would drop a bit of hay on the ground in the indoor ring. During a lesson Astro would spy this treat, decide it was meant for him and come to a sudden stop to munch. The unfortunate tyke riding him would fall forward, click her heals behind the cantle and either regain her balance or tumble off. If she fell I would run over, wipe away the tears, brush her off and hoist her back into the saddle. In my best instructor's voice I would tease "you know it takes three falls to be called a you have one under your belt." For the benefit of the other kids I would continue "if we were playing football, you would be foolish to think you will never get tackled." As the lesson resumed, I would glance over to the lounge and give the nervous mothers a reassuring nod. Many would be shaking their heads with apprehension and looking back with hands partially covering their eyes. I did not yet understand why.

On January 14 of this year I was the one who experienced "enlightenment."

prose_106_2.jpgMy 3 1/2 year old daughter Cassidy Anne has enjoyed riding her pony Jesse since she turned two. The pony is as gentle as a lamb and usually willing to put up with 30 minutes of walk/trot to earn her keep. This day Jesse decided to give a little jerk of her head in resistance to Cassidy's desire to trot. I stepped over and gave the pony a "tap" on the fanny as I usually do. For some unknown equine reason, she executed an immediate leg yield for a step or two. Needless to say, gravity overcame Cassidy's balance and I watched my daughter plop onto the sand footing. The instructor in me reacted first as I brushed her off and sat her back in the saddle. Through tear-filled eyes she asked, "why did you do that mommy?" "Jesse was being a bullhead and needed to be reprimanded" was my semi-controlled answer. Realizing that my daughter was in one piece, I told Jesse to "walk" and the pair went on their merry way. I looked over to my husband standing by the rail and began to feel my knees shake. As all of the riding instructor cliches continued to roll off my tongue, the motherly fear at seeing my only child fall off a horse almost paralyzed me. In an instant I remembered all the mothers who hid behind a tree during a lesson, covered their eyes, chewed their nails or just didn't watch at all. I never had any sympathy for what they were feeling. Now I understand completely.

With this newfound wisdom I salute all the mothers of children who ride. Each of you deserves the blue ribbon of courage.

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