17 Feb Rodeo Mommin’ Ain’t Easy
As a mother of four children, I can preach all day long about how much work goes into it. However, of all my motherly duties, I can honestly say that being a rodeo mom is the hardest! First of all, we are a blended family. That alone has its struggles of its own; trying to align schedules, organize sports, and make sure everyone is happy, that ain’t easy! My twin boys play football and soccer while my step daughters play volleyball and do rodeo. The challenges of getting everyone to their sport is insanely difficult, especially when you can’t be two places at once to see each of them participate. There is always some amount of disappointment within the family when we are stretched so thin. So how does being a rodeo mom shape up to a regular soccer mom? Well, unless you do rodeo, you might not have the slightest clue as to what goes into it.
Now being a child of rodeo myself, it wasn’t until my girls got into it did I really start to appreciate my parents. When we first moved into M&B Farms, I had no idea it would turn into what it has. We went from desk job and part time horse family, to full time equestrian business owners overnight. My inspiration, Zoey and Summer Miller, my step kids. Now when I met these girls, they were barely trotting and loping lesson horses around an arena. They hadn’t ever seen a rope, nor had that chased a barrel. Boy did their dad pick a doozy of a wife ha! I have put a whole lot of sweat and tears into helping both these girls to become rodeo athletes in the 4 years I have known them. What does that mean? Well it means blistered hands from teaching your kid to rope, countless amounts of money dumped into making sure they have an advantage in the industry for a hopeful college scholarship and endless hours of dedication. My husband Carlin is so encouraging and really the best dad in the world. He’s also super handy (so important when running a farm)!!!
At M&B Farms, when you enter the farm, you will see many horses in the front pasture. Not all of them are our family rodeo horses, some are lesson or lease horses. For the 4 horses that we own who are my children and I’s rodeo horses, they take most of our time. However, there are still several up and coming horses that we have to train for the future, who also consume vast amounts of time. Daily, all of our horses must be maintained but how do the girls do that if we have split time? You see, we only have Zoey and Summer 50% of the year, so much of the work must be done by us parents. Winning horses must be conditioned daily; that’s my job when the girls aren’t here. Winning horses also must be fed daily; that’s a family job. And winning athletes must be knowledgeable; that’s our job to make sure they are given every possible opportunity to expand their skills both inside and outside of M&B Farms. Whether we are driving the kids to a practice after school or setting up team lessons at our place, we are constantly working towards our end goal, rodeo. Let’s not forget the twin’s sports. All the while we are also driving the boys to their games and practices all over town, needless to say there is never a dull moment. I think the hardest thing about the girl’s unique sport is that there isn’t always somewhere or someone else who can train them, much of it is left up to us.
Conditioning these horses might sound fun to some but sometimes it can just be a plain headache, especially when there are so many. Each horse must be ridden for at least 45 minutes a day, which can include; drills, corrections, practice, and strengthening. No two horses are alike, so each horse has its own work out plan to ensure they have strength and endurance at each race they are entered in. As any regular person has a workout regimen at the gym, so do these horses. Missing a few days of riding your horse is the same as missing days at the gym for these athletic horses. It is pertinent to their performance that they are conditioned, without they could be injured in competition. Not only do I get to ride the girl’s horses daily, I also need to ride my own, with whom I also do competitive rodeo on. This task in itself takes up most of my time daily. The up and coming colts on the farm, who the girls will use in the future, also require time daily. As you can imagine, all of this is a huge commitment.
So what does a rodeo kids life look like? When we have the girls, right after school, the girls ride their horses. Zoey has two that she’s working on right now and Summer has Curly. Recently, we just added a new rope horse to the mix, which the girls will split in their conditioning routine. After they ride, the girls chores are to feed, water and grain the horses. This is a chore in itself and takes approximately 1 hour. When we have skilled practice nights off the farm, we all chip in to get chores done so that we can carpool the girls to roping, goat tying, or barrel and pole practice. We try to attend at least two of these outside practices a week, so that the kids are constantly building on their skills. On the weekends we compete, all day long. You would think they would get tired of it! They never do. Since we have opened M&B Farms the girls have made all kinds of friends within our 4h club and nearly all those friends are part of our unofficial Junior High Rodeo Club we’ve created! So, at any time, I have as many as 6-7 kids who I help train as well. The best part about having all of these kids working together is that they learn from one another more than you realize. Not only that, the bond and friendships created are priceless.
As a rodeo mom, it is up to me to make sure these kids are being trained properly. To ensure that I am delivering the appropriate and best knowledge, weekly I am also brushing up my skills with other amazing barrel racers within the community. I am always learning, and I love asking for help. I soak up all the knowledge I am given and bring it home to all of these kids. I will never claim to know everything and if I am not the best at it, I will always find out who is and learn from them! Time and experience is the best way to keep up in the rodeo world. I work really hard to do my best in the barrel racing industry to stay relevant.
I have coached my boy’s sports teams and I must say that was a commitment, but based on my personal experience it was nothing like rodeo. Rodeo is a year-round commitment, where as many team sports are seasonal. There are many year-round sports leagues, I suppose those parents have their own blogs as well! There is an official rodeo season but there is also an off season where locals continue to condition and prepare for the official summer rodeo. The local jackpots, series and races are also a spot where athletes can gain experience before setting foot onto a rodeo arena. My girls look forward to the local races and we do them every weekend. I believe it is an excellent way to practice and build confidence. Regardless as to whether it is rodeo season or not, we are always striving towards advancement.
There is no easy way to explain it, rodeo mommin ain’t easy! It isn’t just showing up to watch at a race, its year-round dedication and hard work. Between the 4 kids and my own projects, I am constantly doing something important! The best part? I genuinely love doing this! I wouldn’t have it any other way, ever. So, cheers to all the moms out there but extra yee haw cheer to rodeo mommas.