The Expecting Eventer

Photo courtesy of Hillary Ramspacher.

No two words can bring so much fear, joy, anxiety and excitement as hearing “You’re pregnant.” But for horse girls, and eventers in particular, this phrase can leave your world spinning. And spinning my world is.

There’s nothing quite like unexpectedly expecting to really scare the crap out of you. Top it off with not finding out until you’re almost done with the first trimester and, if you’re anything like me, you might quickly turn from hard-ass equestrian to sobbing puddle of former-human-self.

Where was the girl who could be kicked, bitten and stepped on without a second thought when the doctor looked up and said “yep, there’s a baby in there”? Bawling her eyes out on in the exam room, that’s where. And as I choked back tears, willing myself to be able to communicate with the doctor for just one more minute so I could ask the most important question of all, my amazing husband held my hand and took the words right out of my mouth.

“Can she still ride? That’s why she’s crying … she just wants to know if she can ride.” And all was right with the world when the doctor gave me a resounding “yes.”

Baby Gilbert making her recognized debut at 13 weeks! © Xpress Foto

I don’t mean to discount the miracle that is pregnancy. But, the unknown can be really frickin’ scary. Diving in to a whole new world without so much as a plan makes it even worse. And as eventers, we plan.

We plan our show seasons, conditioning schedules, vet appointments. We know exactly when our horse is due for a trim or reset. Like clockwork the horses come in at 7, eat their specifically rationed portions of grain and are exercised per their well-planned training schedule before going back out at 5. Our days are fully planned, right down to the large glass of wine at the end of the evening.

Oh no, I forgot about the wine! No more of that, either. Cue the sobbing again.

With a barn full of horses, both mine and my clients, a rapidly growing baby taking up space in my belly (and forcing me to pee every 20 minutes), I find myself wondering what the heck I’m going to do, and really hoping my breeches fit for one more week.

But for now, I’ve adjusted my goals from blue ribbons to a healthy baby. I’ve crossed RRP off my list for this year, as a 30-something week baby bump might not work well in the hunter ring. I’ve begun downsizing my small herd of horses and started registering for the most adorable baby clothes you’ve ever seen.

I’m forming a plan, slowly but surely. One to allow myself the best of both worlds — a continuing career as an eventer and the best new mom I can possibly be. Let’s just hope that my husband is ready to be a horse show dad and baby girl is just as obsessed with the smell of leather and the soft nickers of greeting horses as her mom is.