The Expecting Eventer: Preparing for Motherhood

As an Expecting Eventer facing motherhood for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. The majority of my life had been spent in a barn and realizing I was about to be responsible for a life that couldn’t be stalled at night and cried instead of whinnied was nerve wracking. So, when my own little human was placed into my arms for the first time, I figured I knew nothing.

Where were the instructions or the handbook? Here was this little person depending on me to care for them, and all I had was Google to back me up.

But, once we got home I realized that all that time spent in the barn, and my lifelong passion for Eventing actually prepared me for motherhood. There’s lots of skills I acquired at the barn and in the saddle. So, while perfecting the sitting trot may not directly correlate to raising an infant, an Eventer’s expertise in many other areas has great parallels with parenting.

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Still no idea what I’m doing… Photo courtesy of Brooke Schafer.

Horses are needy. They’re demanding and fickle. Eventers are the masters of figuring out what our horses need without them every speaking a word. We’ve come to know exactly what every whinny, tail swish and ear flick means. So, when a screaming baby has everyone else stumped, we’ve got it figured out. Is she hungry? Colicky? Does she need to be lunged? You know.. the basics.

And even though we have the language barrier resolved, baby will cry at the most inopportune times. So, when baby wakes up hungry at 3am, we’ll be prepared by all the times we woke up before the sun for a horse show. After all, if we can wake up at 3am just to spend an absurd amount of money for a quick trip around the arena and a $3 ribbon, baby being hungry isn’t so bad.

Horses and babies both require a lot of stuff, and they will never tell us what we’ll need and when. Eventers can already pack a trailer full of tack for 3 different phases and a weekend forecast that calls for snow on Saturday and 65 and sunny on Sunday. So, a diaper bag is nothing.

And speaking of diapers, most first-time moms are overwhelmed the first time they find themselves in the diaper aisle at Target. But, not Eventers. Thanks to all the abscesses treated over the years, we already know exactly which brands are the most absorbent and which will hold up for turnout, er.. for baby.

Cleaning up poop is just part of the job description for both riders and mothers. Where others may cringe at a dirty diaper, Eventers welcome the challenge. Because at least baby isn’t pooping in their water bucket for the 3rd time this week.

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And along the lines of getting dirty, an Eventer’s friends and family already have low standards for our appearance (and smell). So, maybe you didn’t have time for a shower today and you’re wearing the same shirt you slept in. No biggie! It’s no worse than heading out to lunch covered in mud and hay, questioning whether that’s really just dirty under your nails.

So, even though this brand new adventure can leave an Expecting Eventer like me feeling totally overwhelmed, horses have always been the best teachers and helping an Eventer preparing for motherhood is no exception.

 

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