Motherhood and horseback riding

On Facebook Heather M. asked me “What I would like to know from you is did you ever lose your nerve to ride at any stage between having your kids?? Since having my twins my normally high level of confidence has plummeted-motherhood seems to chance every aspect of life including one’s nerve to be riding confidently.”

Yes, Heather, you are not alone. I also noticed that as soon as I mounted up for the first time after my first son was born I knew something had changed. I tried to ‘write it off’ as the fact that I had not ridden for awhile. Then I tried to convince myself that it was because I wasn’t quite ‘myself’ physically yet (you know, 9 months getting that way-try to allow yourself 9 to get back). But it didn’t change.

Being kind of stubborn I looked all around but finally had to admit that motherhood itself had changed things. I think in one word maybe it could be summed up as ‘responsibility’.

Here I sit, 13 years later, and I can say that the intensity has changed-decreasing slightly-over time. But it is still with me. Jesse, my husband, said that something also changed for him although it was not quite as intensely focused on the horses. His theory about the intensity I experienced is that a new mother feels more responsible for her newborns immediate needs. I think he is wise in saying this. Not that ‘Dad’ isn’t as important but we did carry them all those months inside our bodies…. 🙂


  1. Heather Mitchell on November 17, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Thanks so much for writing this for me Stacy!! I always wondered whether it was just me who felt this way. I’m also a farmer and find it affects all aspects of my day, I seem to automatically be more cautious with everything I do now that I have my boys – subconsciously taking care of myself so I can take care of them! More so because I am married to a pilot who spend a LARGE percentage of the year away from home working up in Africa – so our twins are my soul responsibility along with our farm.
    I guess when it comes to riding I will never return full to my former fearless state but can be very grateful that I am still in the saddle and still surrounded by my beloved horses, because I know of so many women who give up their horses to raise their families.
    I’m very happy to tell you my twin sons LOVE horses!! So in time we will be able to enjoy riding as a family – so looking forward to that:)
    Thank you once again Stacy – if ever you find yourself on your way to South Africa you and all your beautiful boys are very welcome to spend some time with us on our farm:)

    • Stacy on November 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Be careful what you offer…we are returning from Australia now and South Africa keeps coming up!

  2. S Sullivan on November 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Nice to know that I’m not alone. I’ve had to go back to riding lessons just to be able to get on my horse. All I could think of was “what if???” My kids are 5 and 3…it gets better for me the older they get, thankfully.

  3. Shirley on November 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I agree that your priorities and responsibilities shift with motherhood. It caught me totally off guard! I started riding when I was 11 and quickly went from English pleasure to hunter/jumper. I slowed down a little while in college and getting married, but was getting back into the swing of things when I became pregnant. I did a few hunter shows after child #1, but nothing over 2′ 6″. I stopped showing after kid number two, mostly because it just got too expensive. I used to ride by myself all the time, even trail ride by myself… not anymore, plus I wear my helmet a lot more. The other thing that really surprised me was the fear for my kids! I had given lessons for years and never thought a thing of it; imagine my surprise when I plopped my little boy up on the back of my horse and almost puked because I just knew he was going to get hurt. It was too weird.

    We’re doing better now though. Like Erica posted above, I my gelding likes my boys better than me now. I keep joking that in the next year or two I will have to get “my own” horse LOL!

    Overall, I think the motherhood thing is hard because you’re you’re not riding as much as you used to, you’re not focusing on the horses like you used to, and you start to second guess yourself. You feel out of practice and shaky and get a case of the “what if’s.” And like Stacy posted, the intensity shifts a little bit. For now I am looking forward to a future of 4-H and hitting local shows with my boys 🙂

  4. Lori on November 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    This is so true! My son is now 5-yrs-old and I definitely think twice when mounting a new horse, which (of course) is a recipe for trouble! haha Partly, I just think, “I can’t get hurt – I have to take care of my son.” As a single Mom, I feel like I really need to watch the level of risks I take. At the same time, it has made me really focus on getting the manners and the ground work accomplished before I put that boot in the stirrup! Thanks for this blog, Stacy!

  5. Erica on November 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

    My daughter is now a little over 13 months old. And it still feels like something is different when I ride. But I still love my horses just as much. But now my mare likes my daughter more than me. Pretty sure when my daughter gets a little older she will be stealing my mare from me!

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