It’s no secret that juggling a family and full-time job can be a challenge at times. However, what about when that full-time job is training horses which is definitely not your run-of-the-mill, 9-to-5 gig? Being a great trainer and great mom is no easy feat, but it happens every day around the industry.
The children of trainers are far from either neglected or spoiled like some might think, but have a great appreciation for their parents’ profession and the extra work it has taken to get to where they are.
Dana Hokana’s daughter, Bree, expresses these sentiments.
“I have always felt that my mom was in a league of her own,” she says. “Having to be not only the mom but also the trainer is far above and beyond in my books. She knows how to wear the hat of being my mom and when to be the trainer and when to so beautifully meet in the middle and be both. My mom is not only my Trainer, and my mom, but she is my inspiration, my mentor, my example. I look up to her in every way and hope to someday be half the woman that she is. Her standard and her morals in the way that she trains and rides horses far surpasses most, she never cuts corners or cheats, she plays by the books and does whatever it takes to get the horse prepared just right. She is a horsewoman and learns to understand each horse, as they all need to be prepared differently. She would sit and teach me to never give up and that there was ALWAYS an answer and solution to the horse, even when it didn’t feel like it. She has spent countless hours giving me her all and sharing her incredible wisdom on horses. She taught me the power of making goals and to do whatever it takes to meet those goals. She would encourage me as a loving mother and push me as a trainer to always strive to do my best. She taught me that success is not what you achieve in the show pen, it’s what you do to get there and how you got there. It’s the times you won the class outside the pen and then went in and the fruit of your works showed up in the class. She never let us get caught up in the win, but to know how to be grateful for the win. She taught me that hard work always paid off. She taught me how to have excellence and to be a person that was attention to detail and not just along for the ride.”
Ariel Higgins, daughter of Cathy Herrin, shares the same thoughts.
“I admire my mom in every way,” Ariel explains. “She expected me to work hard and be kind from the start, but she let me find my own way and my own passion for riding. When I knew I loved it, she was ready to teach me all I could learn. Being the trainer’s kid isn’t always easy- I had to become very independent with horses early on, but I think she did me the biggest favor ever by instilling a work ethic in me. I call my mom every day. I call her about my horses, which setting to do my laundry on, how to prepare food, with car troubles, everything. She always knows what to say, and we are very close because of it. I’m so proud of her, and I’m so proud to be her daughter.”
Christa Baldwin’s daughter, Brandy Baldwin-Bunting, recalls the amazing support her mother has provided in and out of the show ring.
“It is both amazing and crazy having a mom as a trainer. She is one of the busiest people at the show, and if you ask me where she is (which people are always doing) I rarely know. But somehow, she almost always watches my classes and is always my number one fan. I couldn’t do it without her. She is always my mom first and trainer second and gives me the encouragement or support or comfort I need on any given day. She’s the best. I love you mom!”
“My mom has taught me and been an example to me in every way, and I owe her everything of who I am today,” Bree explains. “Her character as a person not only taught me how to ride and show, but how to live my daily life. I could not think of a better person to be raised under. I continue to be grateful each day to have been raised by a mother that helped make every dream and desire of mine come to pass, she always believes in me and encourages me, and makes it know that I could do anything I set my mind to, as long as I have my goals in place, lived right and did right. I continue to learn from her, as there is always something new to learn from her. Each day, I am privileged to learn from a trainer and a mother. I owe every ribbon, every World title, every Congress title, every Circuit, every Year End Award to my mom and my trainer, for without her, none of it would have been possible. While there is not enough “thank you’s” in the world to truly express my gratitude, I am continuously and endlessly thankful and grateful to you, Mom.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the incredible moms, whether they are trainers, riders, amazing grooms, caregivers or just the most supportive women in our lives, today we salute you! To the mares who raise our partners we also celebrate you today with gratitude of the job taken on, raising our future champions.