Hobbies and passions that once interested a mother at a young age can be passed down to her daughter. Together, the two of them can learn valuable life lessons. A mother who passes her love for horses on to her daughter can teach her daughter that trust is crucial in every relationship, that owning a horse takes responsibility and that competition is not always so important.
A mother and daughter who share a common interest and passion for horses together create special bonds with not only the horse, but with each other. Being able to share a hobby with a mother or daughter, is something not every woman experiences.
Creating a special relationship with a horse takes a lot of time, patience and trust, getting to the point of becoming a companion and not just a rider. For a horse to know the rider has their trust in them is very important. Together, horse and rider can create an extraordinary bond that some may term inseparable.
Forming a relationship between a mother and daughter also involves the same qualities of time, patience and trust. In mother-daughter relationships, the daughter is often the one being the rider at a young age, and the mother can be compared to a horse, carrying her daughter through adolescents. When time comes, a mother and daughter too can reach the point of being each others companions.
One woman is busy managing a business, while her daughter is studying occupational therapy at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. However, the two of them still find time to share their passion for horses together and have learned that trust is important in not only their relationship, but their relationship with horses too.
These two horse-loving women are my mom and sister, Lisa and Abby Wicklund.
Lisa’s passion for horses started when her dad and grandpa bought her first Shetland pony, a little palomino named Frosty.
“I have always loved horses for the gentleness, grace and beauty they carry,” said Lisa. “For me, horses are relaxing and have a calming effect.”
At about the age of four, Lisa had her daughter on the back of a horse.
“Abby first started out on her dad’s team roping horse, when her feet wouldn’t even reach the stirrups,” said Lisa.
What started as riding in the wooden coral at home grew into a desire to compete. Throughout the years, Abby has competed in rodeos, barrel racing, Minnesota State Horse Shows and much more.
“During the summer months, I compete in performance shows with Barney and barrel race with Sammy,” said Abby, owner of the two registered quarter horses.
However, one memory they recall didn’t involve competition; it involved one bitter-cold winters day, a grey horse, a rope, a sled and a trusting relationship.
“Abby wanted to go sledding, but there was one problem, there wasn’t a hill to be found,” said Lisa. “You see, rural Badger is about as flat as a pancake.”
Bundled up in their winter gear, the two of them walked knee deep through the snow, with each step taking them closer to their awaited adventure. As they approached the horse pasture, they shook a bucket filled a quarters way full with grain, and called Snickers name. Not only did an overly friendly, in-your-face, 6-year old grey gelding come galloping through the snow, but five others followed almost saying, don’t leave me out.
After saddling the 15-hand grey pony up, my mom claims she was hesitant to crawl on Snickers’ back because he hadn’t been rode since fall. But she had trust in him. Once mounted, the ride went smoothly, for both mom on the horse and Abby on the sled.
“There was no buck, but it sure felt like it once in awhile,” said Lisa. “Snickers was pretty well behaved for never pulling a sled before.”
Whether it’s with her horses, or her relationship with her mom, Abby feels that trust is the most important part of having quality relationships. Even if it means trusting her mom won’t let go of the rope wrapped around the saddle horn or Lisa trusting Snickers to not buck her off.
Sometimes a mother does more for her daughter than simply pass on a love for horses. Sometimes that mother may be able to teach her daughter about grief and how to overcome challenges that life brings about. Through times that involve making responsible decisions, a mother can be there for her daughter.
This happened to 17-year-old, Taylor Langaas, when she had to make the decision of putting one of her horses down two years ago and claims it was one of the saddest days of her life; however, her mom, Becky Langaas, was there for her every step of the way.
This brought Becky and Taylor’s relationship and passion for horses to another level, a level where they as mother and daughter created companionship.
“I remember when I had to make the decision to put my favorite horse, Bobcat, down,” said Taylor. “She had heaves a lot during the winter because of the hay and any dust was hard on her lungs.”
Taylor said that every year it kept getting worse and it finally got to the point that it was hard for Bobcat to breathe, even during the summer months.
Becky Langaas, Taylor’s mom and an avid horse lover, said having animals means responsibility and tough decisions along the way.
“In Bobcat’s case, Taylor did the most unselfish thing she could do by putting her horse’s needs first,” said Becky. “I have always told Taylor that life isn’t always going to be fair, but you just have to make the best of it good and bad.”
Communicating with her mom about horses is like second nature, because Becky has been around horses since she was a young girl.
Becky was first introduced to horses when her great grandparents bought her first pony, Misty, when she was 6-years-old. For as long as she can remember, she has loved and admired horses.
“I can remember at 4 or 5 years old drawing tablets and tablets full of horses and cutting them out and hanging them on my walls,” she said.
According to Becky, the best thing about sharing a love for horses with her daughter is teaching Taylor responsibility, determination, and the opportunity for her to set goals for herself.
“She has made a tremendous step with her horses,” said Becky. “I am very proud of her.”
Pictured here is Taylor with one of her horses, Candy.
The sun was shining beautifully through the fall colored leaves. The sound of leaves were heard crunching below the horses hooves, but other than that, the forest was quite. There were no bugs pestering the two horses and two riders. It was a perfect fall day for a trail ride. A day that a mother and daughter understood that life brings about happiness in other ways besides winning a trophy.
As the mother and daughter followed each other on horseback on a narrow trail through the woods, nothing else seemed to matter. Before long, there trail ride through Bemis Hill was complete and they both felt a great sense of accomplishment.
“For so many years, our horse time together was centered around showing,” said Penny Erickson, resident of rural Roseau, Minn. “This experience and this day had proven that there was a whole lot more opportunity for us to have great times with our horses.”
Penny and her daughter, Amy Erickson, showed horses for many years. But since then, the mother-daughter pair has shared their love for horses out of the show arena and on the trail.
Amy and Penny at a North Dakota Quarter Horse Association Show.
On one particular trail ride at Bemis Hill, Amy brought her former 4-H show horse, a 7-year-old appendix mare named Lexi, out on the trail. Penny says she was scared to death for Amy.
“This was the insane show horse that had scared trainers at a quarter horse show and broke her stall down at the state 4-H horse show,” said Penny. “How could we dare bring her to the state forest for a trail ride?”
Thoughts of what ifs kept rolling through Penny’s mind as they continued to saddle up the horses.
Once mounted, Penny started leading the way on her little grey Arab named Casper.
“My mom’s horse was a great leader for Lexi, especially when it came to going through water and doing out of the ordinary things,” said Amy, who currently lives in Thief River Falls, Minn.
As their ride began, Lexi was scared of everything whether it was a campsite, picnic table, or garbage can. Even Penny’s experienced trail horse Casper was tested by Lexi’s prancing. To calm the horses, they found it best to move forward at a steady trot.
While trotting straight down the trail, Lexi continued to snake her neck from side to side, seeking something to be afraid of. However, after awhile, Penny said that Lexi seemed to relax and Amy continued to quietly encourage her.
“This was such a good memory, not only because of the great day,” said Penny, “but also the great strides that were taken towards a lifelong pastime for both of us.”
That day, Penny and Amy reconnected a bond they once shared, but a special trusting relationship with Amy and Lexi was also created.
Penny says that when you have a special relationship with a horse, they totally understand and are always there for you.
Plus, they are so fun to ride in the woods and watch out grazing in the pasture,” she said. “There is a very peaceful feeling when the horses are in their stalls, eating their grain. It just makes you feel that life is good.”
As for these two women, this trail ride showed them they can continue to share the love for horses together away from competition, and that sometimes an experienced horse may need to lead an inexperienced horse in a direction to overcome fear. Sometimes a little encouragement is all it takes.
These mothers have been able to help their daughters with life lessons, through raising horses. The stories also illustrate how life is not about competition. These mothers and daughters have shown that life is about trusting one another and creating lasting relationships. About sharing passions with one another, carrying each other at times, and at others, riding side by side.