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together really well but our mom is the main cog.” Susan raised both of her girls around horses from the very start, whether working for others or eventually running her own business. “I feel like it taught them to be independent and do a lot of thinking for themselves at a young age,” Susan said. Her girls would tag along after her while she taught lessons, rode horses, met with veterinarians and farriers, negotiated with feed suppliers, and took clients to competitive horse shows. “My goal was to give them a good work ethic and let them know life is hard work, that there’s no easy path,” Susan said. While she never pressured Caitlin or Kirsten to work in her business, or in the horse industry in general, it was always on the table. Living at home meant working at home. Both of her daughters have had other jobs, but Susan said, “It turns out this is where they both want to be.” Susan said she’s especially proud of both her daughters for overcoming difficulties that began in childhood. Caitlin had an audio processing disorder as a child, and Kirsten has epilepsy. “They’re so different but they both have great personalities and senses of humor.” Growing up with horses contributed to their strength. “Horses teach you a lot of responsibility,” Kirsten said. “I loved being around the horses. They teach you how to be a better person.” Perhaps most important when it comes to working together to run the business, Susan said, is that, “I can trust them one hundred percent to have my back both personally and professionally, in this particular business.” The equestrian business is highly competitive. “At your barn when you hire someone to come in, nine times out of ten, they’ll want to take your customers,” Susan explained. In fact, that very thing happened right around the time that Caitlin began working for her mother years ago. A trainer came on board who brought “the ugly side of the business” into their home, Caitlin said. “It was a struggle to get through that,” Caitlin said. “We came out of it better and closer professionally and personally.” Susan is proud of the women her daughters have become. Perhaps because of her own struggle with low self-esteem, she said, “I’ve always tried to make them feel good about themselves.” She credits her own mom as being an excellent role model. “I had a great mom. I learned a lot from her about how to deal with other people.” Susan said that she and her husband Joe took a fairly laid-back approach to parenting. “I didn’t like being shoved into piano lessons and things I just wasn’t interested in as a kid, which a lot of parents do to their kids.” Instead, she thought, “They could try anything they wanted.” Caitlin and Kirsten both appreciated this aspect of their upbringing, which involved a lot of imaginative play and time spent with animals. “I don’t think we were ever bored,” Caitlin said. Susan is grateful to have experienced personal closeness 66 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN and professional success with her daughters. In fact, they’ve become so crucial to the business, she said, “My husband and I have talked about it and if for some reason, God for- bid, something should happen to them or they didn’t want to work with us anymore, we both decided running the business wouldn’t be worth it without them.” A Mother, Her Daughter, A Story of Strength Edith Edde and Nita Edde-Mitchell T he bright blue poster with photos highlighting events in Edith Edde’s life was the featured attraction at her 90th birthday party. The celebration was held last September at the Elks Lodge in Gilroy with two hundred guests in attendance. “We figured a lot of people wouldn’t be able to come but just about everybody came,” Nita Edde-Mitchell, Edith’s second oldest of four, said. Nita is an RN and mother of two, who after graduating from high school moved to Fresno to attend college. Forty years later she returned to Gilroy and married her high school sweetheart, Dan Mitchell, in her mother’s backyard. “I was delighted when Nita moved back to town,” Edith said, adding that her daughter has been there whenever she’s needed her. For Nita the most memorable moment of last year’s birthday party was when Edith danced with her brother, her only living sibling. “That took me out, I was crying,” Nita said. april/may 2019