At some point in a mother's life, her child--most likely, her daughter--will smile sweetly and say, Mommy, I want to learn to ride a horse. And then I want to win a blue ribbon. What's a mother to do? (Or for that matter, a father, since he'll become involved too, even though ferrying the child to and from lessons and competitions is far more often the equivalent of a Soccer Mom.) Even people who rode when they were younger may t remember the ins and outs of the sport, and especially the way it's played these days. Riding to the rescue comes Susan Daniels, an experienced and accomplished Horse Show Mom. Taking the perplexed parent under her wing, she provides advice on locating a suitable lesson stable (including how to tell whether a particular instructor is right for your child, and what to do if he or she isn't), determining when - or whether - to buy a horse or a pony, outfitting horse and rider (must the animal's leg wraps and the child's ponytail ribbons match?), and understanding and coping with stable politics (such as when it's appropriate for barn managers and instructors to pay more attention to ather youngster than to yours). When it comes to horse showing, the author explains how to tell when your child is ready for competition, what's expected of horse and rider at various levels of proficiency, which supplies Moms should always have on hand (safety pins and hair nets lead the list), how to deal with your child's triumphs and tears, and how to understand the complicated but crucial national and regional championship points systems. With pages of warm and encouraging humor, sound advice and illustrative true-life adventures from the worlds of hunter/jumper, Western, combined training, and dressage competition, The Horse Show Mom's Survival Guide is a valuable leg up for any parent whose youngster has that blue-ribbon gleam in her eye.
SUSAN S. DANIELS, Horse Show Mom extraordinaire, has written for Practical Horseman and The Chronicle of the Horse magazines. A nine-year veteran of Horse Show Mom-dom, she lives with her family, which includes accomplished show-rider daughter Chetana, in Fairfield, Iowa.