Horse Show Mamas



As I think I already eluded to on My Stable Life once this week, Mother\’s Day is right around the corner. (Perhaps it\’s becoming one of my favorite days of the year…?!) And traveling out to some of the early horse shows of the year really got me thinking – it\’s difficult enough being a horse trainer\’s wife on some days. But toting along a family in that truck and trailer is an adventure all on its own! Along with hay and saddles and chaps, we\’re busy packing diapers and strollers and Lord knows what else to keep our children happy. It\’s a little bit of work. And it\’s exiting all at the same time. Especially because we get to live the western lifestyle every weekend, as a family.

But that doesn\’t mean there aren\’t challenges! <grin>

So I decided to see how other \”Horse Show Mamas\” manage horse shows, with children in tow. I need to know their secrets!! And I\’d thought I\’s share their expert advice with y\’all – just in case there are other horse show mamas out there who are balancing shows with motherhood.

Here\’s what they had to say:

Teri Clearwater – Mother of 2 Little Cowboys



Teri Clearwater is married to professional cow horse trainer, Dale Clearwater. Together, they live in Hanley, SK, and have two children, Caleb who is 7 and Westin who is 3.

Q. When you head out to a horse show, what\’s your secret for keeping them happy and entertained while the show goes on?

I pack a bag of toys for them to play with. If the arena has dirt or a sand pile anywhere, I show them where it is and that is the best babysitter. Since I have 2 boys, getting dirty is a given. I don\’t even worry about it!

Now that we own a trailer with living quarters, I don\’t think we could ever go back to a trailer without them. It is so nice to be at the show and not have to drive back and forth from the hotel. When my boys were still napping, I could just walk across the parking lot and lay them down. We eat healthier because we can pack along our own food, and that alone keeps my kids healthier and happier in itself.
Something else we try to always have in the trailer is toys. Especially tractors and trucks that they can move dirt around with. Every once in a while I will wash up the toys and donate them somewhere and replace the bin with new toys to keep things new and exciting, therefore keeping the boys entertained longer.

Q. What are your diaper bag essentials? Is there anything you can\’t leave home without?

When my boys were little, Tylenol was a must. They were always bumping their head or banging something and I had it on hand. Also as my boys are growing, snacks is a big thing now. They are always hungry and if I can provide them with snacks and not let them get too hungry, they tend to be happier. We have a TV and DVD in the trailer and so I try to pick up new movies when I see them on sale. This gives them something to do during chore time, early in the morning or later in the evening, or when they have had enough and just need to get away from the show for an hour or so.

Q. Do you have a funny kid / horse show story you could share?

In 2008 when we were down in Stephenville, Texas, Caleb was not quite 3 years old yet. Dale was showing his horse in the reined work and we were watching in the stands,. Then right when Dale turned the corner to do his rundown for his stop, Caleb yelled out, \”DAD CAN I RIDE WITH YOU YET??\”

Everyone in the stands started laughing and you can even hear it when we play back the video.

Also in 2009 when we were down in Reno, Nevada, we were stalled down from Boyd Rice. Every time Boyd rode by Caleb would say, \”Hi\”. After about a week Boyd asked Dale if that was his boy and Dale said \”Yeah.\” Boyd replied, \”One of these times I need to stop and BS with him, he is a cute kid!\” That made his papa proud!


Kerri Mallett – Mother 1 Little Cowgirl


Kerri Mallett is a non-professional reiner who lives in Okotoks, AB, with her husband Colin and their 16-month old daughter, Brooklyn.

Q. When you head out to a horse show, what\’s your secret for keeping them happy and entertained while the show goes on?

Balancing my time between Brooklyn and riding… can be difficult. I\’m lucky I have a husband who is very helpful around the house and with Brooky. And he understands my dreams of riding and the need for a woman to \”get out of the house to keep her sanity!!\” <smile>

I manage to get out 3 days a week and my trainer Clay Webster will pick up the other days that my horse needs to be riding! Balancing time at horse shows is a challenge as well, but my husband comes with me to all the shows and when I\’m with my horse he takes care of our daughter. I find I don\’t have the time to sit and socialize with other people or watch many runs as I used too. And once I\’m done with my pony, I\’m usually back at the trailer with the family. I\’m very blessed to have a living quarters trailers. So it makes running back and forth at the shows easier!

Q. Is there anything you can\’t leave home without?

My secret at horse shows for keeping Brooky happy is her love for her dad… she just adores Colin and wants to hang off of him! We call him the \”Rockstar\”!! Also, we bring our laptop so we can play movies for her like Sesame Street or Baby Einstein! Sometimes I will also bring my Exersaucer for times when I just need to confine her for a little bit.

Q. What are your diaper bag essentials?

Besides diapers and wipes, I need lots of snacks, juice and soothers. And I Love Love Love soother clips! Thank the Lord for whoever invented that one!!!

I can also never leave home without my cell phone. It sounds funny but my phone helps to distract a crying baby because you can play music on it anywhere, at any time. Like in the grocery store, mall or at a horse show!!! When Mom needs a few minutes to get something done – it\’s my best friend!

Q. Any good tips for healthy horse show snacks?

I usually buy groceries at home before the show and stock up our fridge/freezer in our trailer. It\’s so nice to be able to bring \”home cooked meals\” with us. I also make sure I bring Brooklyn\’s favorite snacks such as Gerber Graduates melts! They come in all flavors and she loves them. Also, Cheerios!


Deanne Swales – Mother of 3 Little Cowboys


Deanne Swales is married to professional cow horse trainer John Swales and they live in Millarville, AB. Together they have 3 sons: Tyree – age 6, Lane-age 3 and Levi, age 2 months.

Q. When you head out to a horse show, what\’s your secret for keeping them happy and entertained while the show goes on?

I make sure they have regular snacks (such as juice boxes and granola bars) and we pack along special \”horse show\” toys, including bikes if the weather/arena allows.

Q. What are your diaper bag essentials? Is there anything you can\’t leave home without?

Lots of wipes! On long trips I wrap little presents for the times we are waiting for meals, or a late evening run… that really helps in a time of need! The other thing I always ensure to have is an extra set of clothes for each of my kids, as the sand and mud always finds my boys!

And we can never leave the house without their cowboy hats and toys.

Q. Do you have a funny kid / horse show story you could share?

When Tyree was about 1&1/2 yrs old, he was on his toy horse – which has wheels on it – in the trailer tack room. We had the screen door shut as we were saddling horses outside, tied to the trailer. Next thing we knew, Tyree had rode his horse out the screen door and dropped about 2 1/2 feet to the ground, landing face/hands first… luckily it was into a fresh pile of horse manure! He was lucky because the cushion prevented any scraps or bruises… we all had a giggle!

Stay tuned, as My Stable Life will return with some of these Horse Show Mama\’s best secrets for healthy snacks at the horse show! Including personal recipes that really help to satisfy kids on long days, without requiring Mum to run to the show concession.


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