I’m Not Like A Regular Mom, I’m a Barn Mom:
Celebrating Our Amazing Barn Moms
By Riesa Lakin
May 10, 2020
Mother’s Day is here! While moms deserve more than just one day of recognition, I found myself reflecting on all the things my mom has done for me, especially when it comes to supporting my love of horses. You see, my mom is not like regular moms…cue Regina George’s mom from Mean Girls…she’s a Barn Mom! For me and my sisters, that meant my mom would schlep us to the barn nearly every day and to horse shows every weekend. She’d come to the barn at the end of the day in her work clothes, but would change her shoes to put on her dedicated barn clogs to help us finish bathing our horses or take them to graze while they dried, as we finished cleaning up and putting away our tack.
My mom wasn’t just an ordinary mom, supporting her kids’ hobbies. She went far and beyond just that. She was a “Barn Mom,” which is a title I don’t think is given lightly. I decided to reach out friends and colleagues to ask them about their “Barn Moms.” Collectively, I realized that to achieve the title of “Barn Mom,” our moms really went above and beyond to support us—whether that be emotionally, physically, financially, or all of the above. Here are some of the ways they earned their title and helped to make us the horse-loving people that we are today, and have been there for us through the highest highs and the lowest lows. For that, we are forever grateful!
My mom, Maralyn Lakin, the horse show (and barn) hero
As I mentioned before, my mom always helped me and my sisters at the barn. All three of her girls rode (with some guest appearances by my baby brother). During the summer, she would take us to the barn first thing in the morning, go to work all day long, and then come back around 4pm to pick us up. We were barn rats who loved every minute of it. When she picked us up, she’d have her work clothes on, and either her Dansko clogs or sneakers on. She always looked so fancy, but was ready to roll up her sleeves and work to help us wrap up our day.
My mom was always willing to graze our horses and ponies for us. I can’t think back about my childhood without the memory of her always grazing my sister’s pony, Jerry. He was very green and very sassy. No matter how much distance my mom put between her and the pony, he ALWAYS seemed to sneak closer and closer to her, eventually landing on her foot because my mom apparently was always standing on the best grass. I’ve never seen a horse laugh, but you could tell that her instant response of "ouch!" and constantly pushing him off of her foot always entertained him. You’d think she’d eventually refuse to help hold the horses and ponies, but she never did.
My mom doesn't (present tense because she's still very involved to this day and recently picked up riding herself) just care about her kids and our horses, she cares for everyone at the barn—actually anyone she meets. Growing up and showing locally in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to show her love and appreciation for everyone at the shows, my mom would drive us to the show, and then once we were all set and in the inevitable waiting phase to show, my mom would run out and pick up veggie, fruit, cheese, and even shrimp trays, creating this elaborate spread of food where anyone and everyone was invited to have some. Needless to say, everyone ended up knowing my mom and became her friend!
Lindsay Smith on her mom, Sherri Smith, and her perfect attendance
I would not have survived without my mom ! Here are some of what I call her Sherri-isms:
When I was younger, she would always have a Snickers bar for me at horse shows and made me take bites before classes if I showed in the afternoon.
She’s also the #1 grazer of horses! After my horse would get bathed after showing, I'd stay back at the barn and clean my tack and put my stuff away while she would graze my horses (something she still does to this day).
While a junior, I asked her why she never dressed up and wore white jeans like some of the other moms at shows. She should have slapped me right then and there, but she kindly reminded me that she couldn't wear white because she was also my #1 horse holder and she would be green by 9am. Even when we had show grooms, she would always give them a break and hold my jumper or eq horse while I walked the course, go to the bathroom, or get distracted by something. She was always right there for me whenever I or anyone in the barn needed someone.
As a junior, my mom never missed a horse show, ever. When I rode in college for Texas A&M, we would compete 14-15 times a year from Texas to Georgia to California. In four years, my mom only missed three meets—two blizzards and a family emergency. Southwest Airlines knew her name. My team loved her as their mom. She always baked cookies for us, and man, how lucky was I to have her there every step of the way?
Amy Smith on her THREE Barn Moms
I like to think that I'm lucky enough to have three barn moms. The first is my Mom, Betty Ann. She has done and sacrificed countless things and time to support my love of horses. From pinching pennies to help me pay for lessons and equipment when I was young, to still allowing me to keep my blankets and buckets of things I "might need someday" in a fairly large corner of their garage, I can't thank her enough. But one of my favorite memories with her and my second barn mom, or my late Grandmother Norene, is going to an annual horse show in our town. It always landed right around my birthday, so it was perfect; horses, shopping for horse things, and spending time with two of my most favorite people. I can still taste the fresh lemonade when I think of those days. When I was about to buy my horse, Will, my Grandmother knew I was going to be short with the cost of trailering and generously loaned me the difference. He's an OTTB and didn't have a barn name. As a thank you, I named him Will after my late Grandfather, William.
My third barn mom would be the owner of the barn where Will now lives, Michele. I live about three hours away from the barn and she has truly stepped in as Will's second mom. It breaks my heart to be so far away from him, but I wouldn't trust him with anyone else. And over the past six years, Michele and I have become so close; she helps me through a whole lot more than horsey things. By the way, my Mom still washes my saddle pads and makes homemade treats for Will because, she says, "I know how much you love him and so that means I love him that much, too."
Caroline Arendt on her mom, Elizabeth, with whom she share a special love for horses, especially for Jack
Thanks mom for not only driving infinite trips to and from the barn, cheering me on at shows, snapping pictures at parades — but most of all for coordinating the surprise of a lifetime, my horse, Jack! She went out with me to try him, and had him vet checked and arranged transportation all without me knowing! Jack has always been the favorite child in my family! My mom even took lessons on him.
I'm so glad we could share our love of horses!