A new online column from H&R Editor Chelsea Shaffer on the perils and joys of raising kids in the saddle and around the barn.

If I’ve learned anything in the last three years of motherhood, it’s that there’s no role I’ve ever played that causes more anxiety or more joy than being a mama.

My too-brave 3-year-old daughter has—in her short lifetime—managed these feats of bravery that have in fact stopped my heart: 

  • Climbed into a pen and squared off with a mean mama cow
  • Scaled the ladder to the hay rack on my stock trailer a lot higher than this mom would have liked 
  • Fallen off her pony bareback (twice!) because she was waving at her friends
  • Chased a bouncing ball toward a $50,000 2-year-old son of Frenchmans Guy tied up on display at the famous Myers' Horse Sale, before I grabbed her by the hair and stopped the ball before it set off an unfortunate chain of events (sorry Myers family...)  
  • And the list goes on... and on...

Every trip to the barn or the pasture feels like a minefield, one that I see far more clearly than her cowboy daddy—who is one of those glass-half-full type people.

[READ MORE: 5 Hard Realities of Being a Toddler Mom in the Horse World]

I know for sure I’m not alone in my horse-mom stress. We love our babies. And our kids love our horse life, too. Our animals are a constant tug on our hearts, and no matter how we try to keep our kiddos safe in the barn and on the backs of their horses and ponies, accidents can happen, and some kids (like mine!) do their darnedest to get themselves in trouble.. 

Little girl and pinto pony

This blog's inspiration: Elise and Tonto. 

This blog—presented by Resistol’s RideSafe—is meant to be a space where we can explore our kids' safety with their equine partners, with the help of leading trainers and competitors who’ve got kids of their own. Sprinkle in a little humor and even some free giveaways, and we’re going to have a lot of fun in the coming months. The goal is to find some fellowship in the balancing act we’re pulling off as parents, and to figure out a few ways to make our kids grow into happy, healthy horsemen and horsewomen. 

So before you go, sign up to win a free straw Resistol RideSafe to protect yourself and those you love, and we'll see you soon for some information and entertainment. H&R

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