This week, McKenna Oxenden hands the reins of her column over to her groom, sponsor, cheerleader and biggest fan: her mom.
This week I thought I’d give you guys a little break from my worry rants and give you a different take. A few weeks ago, I firmly told my mom that she would stand in as me in my weekly blog post for Horse Nation after MCTA and, no matter how well or bad it went, she was to write, and where she would go from there was up to her.
As I said in my Mother’s Day post, she’s a pretty special lady so let’s give a big warm welcome to Momma Ox! Let’s treat her with lots of pageviews and comments, as she’s been fretting all week about this and was a nervous Nelly sitting next to me as I sent this off.
So without further ado…
From Momma Ox:
I would say that moms are often our child’s biggest cheerleader. As she asked me to write this blog I had this as my opening, then I thought it was just was not cool enough. Being that imitation is the best form of flattery, I looked up cheerleader in the Urban dictionary, as watching her ride in an event is an accumulation of many cheerleading moments.
Cheerleading Moment [from Urban Dictionary]: Much like when a senior citizen is having a “senior moment,” when a normally smart, quick-witted person has a temporary mental lapse in judgement and/ or conversation.
Need I say more???
When McKenna was two and three, riding the merry go round five times instead of one seemed harmless–it made her so happy. At age four and five what harm was being done that she ran around the house with horse stick every living moment. At six, I was not concerned when she started to put reins on the dog and pretend he was a horse. She would set up jumps and give instruction. At seven when lessons were required I thought this would pass; honestly, two lessons later I knew this child was hooked and no matter what, horses were going to be a part of her. Eight years later the love, excitement and enthusiasm has not diminished, but only increased.
It has been a journey that I have had the privilege to take with her. My background in horses includes several trail rides, the last being when I found myself holding on for dear life as the saddle was no longer on his back but on his stomach. And so it began, the new language–I no longer could say, “you know, that thing that holds the horse in its teeth,” or “the short whip is really cute.” I had to learn “Bridle” and “Crop” and a whole new load of terms. I had to accept the fact that no matter what kind of day she had, the only thing that would cheer her up was a ride on a horse. Her trainer Ashley became her everything. Ashley said this, Ashley said that… I was beginning to feel very left out until I found my spot, my role, my way of participating.
Writing checks, being the water girl, becoming a taxi and learning to work out of my car because of the time it took up. The proper way to muck a stall (yes MUCK). I became fashion savvy about the newest outfits that riders were required to wear. How much for the black jacket? You need tall boots–what is wrong with the short ones you wear? You want to wear white pants on the horse and then ask me to clean them and keep them white for next week. You want a hair net so you can look like a lunch lady why? And you bring a change of clothing to a horse event because? Your colors on your shirt need to match your saddle pad. Ohhhh so confusing, but I learned.
I also learned that riding horses is a sport that I must explain to everyone. What is eventing? First the horse does a dance, then he jumps around the ring, then goes in a field and rides like hell over jumps I cannot see. All this goes on while I nervously pace to hear her name from the announcer, and not just her name but CLEAR OVER!
The journey has been good and it still continues. Knowing money doesn’t grow on trees, McKenna graciously understands when she “just can’t have everything.” She keeps up her school work, and she mucks her stalls (not her room). She is always willing to help a younger rider and she continues to live for the dream. She accepts what she has to work with and just continues to work harder!
Because my daughter has always known more about this sport then me, I have watched her grow from her own mistakes, I have learned the cues as to when we “can talk” and when she just needs time to think about it. We have learned that winning is not just getting a ribbon, but finishing better then you did the last time. She has learned that there are ups and downs, and when down you must get back up. You must work very hard but still enjoy and have fun. My advice to her is to always take one step at a time, one jump at a time and when it is all over look back and think about how you could do it better.
As a golfer my mother always told me nobody asks how that ball gets in the hole, it is the end score that counts. In the sport of eventing, finishing counts.
Live your dreams and I am one glad mom that I get to come along!