Pony Mom Moments?

Pony Mom Moments?

It’s no secret that I’m a reality TV junkie.  Cancelling my cable subscription years ago did not curb my love of trashy TV.  Instead, I just watch trashy reality TV for much cheaper than I used to.  It works for me.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw “Dance Moms” appear on my Netflix queue.  It’s completely over the top ridiculous.  Mix over involved mothers with too much money, wannabe diva children, and a fairly verbally abusive dance coach… and you have grade A reality TV!  If you’re not familiar, here’s a pretty typical clip:

Now, I didn’t show horses when I was a kid. I grew up fox hunting and didn’t really show much until my late high school years but mostly college. I’ve only ridden one pony in my entire life. Braided pigtails has never been a part of my equestrian career.


However, I know not everyone is this way. Pony divas and horse show moms are everywhere… just ask Ainsley Carter.

Which brings me to my question today – I want to hear about the worst “Pony Mom” moment you’ve witnessed. Surely there has to be this same kind of drama in the horse show world too?


If you care to share, spill it! I’ll be sitting here waiting to see what shows up in the comments 🙂 I can’t be the only one who loves a good reality TV scene.

34 thoughts on “Pony Mom Moments?

  1. I was judging a small local show and I had someone write me an extremely nasty note on why her child should have been the first place winner. I looked at my notes and this person’s child was placed 2nd! Really?… you wrote me a nasty note because your child got 2nd place out of over 20 riders?!!!

  2. Uh the time my mom went up to the judge and said it wasn’t fair that I didn’t place because the animal I was riding didn’t do lead changes yet….. that was a major facepalm and my mom is not allowed to do anything other than get food and sit quietly now.

  3. Not been around the hunters too much but I do remember a mom watching proudly over her brat as she threw all her ribbons away in the trash, going on about how they weren’t championship ribbons so they were garbage, and the judges didn’t know a good thing when they say one, and how awful and stupid they were for not pinning her first. The mom goaded her on like, you know it honey, you tell those nasty judges who is boss.

  4. I groomed THE top small pony in the country for all of 2 months before I couldn’t handle it anymore. Pony mom/Owner of the barn I was working for ($$$$$$$) found out I was looking for a new position and had a screaming fit at me in one of the warm-up’s at one of the big A shows. Told me to leave my hotel that night and she never wanted to see me again. (we were over 15 hours from home base, and 6pm at night). Trainer found out and panicked, me leaving would mean 4 horses without a groom, and asked me to stay the weekend, I told them to F off and luckily my uncle was able to pick me up that night.

    I ended up working at a European showjumper’s farm less than a month later and the poor grooms that suck with her that summer had an awful time and quit the horse industry shortly after that summer.

  5. I’ve had a former boarder (and former 4H leader) at my barn bitch about how her daughter’s horse was excused from a 4H class because it was lame. She was mad that people were going to the show office and judge and calling her out on it. The horse was super lame and was getting 3-4grams of bute a day. She thought because she had a vet’s note saying the horse was arthritic and it was ok for him to get bute that that made it ok.

  6. Dance Moms has been my guilty pleasure for years not. Last year I almost gave it up because Abbey got too abusive and it just wasn’t train wreck in a good way anymore. But now it’s like, crossed that threshold and become an all new sort of insane. <3

    I would watch a Pony Moms show in a heart beat. They need that.

  7. wow there are some doozies up here already – can’t wait to see what other comments arise!! lol

    i haven’t really been to any big shows, and the level of crazy at schooling shows is lower (tho it still exists!!). probably the worst momager i’ve seen berated my friend (an adult) for entering an open class bc it meant the lady’s daughter (a junior) wouldn’t win…

  8. Back when I was a pony rider I was running late to the ring for a flat class, the Aunt of my main competition slammed the gate in my face. My mom tried to tell her she couldn’t do that, the woman cussed us out and somehow got the class to start without me….

  9. I love these stories, and I don’t like reality tv lol. I would totally watch a pony moms show, even though I think it encourages the bad behavior. I was surprised when i saw one mom at a local show tell her daughter to get off her pony for pulling attitude. Right before her class, it was awesome, told her to untack and groom, she was done.

  10. Not a pony mom but a pony brat story. Kid comes out of the ring and cries because the pony added a stride. A circuit school master showing B show. Kid still wins all the classes. Get her champion ribbon, holds it up and says ” oh my god, this is unacceptable. Nanny will have to iron them all when I get home”. 6 years old. Ungrateful brat.

  11. I’ve never seen any REALLY crazy pony mom moments; most of my fellow Pony Clubbers had pretty level-headed parents. This isn’t a temper tantrum, but it was kind of shitty: A boy I rode with in PC wasn’t fantastically interested in riding or competing, but he enjoyed the horse care aspect of PC and was a very good stable manager for several Rally teams I was on. He had a cute, quiet QH mare that he absolutely loved; she was the only thing that kept him participating in the mounted stuff. His mom sold the mare one summer, and I never saw him ride again.

    Also, for a couple of years, the sister of a certain pop star (they share a country-singer dad) was a member of my club. She had a nice TB/Connemara cross that she PC’ed on. I saw her beat the absolute shit out of it once after it refused a fence on XC; her mom just shrugged and said “We paid enough for that horse that he shouldn’t do that!” Everyone was appalled.

    Sadly, I don’t think my stories would be great for reality TV!!

  12. I’ve seen a Mother get upset that her 5 year old didn’t realize she as on the wrong lead in a class full of 15 people… She ended up giving the kid shit about it and how she has to “pay attention” and ride to win! The kid is 5 – she was just happy to be going “fast”!

  13. My first year showing Lucy (I was.. 12?) we did some local unrecognized stuff while going through the whole moving up age divisions and riding a new horse stuff. I had the mother of another competitor come up to me and give me a nasty berating about showing beneath my level just to steal ribbons from kids who couldn’t afford to show at higher levels. A grown woman.
    I also saw many, many a drama amongst the big time barns, but they tended to be more of teenagers doing dumb things or trainers doing questionable things.

  14. Oh man the memories. I was a pretty tall kid, so I was 5’8″ with tall boots when I was still in Short Stirrup. I ended up placing well at a smaller show and a mother actually asked to see my birth certificate because she thought I was older than 12. I hid behind my trainer while he told her to back off. My own parents were very happy to sit quietly in the spectator section and tell me “good job!” no matter how I did!

  15. I was pretty young, and my trainer was unavailable, so I went to a show by myself with the very fancy, experienced pony I was riding at the time. This is in SoCal so the horses and shows are pretty nice. I was fairly new to showing, only a season or two under my belt, and my parents were clueless, but the pony was a rockstar and I wasn’t doing anything I wasn’t used to so my trainer thought it would be a good experience for me to be self sufficient.

    I went to walk the course and had my parents holding my tacked up pony when another trainer at the ring with her own kids asked “Is that “Ponykins”?” He was a bit famous, so I wasn’t surprised, I said yes and went to work studying my course. Well, after some chitchat and realizing I was on my own the trainer decides to “help” me. She proceeds to give me tons of advice, going as far as to walk the course with me. I was super grateful, until I got on.

    About halfway through my ride I started to realize that none of her advice was holding up- and after slamming my pony into a few I decided I better go with my instincts. It was a really ugly ride though, and I was mortified when I came out that she and her students were all standing there giggling. She went as far as to say loud enough that I could hear, but to her kids that she could “only help someone so much”. Yikes. Gives me PTSD just thinking about it!

  16. Honestly, that video clip and the stories that people are telling make me sick. How can an adult think it’s OK to berate a child like that? How can parents condone beating an animal just because “it was expensive,” or another trainer think it’s funny to give a child bad advice. That’s disgusting behavior – they should be ashamed.

  17. I never rode rated shows when I was a kid, but I started out at a small backyard (literally) barn riding huntseat. There were several local circuits that we frequently all went to as a “riding team”. We had some solid riders and generally did really well at the shows in our various divisions that people tended to be a bit jealous of us. I remember one show we were all sitting outside the trailer hanging out, and this group of ladies (3, maybe 4, of them) walk by and say to themselves in unison (loudly enough to be heard on purpose), “What are Whispering Pines’s horses good for? ALPO!!”

    I also remember hearing stories from my mom and our trainer/coach about how there was one mom in particular of some girl who used to be in the classes with me all the time, and she’d always make these snide comments about how I was on the wrong diagonal, or wrong lead, or I was doing this wrong…except I never was. I think I was young enough at the time that I never really witnessed much that I remember, but I don’t doubt it was happening, even on the local circuit.

  18. During that video, I was thinking how lucky she was, and that her annoying horse show mom was also the one paying for all that shit. My mom pulled me out of a show when I still had classes in the afternoon because she didn’t feel like waiting around, and not long after stopped taking me to lessons because the drive was inconvenient.

  19. I’m sure from the observers point of view my husband was a horrible ‘Pony Mom’ at a Frying Pan Park show many years ago.
    My husband was a youth sports coach for most of the years our daughter was showing so he didn’t get to very many horse shows. However there was one show he came to and our daughter was having a great day. She won her flat class then in the jumpers she went clear with about 6 or 7 other riders. She was the last to go for the jump off. As each rider went my husband would cheer if they hit a rail. I told him it wasn’t polite so he began to cheer with a little less enthusiasm, but still was pretty obviosly excited at their mistakes. I kept having to tell him this wasn’t a football game – but honestly I was shocked he was enjoying it because he was/is not a horse person. Then our daughter finally went and it was fast and clear and she won! To hear him cheering you would have thought she just scored the winning touchdown in overtime! As much as it was embarrassing I just couldn’t be mad at him for being excited. We never invited him to another horse show.

  20. Best pony mo maher moment I can think of is when I rode in a “beginner” Hunter class which I technically qualified for just to put in a schooling trip on a horse that was stopping (and let me tell you – it was a train wreck of a round) and the mother of the kid who was champion in the division knew me and called my old trainer to complain even though I didn’t ride with him anymore. That same lady tried a project pony I was training for her daughter and said she didn’t want her because she was “too big and a medium if not a large” even though the pony sticked way under the cutoff for mediums.

  21. It makes me sad to know that there are parents/coaches out there to try to discourage, yell, and basically wreck a kids confidence. That’s not a good coach trait to have. Bratty kids are also terrible. Most kids don’t know how lucky they are to have a pony.

  22. Dance Moms is something I have only recently stumbled across – i had heard of it before but never watched it. I loved the spin off UK version that had its first season air just before Christmas here. The mums are mental but the kids were fab & the teacher seemed to have the kids best interests at heart and truly want to help them. Abby and the dance Moms US make my skin crawl and i cringe through much of the episode – i rarely make it through a whole one. Yikes – talk about car crash TV.
    However if there were ponies involved i would love it as cayute ponies totes make up for horrendous human behaviour. It’d just be a pity that shining a spotlight on such horrendous behaviour would probably encourage rather than deter 🙁

  23. I went to a pony club gymkhana when I was about 17 and found out about horse Moms. I was in the warm-up area with one other young girl and her mother who was coaching her over some jumps. I popped him over the single warm-up jump a few times, making sure to stay clear of the other rider.
    The third time I went for the jump, my horse balked and had a tantrum, so I one-rein stopped him just as the other girl was coming to the jump.
    I obviously was in the way, so she had to pull aside. The Mom then storms up to me and angrily mutters “Keep your Parelli sh*t over there”.

    I was pretty upset. And pretty shocked at the ignorance.
    Had a few more ‘horse show Mom’ encounters, but that was the worst. Really ruined my day.

  24. When I used to compete in hunters there was this one mom who would stand in the corner of the ring and open/close her umbrella furiously when I came around and stick her tongue out at me…like seriously?

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