In anticipation of this blessed family event, the first spring that I started trail riding back in 2001, my friend Tammy M. and I took off from work the Friday before Mother’s Day. We invited a couple friends to come along and we rode the Oak Creek Trail. Tammy M. recalls doing this every Friday before Mother’s Day with other friends long before I had horses, but it was my first. And once I do something I like, I make it a tradition. When 2002 rolled around, more friends were invited and each year since, the ride has grown. Last year there were close to 120 women celebrating Mother’s Day on the Friday Before Mother's Day!
I never in 100 years would have thought this many women would take the day away from work and/or family and come ride with me on our little Oak Creek Trail. But they did and they still do! I’ve had riders come from three states and several hours away, some driving in the night before and spending the night at the trail head! I don’t think it is so much about where we ride but having the opportunity to ride with other women and enjoy our day. And having food catered the last few years, is just icing on the cake! It truly is a Mother’s Day.
Originally, I thought I would rotate the ride to different trails each year but upon further contemplation, I decided the Oak Creek Trail had just what I needed. First, I know this trail like the back of my hand since I helped build it with the Nebraska Horse Trails Committee. It’s close enough to home that we can run over a few times prior to the ride and clear any downed tree branches that the illegal ATV traffic did not move over the winter. And the trail is not difficult by most horse trail rider standards. It runs along a hiking and biking trail which was once a railroad line. Riders can avoid most of the trail obstacles or water crossing by going around them next to the limestone, if needed.
The ride hasn't gone without incident. There is the annual fight with my husband about making sure we have water for the horses at the trail head. (I want it done yesterday and he thinks "zero hour/9 AM" is fine!) There have been a accidents; a rider sustained a few broken ribs and another a broken ankle. The locked bathrooms caused quite a stir last year. But most of all, there have been smiles among women and friends and yes, mothers and daughters, as they share the day.
Now that Expo is over, I’ve got the Friday Before Mother’s Day Ride on my mind. I hope to see you there on the Friday Before!
Pictures from past rides