"By riding together, we 'get' each other on a whole new level."
—Cathleen and Rachel Prudhomme, horseback riders and book authors
At the age of 8, Rachel Prudhomme, now 29, rode a horse for the first time, and as her mother, Cathleen, describes it, she never stopped. A passionate animal lover, Rachel embraced every aspect of the sport, from competing in the English-style show circuit to volunteering at a stable providing therapeutic and recreational riding for people with special needs.
After that first day of riding, Cathleen, now 56, says she became a "horse-show mom," attending every exhibition. Though she had ridden a little in her youth—and loved it—the mother of two, stepmother of two more, and full-time schoolteacher had no time to learn a new sport.
Seven years ago, when Rachel graduated from college and moved near her parents in their new hometown of Phoenix, Cathleen, now retired, realized there was finally nothing to stop her from hopping in the saddle herself. From the beginning, Cathleen was hooked. "Every aspect of the sport made me feel younger, stronger, and more energized." Cathleen and Rachel took every opportunity to ride together talking for hours.
Their mutual interest would take yet another turn when Rachel relocated to Thief River Falls, Minnesota, in 2004. "When you move, there's no central source of information for things like where to board your horse or buy supplies," she says. "You have to do all the sleuthing yourself." They decided to start a guidebook for horse owners, one that compiled local resources, building connections to make the sport grow and thrive.
In spring 2007, the Equine Resource Guide debuted with editions in two states and is now in two more. Assembling the guides has helped Rachel and Cathleen better communicate and has brought them closer. Although they don't always see eye to eye, they are self-proclaimed "talkers" and are able work through their problems. "Not only is it a real complement of skills, but when we go riding now, our talks are even more meaningful," says Cathleen. "We 'get' each other on a whole new level. Our hobby and our business are a team effort."
To give back to the sport and the riding community, the Prudhommes provide free advertising for horse-rescue organizations and therapeutic-riding facilities. Cathleen is currently working with the Arizona Horse Council to provide an "Equine Kit" for Arizona teachers to use in their classrooms.
Although they don't get to see each other as often as they'd like, working together has given the Prudhommes the opportunity to stay connected. It provides a good excuse to meet in other cities for horse shows and expos. Not every event is horse-related: This Mother's Day, they're participating — along with Rachel's sister Erin — in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at the Mall of America.
Some Susan G. Komen races are still open in locations throughout the country. Find one near mom and you here.
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