When my sister and I were little, our non-horsey parents graciously indulged us and dipped their toes into the strange world of silly equestrian outfits and huge pets that eat money. We were thrilled, and we raced off to do stupid things with large animals. Our mother was worried, and quickly went o purchase safety equipment. Enter: The Vests.
We complained. We begged. We insisted the blood would be on her hands if
we died of shame or heat stroke. But in the end, we had to either wear the child-sized protective vests or quit riding. “They’re breathable,” she offered.
We wore the vests in lessons, we wore the vests to camp, and if there was
so much as a fleeting suggestion of riding, we brought and wore them on
vacation. By the grace of George Morris, we did not wear them in shows
(they didn’t fit under our coats), but
our trainer had to pull my mother
aside and tell her she would humil-
iate us forever if she forced us to
wear them in the warm-up ring. It’s
tough to overemphasize how mor-
tifying it was to be the only kids at
a dude ranch climbing into western
saddles wearing not only helmets,
but eventing vests.
Mom, if you’re reading, we loved
every second of our summers in
Montana and are eternally grateful.
YOUR HORSE LIFE
Turns out Mom was right
about safety after all.
BY EMILY BOGENSCHUTZ