I can relate with the feeling of never getting a thank you for helping or training a horse. The fact that your mother said something to you says that not only is she grateful that you did this for her, but she is seeing progress that she likes. You should be proud, because she is proud of you.
Pat yourself on the back and go give yourself a pampering treat, you deserve it. As for things that shouldn't have been said, I'm not so sure. You stepped in and stopped bullying from going on, that's something that a LOT more people need to do. And if it took saying something ugly to convince them you meant business, that's ok, they'll think twice before they tuck into you or your little fleglings again! Good JOB@
Good for you for doing the right thing! Sometimes, we do get a reward for good deeds & I'm glad they are coming your way. Also, you become an example to others of how we all could be, & the ripples of "nice" flow outward & help in ways you can never imagine. Keep doing your best!
I am so glad to hear about anyone who struggles with their emotions getting to have those "golden moments." I have been both on the down side and the up side of those myself. It sounds like you are an amazing girl and you finally figuring that out for yourself and that let's others see it. I am so happy for you.