If your child rides horses there will come a time when you realize horses have infiltrated every aspect of your family’s life. These are some warning signs that you’ve hit that critical point in time:

1. At the barn your child dresses like a pro in Tailored Sportsman’s breeches and Asmar sun shirt (both purchased used on English Tack Trader), Tredstep tall boots (purchased on clearance at Dover), C4 belt (birthday gift), and Samshield gloves (birthday gift). But they go to school looking like a hot mess.

2. It’s 110 degrees and gale force winds threaten to blow down the barn. And your child still insists on riding in their lesson.

©Garry Knight/Flickr CC by 2.0

3. Your car always smells like conditioned leather, manure, mildewy muck boots, and sweaty saddle pads. Even after being detailed.


4. Your child only invites barn friends to their birthday party.


5. Your child knows how to braid a horse’s tale in a French braid, a fishtail braid, and every other kind of braid. But they won’t run a brush through their own hair.

6. Your child is an expert baker. Of horse treats.

(flickr.com/Five Furlongs)

7. You know the difference between an elevator, a Pelham, a slow twist, and a Waterford. Because you’ve had to buy each one.

©R. Eddie Smith/Flickr Creative Commons

8. Your child remembers every course at the horse show but can’t remember to turn in their homework.

9. Your child’s horse has their own Instagram account. And your child and the horse always tag each other and comment on each other’s posts.

10. Your child has taught your family dog how to jump a course of verticals, oxers and combinations with bounces and one-strides.

©Carterse / Flickr CC by 2.0

11. Horsehair and shavings have taken over your home washing machine.

©Yann Gar/Flickr CC by 2.0

12. Your child never runs. They only canter. This can cause issues with the PE teacher.

13. Your child scoops up their horse’s manure, bathes their horse, organizes their tack trunk, and cleans their tack—all with great enthusiasm. But they refuse to clean up their bedroom.

(flickr.com/Tina Hughes)

14. Dinner table conversation often consists of how to master the transition from the canter to the sitting trot with no stirrups.

©Jamie Goldberg

15. Your child’s favorite thing about horseback riding is the connection they share with the horses.

©Anne Helmstadter

About the Author

Anne Helmstadter is a freelance writer and lives in Las Vegas. When she’s not riding her OTTB she can be found supporting her two girls at horse shows and driving to and from the barn in her horse scented car. Her writing has appeared at literarymama.com and in Las Vegas’ Zip Code Magazines.