Mamma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys

My first horse, Annie and I circa 2008.

Mamma’s should never let their babies grow up to be cowboys. I think most parents who have raised a horse crazy kid or two can give you a laundry list of reasons why it’s a bad idea. But here are a few of my favorites:

  1. They might learn about a day of hard work before ever joining the workforce.
  2. Work ethic, something most say is a learned trait. Well you guessed it, horses can teach kids work ethic way before other their age.
  3. Early morning feedings, late-night colic, and long weekends at horse shows or rodeos teach kids about prioritizing their time and how to handle stress and quite often  exhaustion.
  4. Community-forgot a hoof pick again? Have a horse break your last halter? The horse world is big on community and helping out those in need.
  5. Honesty- did you forget to feed the horses? Most know this is a major no, no and can cause a lot of health issues for their horses. Not only do horses teach kids about honesty from a managerial standpoint but also when you work with a horse, they act as a mirror of yourself.
  6. Whether your parents cursed you with a pony or a mare (I got the mare), as your first horse, patience will always win. I can’t tell you how many times my trainer yelled across the ring…BE PATIENT!
  7. Horses also taught me as a kid to let things go. Horse stepped on your foot or ran you over when you were leading her? Let it go, staying mad through your ride only makes your ride, and eventually your day go to crap!
  8. Love- My horses taught me about love way before any relationship did. I knew what it felt to miss someone (let’s be real, our horses are basically human to us). I knew what it felt like to hurt when they got hurt, to be happy when they achieved something (again let’s be real, my first horse did the real work in the pen, I was just a pretty face aboard my steed hoping to stay on).
  9. Annie, my first horse taught me about companionship. Had a bad day? I’d sit in her stall and cuss the world for hours! She was my best friend, coming home and she’d come bolting through the pasture, most likely expecting food but I liked to think she knew that it meant her human was home.
  10. Having an open mind, there are 100 ways to accomplish the same result with training horses. Listen to what your trainer and comrades are saying, you can probably learn a thing or two.
  11. You are never done learning. The best piece of advice I got from an old cowboy was to never stop learning. He ranched his whole life but would attend horse shows just to learn new things from others.
  12. Probably the hardest lesson I learned was that life wasn’t fair and money does not grow on trees. My parents never let me go without, but we couldn’t afford even a $5,000 horse, or for me to show as competitively as I wanted to.

Still going off lesson number 12, I think I am a better horseperson and just overall person for learning that so young. I had to work for every ribbon and appreciated what I had and the horse I had because I couldn’t “trade-up” as so many do these days. The moral of the story is to let your kid take the lessons, it’ll make you poor and them money and time poor for the rest of their lives but by golly their lives will never feel empty.

-Emily Bomgardner

KimesFarhaan Thawer