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Riding and Showing While Expecting… At the Congress

Filed under: Club & Show News,Featured |     

By: Brittany Bevis

Kaleena poses with Hours Yours and Mine, aka "Blondie." Image courtesy of Impulse Photography.

Kaleena Weakly poses with Hours Yours and Mine, aka “Blondie”and “the bump” aka little Jax. Image courtesy of Impulse Photography.

Being concerned about your stamina during showmanship or worrying about bouncing while posting in an english saddle are two relatively normal concerns one might have when preparing for an elite equestrian event like the Quarter Horse Congress or a breed World Show. However, figuring out how to button up your breeches with a baby bump or navigating Congress traffic with an extra “passenger” on board are generally not at the top of most exhibitors’ to-do lists.

However, this year must have been a very popular one for couples, because four of our fellow equestrians are expecting little bundles of joy just in time for the fall show season. Out of the four ladies we spoke with, three will be competing at the Congress in just two weeks and one will be showing at the AQHA World Show. How do they plan to balance (quite literally) being pregnant with competing on horseback?

Read below to find out…

Farley Sliss riding Only With Honor at her facility in Texas. Photo provided by Farley Sliss.

Farley Sliss riding Only With Honor at her facility in Texas. Photo provided by Farley Sliss.

Mommy-to-be #1: Farley Sliss

1. How far along are you in your pregnancy, and when is your due date?

“I’m right at eight months. I’m due the first week of November.”

2. What is your plan regarding showing while pregnant at the Congress? Do you anticipate any new challenges or difficulties?

“Since Ellie [my first child] was a few weeks early, I will not be showing this year. It’s been a little emotional for me getting everything packed and ready to roll. I’m hoping that I will be able to show at the AQHA World Show in the Junior Hunter Under Saddle.”

3. What has your doctor advised regarding riding while pregnant? Have you been given a date for when you must stop riding? 

“My doctor was not happy that I rode [when pregnant with Ellie], but she didn’t quite understand at first that we aren’t running barrels or racing.”

“We are all fully aware of the things that can go wrong with horses, but you take that risk every day [whether you’re] pregnant or not. I personally relied on my instincts. If it felt wrong, then I was not doing it. For most [people who] truly know me, [not riding] was extremely hard for me.”

Farley and little Cross showing Little Salt N Lime at the recent 2013 NSBA World Show. Image provided by Larry Williams Photography.

Farley and little Cross showing Little Salt N Lime at the recent 2013 NSBA World Show. Image provided by Larry Williams Photography.

4. What events will you be competing in this year and with what horses?

“I have both english and western futurity horses. Thank God for great friends who are stepping in to show and understanding clients! All of the bases are covered. If all goes well and God allows I will hopefully be competing on Daydream In The Sky at the World Show in Junior Hunter Under Saddle.”

5. Are you having a boy or a girl, and do you have a name picked out yet?

“We are having a boy. His name will be Cross Michael.”

6. Do you have any concerns about show clothing when you start to “show and grow?”

“I was extremely lucky for the most part. My english clothes fit through the NSBA World Show. If they were tight somewhere I pinned them. I did buy a bigger coat from Winning Couture just in case, but it was still a little big. Debbie is kindly taking it up for post-pregnancy showing.”

“Kay and Penny at Showtime Show Clothing are awesome. They totally pulled it off for me! They made an awesome fringed vest complete with crosses on the front and back! The vest has pleats to accommodate for my bump [and it] can be taken up as well. As for jeans, the ever useful hair tie was and is my best friend. I can zip most of my jeans up and the hair tie helps close what I can’t button.”

 7. Have your fellow equestrians given you any advice about riding while pregnant or about raising a horse show baby?

“Ellie was born in 2008, and I was able to show with her through seven months, so I was pretty prepared. I’ve actually had to give advice to some other soon-to-be moms. Raising a child in this environment is good. They have to learn to roll with it. There are long drives and long days and nights. The biggest thing for me is that Ellie is outside, active and not sitting in front of a TV all the time. Plus, she loves the horses.”

Ellie Sliss with her favorite horse Charlie. Image provided by Farley Sliss.

Ellie Sliss with her favorite horse Charlie. Image provided by Farley Sliss.

8. Do you wonder if an unborn child has ever “participated” in winning a Congress or World title?

“I swear Ellie knew instinctively how to kiss and cluck, because I rode with her for so long. It’s now become a joke… Does Cross count as a catch rider and do any winnings count toward his lifetime earnings? I was laughing at the Reichert, because he was kicking while I was showing.”

 9. Do you face any special challenges because you are a horse trainer and you ride horses for a living?

“It’s different for everyone. For me there are several. There is a time when saddling isn’t possible anymore. [You might have] to ask someone to help you when a horse isn’t being cooperative, but you really don’t want to. You’d better have a stool handy to get on even your shortest horse! [You have] to stop riding when the temperature gets too high. Doing things around the barn, even if I can’t ride every horse, helps me stay active, in shape, and feeling useful.”

 

Momma-to-be #2: Kaleena Weakly

Kaleena poses with Hours Yours and Mine, aka "Blondie." Image courtesy of Impulse Photography.

Kaleena poses with Hours Yours and Mine, aka “Blondie.” Image courtesy of Impulse Photography.

1. How far along are you in your pregnancy, and when is your due date?

“I am currently 24 weeks along, and I will be 26-28 weeks during the Congress when I hope to show. We are due January 18th, 2014.”

2. What is your plan regarding showing while pregnant at the Congress? Do you anticipate any new challenges or difficulties?

“Right now, I plan on showing at the Congress. With it being only two weeks away all is looking good. The only class I have planned to sit out of is the horsemanship. It’s a little more demanding of my body than the other classes I plan to participate in. I have been blessed to be able to show since I got pregnant in April, and I have had an amazing pregnancy so far. The main challenges I face now are tiring more easily and lacking the endurance I had over the summer, especially for showmanship. We have started to shorten the length of our practices already, and I plan on getting lots of rest while at the Congress, along with a flu shot.”

3. What has your doctor advised regarding showing and riding? Has he/she given you a date for when you must stop riding?

“My doctor said to keep on doing what I’ve always done. He had no concern with showing or riding as long as I trusted the horse, and I have a great group of mares this year. He was more concerned about the long hours on the road traveling to the shows and making sure I got out every several hours to walk around and stayed hydrated.”

4. What events will you be competing in and with what horses?

“Hours Yours And Mine in Amateur Showmanship and Trail, Caught Me Looking in Non Pro 3-Year-Old Western Pleasure, and RC Will I Be Good  in Performance Mares. Who knows, I may end up showing one of [my husband] Josh’s halter horses.”

 5. Are you having a boy or a girl, and do you have a name picked out yet?

“Boy. Jax Weakly.”

 6. Do you have any concerns about show clothing when you start to “show and grow?”

“Luckily, I have the BEST ladies who make my clothes (Show Grace and Trudy Black Label). They have already made adjustments for the baby bump. I haven’t had to get anything new. Each outfit has had slight adjustments, so I will be able to wear what I had planned to at the Congress. Once the ‘bump’ started making its appearance, I soon realized COMFORT trumped all! With the classes I’m showing in, a jacket of some style is most appropriate, which works perfect for being pregnant.”

“I was really worried about my boots not fitting this fall, with the fear of my feet swelling. However, so far I have been really lucky and no swelling yet. Knock on wood!”

7. Have your fellow equestrians given you any advice about riding while pregnant or about raising a horse show baby?

“We have had some great influences when it comes to horse show parents and ‘horse show babies.’ They all say to keep on riding and to take the baby everywhere with you. Don’t stay at home or be afraid to get out to the shows. Socializing is best for them, and the little toddlers running around at the shows now are a prime example of that!”

 

Momma-to-be #3: Emily Miller

Emily Miller and Willy Be Potential

Emily Miller with Willy Be Potential and Rip City Zip.

1. How far along are you in your pregnancy, and when is your due date? 

“I am 20 weeks as of Oct 1st, and I’m due on Valentines Day, Feb 14th.”

2. What is your plan regarding showing while pregnant at the Congress? Do you anticipate any new challenges or difficulties?

“I will be showing my hunter under saddle classes on Willy [Willy Has Potential] and the trail and western riding on Zippy [Rip City Zip]. The challenge for me will be to just stay focused as much as possible. I’ve not had many difficulties. I’ve been very fortunate, and it’s been a great pregnancy so far. I was tired at the beginning, but now I have all my energy back and everything is great. The extra weight is the only thing my body is not used to carrying around, but it’s nothing to stop me from showing, so far.”

3. What has your doctor advised regarding showing and riding? Has he/she given you a date for when you must stop riding?

“My doctor is amazing. She believes in exercising, running, and continuing to follow my normal lifestyle. Riding horses has been a hobby of mine since I was a little girl, so she gave the thumbs up for me to continue. But she advised that the Congress should be my last show of the year. There will be no riding for me in November, but Beth Case will show Willy at the AQHA World Show in November. I’ve had a great year with Willy and Zippy.”

4. What events will you be competing in and with what horses?

“Willy Has Potential is my English horse, and I will be showing in the Novice Amateur Hunter Under Saddle and the Maturity Limited Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle. Rip City Zip, also known as Zippy, and I will be competing in the Novice Amateur Western Riding and the Novice Amateur Trail. Those are two classes that I’ve really grown to love this year.”

5. Are you having a boy or a girl, and do you have a name picked out yet?

“IT’S A GIRL!!! I’m so excited; no words can describe. We have chosen her name to be Taylor Kathryn Miller. I love the name Taylor and wanted her middle name to be after my mom.”

6. Do you have any concerns about show clothing when you start to “show and grow?”

“Show clothing was a concern for me in September, so Tammy Dyer with D Designs made a beautiful jacket for me that allowed room for the baby bump that I am definitely starting to have. The english jacket is going to be fine. We just needed to put in a different waist for my english pants. I recently purchased an Upsie Belly Support Band that will be great for the english events to get everything nice and tight while posting, which would be about the only challenge for me since she is starting to kick and move around all of the time.”

7. Have your fellow equestrians given you any advice about riding while pregnant or about raising a horse show baby?

“I’ve had friends that still show and bring their children to the barns while they ride. It seems pretty easy with the help of family and friends. I am really looking forward to when the time comes that I can be able to get back on and start showing again. However, I do realize that it will slow me down for a while.”

8. What’s it like to know that you will soon be a mother?

“Life is all about changes. Taylor was a big surprise to us; that’s for sure. I wasn’t planning on having a child during my first year of showing, but it has been a blessing. I’ve felt great and the support from Highpoint has really made it easy for me. They are very accommodating to all of my needs, like saddling my horses and so on. It’s a big adjustment when you go from being active all the time to having to limit yourself on what you can pick up or how much weight you can move around. It will be interesting to see how the Congress goes this year. I just hope that we have safe and good rides.”

“It feels like my whole world has changed knowing that I will be having Taylor be a part of our lives. It’s the best feeling a girl could ask for. My husband Brit is so supportive. He’s been great. The Congress will be his first horse show to see me compete at. Also, my mother Kathryn has been coming with me to shows for support. She will be coming to the Congress as well.”

 

 

Momma-to-be #4: Courtney Suzanne Brockmueller

KC Montgomery photo

Courtney Suzanne Brockmueller- KC Montgomery photo

1. How far along are you in your pregnancy, and when is your due date? 

“I am 21 weeks and due Valentine’s Day next year.”

2. What is your plan regarding showing while pregnant at the Congress? Do you anticipate any new challenges or difficulties?

“I do plan to show at the Congress, but I do expect some challenges this year. Congress riding traffic is always hectic, [whether you’re] expecting or not, so navigating in crowds is one issue. Another is trying to eat healthy and properly while being tempted by so many great vendors at the Congress and by the crazy hours. That leads to another concern- how my show clothes will be fitting!”

3. What has your doctor advised regarding showing and riding? Has he/she given you a date for when you must stop riding?

“My doctor says she could not recommend for anyone to ride while pregnant, but if we are used to it then our bodies will adjust. She said I should use my best judgement and let my body tell me when enough is enough. She has made me promise to use a step stool to mount and dismount. I agreed.”

4. What events will you be competing in and with what horses?

“I will show Allocate In Blue, aka Big Sky, in the 3-Year-Old Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle Futurity and Amateur Hunter Under Saddle.”

5. Are you having a boy or a girl, and do you have a name picked out yet?

“It’s a Boy!!! Brim Allen Brockmueller.”

6. Do you have any concerns about show clothing when you start to “show and grow?”

“I have started planning for my show attire adjustments. I’m borrowing some breeches and boots. I did buy some larger shirts and a show coat that can be altered after the completion of my pregnancy.”

7. Have your fellow equestrians given you any advice about riding while pregnant or about raising a horse show baby?

“The most common advice, that I agree completely with, is ‘the most comfortable place for you to be is on a horse.’ [Other advice is] to keep doing what you’re doing until you can’t stand it any longer, because once you quit your balance and strength will vanish until you’re through with pregnancy.”

8. Do you wonder if an unborn child has ever “participated” in winning a Congress or World title?

“I’m not sure about that….. Surely it has happened before! If not, this year would be a great time to start. There are several of us expecting…..”

We would like to congratulate all four of our soon-to-be mothers on their upcoming arrivals, and we wish them the best of luck for a safe and memorable fall show season. We can’t wait to meet Brim Allen Brockmueller, Taylor Kathryn Miller, Jax Weakly, and Cross Michael Sliss!

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