PDA

View Full Version : Teaching young kids about winning/losing and judging



Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 08:29 AM
Hi all, just looking for advice from the moms and trainers of young kids. My 7 yr old daughter just started showing in pre-short stirrup. She went to her first show two weeks ago and did very well, got a 1st, 2nd and a 3rd out of 4 kids and was reserve champion in the division and just thrilled with herself and the experience. Begged to go to the next show.

Fast forward to yesterday, which was her 2nd show with again 4 kids in her division. She was 4th and last in the walk class, 3rd in the walk/trot and 3rd in the walk/trot/jumping position. She didn't make any "mistakes" i.e. picked up all her diagonals or changed them promply, didn't break gait, didn't do anything that I can point to which would tell her "well that's why you didn't win". It was truly a case of the other kids having better positions and also not making mistakes (or actually one of them did, but the judge didn't see it).

Unfortunately my daughter is used to being the best at everything and this really hit her hard. She was completely fine and happy at the show but last night when she was going to bed she was crying and upset and really struggling to understand. I think she would have been fine if we could say, "well you missed that diagonal" or well you were 4th out of 12! :) but the net net is that clearly the judge didn't like her as much as the other two she placed consistently ahead, and how do you explain that to a 7 yr old? She wasn't as "cute" as the other two? It's just a tough thing to explain to her in a way that doesn't make her hate the whole horse show idea.

She is not a "spoiled brat" but she is just not used to being judged and has never had a "losing" experience before at a competitive event. She said last night she wanted to quit riding, or quit showing and everytime I said, that was fine, she would cry harder saying she really wants to ride and she wants to show. :confused: And then she said "I just wish that there didn't have to be winners and losers".

I know this must be a situation that every horse show mom has to deal with at some point, so looking for advice on how to deal with losing, when you can't point to anything they could have done differently (other than of course, more heels down and sitting up straighter :))

Jsalem
May. 17, 2010, 08:38 AM
First of all, your child doesn't need to compete to enjoy riding. IMO, the competition aspect of the sport isn't for everyone.

Secondly, as her parent, you need to begin to teach her about winning and losing. In school, in sports, in life. It has to be okay with you, too, for her to fail. I see lots of parents that just cannot accept anything less than A's in school, championships at shows, etc. It's normal for a child to be good in Math, but poor in English. She may have nice equitation, but her pony is a poor mover.

Let her sit and watch a class and pick her favorites. Ask her if the "last" child is a bad rider? Losing is a part of life. It doesn't make her a bad person. Teach her that. Please.

findeight
May. 17, 2010, 08:46 AM
Well, she's SEVEN. A whole lot of what you would like to say is not going to soak in right now like it will in another year or so. I am in a barn with a beginner program plus an extensive Pony contingent and this comes up with all of them as they come out of the cutsey stage and start having to really compete. It's pretty normal.

Best results seem to be obtained by just saying something like "Suzy, you were wonderful, and so were the other kids. They just did it a little better then you did. Last time, you did it better then they did. I am very proud of you either way".

Going to come right out and say she may not be ready quite yet for actual judging and accepting she may not do well one week and win the next. It's OK. She can wait. Let her tell you when she is ready to go horse show again, then ask her of she is willing to accept the judges opinion even if she does not like it. She is a little young yet to really understand why this happened.

I also think you got some hurt feelings going on she is too young to seperate from the show ring.

Maytag? Are you trying to train your own kid? This is one very common reason it's not a good idea. A trainer not emotionally involved is a better choice to teach her about constructive correction and analysing her ride against the others-she needs a Mom for the hurt feelings.

barnbum81
May. 17, 2010, 08:47 AM
That's going to be part of showing. When all things are equal then it's only natural for the judges eye to go to the fanciest pony and the kid with the nicest turnout. That's all part of the game. I just make sure I give my kid the best opportunity, I turn her out to the nines, and we scrub tack and ponies until they shine, that way we know if she doesn't pin at least we know it wasn't because the kid who rode as well as her had a better "look". Some judges are going to like you and some aren't. At that level where there is so little to judge on, you're bound to have off days. My daughter is usually the top of her division, but she also has friends that are her neck and neck competition. When they pin higher than her she claps, gets excited and gives them a hug! Showing has made her such a gracious looser and well balanced child, and that is mostly because of the white and pink ribbons she's one, not the blues reds and tri's!

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 08:47 AM
First of all, your child doesn't need to compete to enjoy riding. IMO, the competition aspect of the sport isn't for everyone.

Secondly, as her parent, you need to begin to teach her about winning and losing. In school, in sports, in life. It has to be okay with you, too, for her to fail. I see lots of parents that just cannot accept anything less than A's in school, championships at shows, etc. It's normal for a child to be good in Math, but poor in English. She may have nice equitation, but her pony is a poor mover.

Let her sit and watch a class and pick her favorites. Ask her if the "last" child is a bad rider? Losing is a part of life. It doesn't make her a bad person. Teach her that. Please.

Well of course I am trying to teach her how to lose, that's the point but I was looking for input from experienced moms who have been through this without souring her on the experience of showing. I told her in no uncertain terms that she doesn't have to show, she doesn't even have to ride if she doesn't want to, which only made her cry harder. I also told her I was extremely proud of the fact that she rode so well, even though she didn't win. But hello, she's 7 S-E-V-E-N. This is her first losing exp and I was to make sure she doesn't get soured on the whole process.

Lucassb
May. 17, 2010, 08:48 AM
I wouldn't personally make a big deal out of it.

When my SS rode and didn't place well, we simply said "the other kids had better positions; better work on getting those heels down and looking up and ahead," and left it at that. On the *one* occasion that he persisted, he was told, "that's part of showing; better get used to it.," and the matter was dropped.

I would choose your words carefully; no offense but your own description in the OP suggests you are nearly as disappointed as your DD.


the net net is that clearly the judge didn't like her as much as the other two she placed consistently ahead ...


She wasn't as "cute" as the other two...

Also, your comments about the judge missing another rider's mistake, and how your daughter didn't make any mistakes (although you allow she might have corrected a wrong diagonal promptly, it's still a mistake...) and your DD being "used to being the best of everything," gives the impression that you are feeding the monster here.

I know you understand the other kids had better positions and I also totally understand that as moms, we are always our kids' biggest cheerleaders and are disappointed for them in situations like this. That said, I think it's also our job to mirror reality for our kids. They are not always going to be the winner and if they want to win more often, they simply have to train harder.

I personally would be very concerned about a seven year old that is THAT focused on the ribbons.

Sorry, I know that isn't what you wanted to hear.

Jsalem
May. 17, 2010, 08:55 AM
I'm not only a trainer, but a mom of a rider as well. When my little one was little, she bawled at one show because she got a blue ribbon when she wanted the pink one! Your daughter will be fine.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 08:56 AM
Well, she's SEVEN. A whole lot of what you would like to say is not going to soak in right now like it will in another year or so. I am in a barn with a beginner program plus an extensive Pony contingent and this comes up with all of them as they come out of the cutsey stage and start having to really compete. It's pretty normal.

Best results seem to be obtained by just saying something like "Suzy, you were wonderful, and so were the other kids. They just did it a little better then you did. Last time, you did it better then they did. I am very proud of you either way".

Going to come right out and say she may not be ready quite yet for actual judging and accepting she may not do well one week and win the next. It's OK. She can wait. Let her tell you when she is ready to go horse show again, then ask her of she is willing to accept the judges opinion even if she does not like it. She is a little young yet to really understand why this happened.

I also think you got some hurt feelings going on she is too young to seperate from the show ring.

Maytag? Are you trying to train your own kid? This is one very common reason it's not a good idea. A trainer not emotionally involved is a better choice-she needs a Mom for the hurt feelings.


No I am not her trainer, just the mom who has to pick up the pieces at 8 PM when she's crying herself to sleep. yes my feelings are hurt, not that she didn't win, but that my daughter is upset. Its natural don't you think? I grew up showing and I absolutely know about winning and losing.

Both daughter and pony were adorable and turned out perfectly. The two that placed ahead of my daughter were really good and they deserved to win, I am not taking anything away from them. Just not sure how to explain it all to my daughter to have her understand and not feel down on herself.

mvp
May. 17, 2010, 08:57 AM
I'm with Lucassb. I worry about the adult who may not be interested about the kid winning, but is worried about *optimizing*-- the experience of riding and showing, but maybe on the way to winning?

Don't make a big deal about it. Sometimes you have the best day, sometimes the other guy does. And in a subjective sport, and for pre-short stirrup, there's only so much post-game analysis to be done.

As an adult, I like to compete.... especially when I'm not afraid of losing. Someone needs to tell or show kids that it's ok to do that, even if the point of competing was winning. I think my parents did all right because I don't remember the first time I lost at something. And I'm quite sure I did.

If you don't make this a big deal, it will blow over.

Seal Harbor
May. 17, 2010, 08:59 AM
Ribbons are just icing on the cake if one is happy with the ride or trip. If things went really well - cake, a ribbon on top of that - icing. Sometimes you just get cake. There will be times that you only get icing and didn't deserve the ribbon, but cake is always best with or without icing.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 08:59 AM
oh well I should have known not to post anything here, sorry just needed to vent I guess. Should have known I'd be branded the next horse show mom monster.

I have already told her exactly what you've all told me to say so I guess there's nothing more to say, but give her time to decide what she wants to do.

findeight
May. 17, 2010, 09:00 AM
I would choose your words carefully; no offense but your own description in the OP suggests you are nearly as disappointed as your DD.

Also, your comments about the judge missing another rider's mistake, and how your daughter didn't make any mistakes (although you allow she might have corrected a wrong diagonal promptly, it's still a mistake...) and your DD being "used to being the best of everything," gives the impression that you are feeding the monster here.



See, that is what I mean about needing an emotionally uninvolved person to teach her and coach her at the shows.

That is what Mom's do, that is their job. Telling the kid she is the best and letting her cry on your shoulder. For 2 minutes-then tell her to go talk to her instructor about how she can improve for next time. And hang all those pretty pink ribbons on the wall as proudly as the primary color ones. Let the trainer worry about the riding.

You ever wonder what the real BNT's do with their kidlets? They swap them-you teach mine and I'll teach yours. They know trying to play both roles is a fight followed by a meltdown. They also know they might miss the fact the kid really does not want to show or is not competitive by nature and just wants a Pony to love on.

Back off. Breathe. Get somebody else to teach her.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:06 AM
I wouldn't personally make a big deal out of it.

When my SS rode and didn't place well, we simply said "the other kids had better positions; better work on getting those heels down and looking up and ahead," and left it at that. On the *one* occasion that he persisted, he was told, "that's part of showing; better get used to it.," and the matter was dropped.

I would choose your words carefully; no offense but your own description in the OP suggests you are nearly as disappointed as your DD.

...



Also, your comments about the judge missing another rider's mistake, and how your daughter didn't make any mistakes (although you allow she might have corrected a wrong diagonal promptly, it's still a mistake...) and your DD being "used to being the best of everything," gives the impression that you are feeding the monster here.

I know you understand the other kids had better positions and I also totally understand that as moms, we are always our kids' biggest cheerleaders and are disappointed for them in situations like this. That said, I think it's also our job to mirror reality for our kids. They are not always going to be the winner and if they want to win more often, they simply have to train harder.

I personally would be very concerned about a seven year old that is THAT focused on the ribbons.

Sorry, I know that isn't what you wanted to hear.
Clearly I shouldn't have posted on here because you all don't know the people involved...i just wanted some help, but oh well.

Haven't you ever known a child who just inherently has to he best in everything they do? She just does, didn't come from me, didn't come from her dad, she is just like that. She's a twin and it may be an inherently ingrained attribute since she's always had to compete for attention with her brother. Not at all saying it's a good thing or that I like that she's like this, its just how she is. Read into my post however enterains you but I know the truth.

I've already told her about all the times I didn't win, all the times I fell off or made a mistake. I've shown her videos where I made mistakes and I've told her how some of my best rides and those that I'm most proud of came in classes where I didn't get a ribbon.

Lucassb
May. 17, 2010, 09:07 AM
(snip)

Both daughter and pony were adorable and turned out perfectly. The two that placed ahead of my daughter were really good and they deserved to win, I am not taking anything away from them. Just not sure how to explain it all to my daughter to have her understand and not feel down on herself.

Your DD is 7, not 2. If she can't understand, "the other kids rode better this time and deserved to win," it is high time she learned that concept. And if losing = down on herself, you have some work to do on that front as well.

I have to admit the comment you made in the OP about your DD "being used to being the best at everything," made me cringe. Methinks there is way too much emphasis on the prizes in this equation. As parents, it is our job to teach our kids that their native inclinations (whether to winning or whatever else) may not always be the correct approach. And that much emphasis on winning, IMO, is neither healthy nor productive.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:08 AM
See, that is what I mean about needing an emotionally uninvolved person to teach her and coach her at the shows.

That is what Mom's do, that is their job. Telling the kid she is the best and letting her cry on your shoulder. For 2 minutes-then tell her to go talk to her instructor about how she can improve for next time. And hang all those pretty pink ribbons on the wall as proudly as the primary color ones. Let the trainer worry about the riding.

You ever wonder what the real BNT's do with their kidlets? They swap them-you teach mine and I'll teach yours. They know trying to play both roles is a fight followed by a meltdown. They also know they might miss the fact the kid really does not want to show or is not competitive by nature and just wants a Pony to love on.

Back off. Breathe. Get somebody else to teach her.


I would never teach her for these reasons and I don't need to "back off". She came to me....I am not making a big deal of it, I just wanted advice from been there done that moms.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:10 AM
Your DD is 7, not 2. If she can't understand, "the other kids rode better this time and deserved to win," it is high time she learned that concept. And if losing = down on herself, you have some work to do on that front as well.

I have to admit the comment you made in the OP about your DD "being used to being the best at everything," made me cringe. Methinks there is way too much emphasis on the prizes in this equation.

well you're wrong, there is in no way too much emphasis on prizes. In fact, i write her notes before she has a big event at school or before a horse show and specificaly what i wrote her the night before this show was that the point is to have fun, and not win ribbons. I have never told her its important to win in anyway. It's always important to try your best, and then sometimes you win. The problem is that she did so well the first time, it's hard to follow it up.

Jsalem
May. 17, 2010, 09:15 AM
Not to add fuel to the fire, but Mayaty, see how you respond here? You don't take constructive criticism so well yourself. Being defensive is kind of the grown up version of the 7 year old tears. You asked for help, to see how you were doing in this situation. You didn't get the parenting blue ribbon. Could you just take a breath and take in the suggestions instead of being defensive?

findeight
May. 17, 2010, 09:22 AM
I would never teach her for these reasons and I don't need to "back off". She came to me....I am not making a big deal of it, I just wanted advice from been there done that moms.

Yeah. You need to back off if the kid is crying herself to sleep and even you don't want to accept the judge's opinion that others were better.

Sorry...no I'm not. Post on here and get what you asked for.

JumpWithPanache
May. 17, 2010, 09:23 AM
Glad to hear that your DD's two shows have gone well and safely... that's certainly the first step toward having a good show experience. The way I've approached my disappointed up-downers has been to tell them they did a great job riding the pony that they rode and point out that they rode especially well considering their pony was a little different than it usually is at home and in a crowded ring with lots of people watching. So positive reinforcement first. Once they've got themselves and the pony settled after the class I ask what they thought they did really well and what they think they could have done better and I provide input. Sometimes it is something as simple as forgetting to get their heels down as much as they do at home, or maybe their hands were bouncy, or maybe it's traffic avoidance. Ok, so this is the "negative" part but must be very constructive criticism. Immediately after we've talked through what needs improvement I was sure to point out a few really good highlights, especially when it was something they've been working on at home... more positive reinforcement. I'm sure much of the same pattern can be used at 8PM when picking up the pieces of a DD who is used to being the best. But I also agree with the others that the attitude of must be THE best at everything needs to be curbed quickly. Rather than THE best channel her energy to being HER best. So I would take her discussions of "failure" in the show ring and point out that while her ride may not have been what the judge considered THE best of everyone, but does she feel like her ride was HER best for her abilities. If you can get her focus off of being THE best and back to being HER best you'll be shaping a wonderful young person who can have a great impact on her circle of friends both now and in the future.

Roser123
May. 17, 2010, 09:24 AM
I think that it's really helpful if, before shows, you help her come up with some goals ...ie: today I'm really going to concentrate on riding deep into my corners and keeping my chin up etc. Then at the end of the day, there are more ways to measure the success of the show than ribbons alone. That method has served my children well for years, and it works in other areas of life too - it's all about doing their personal best. Just last weekend I was driving home from a show with my now teenaged daughter and she was on top of the world - not because of her placings, but because she'd really accomplished what she'd set out to do in going to the show. Little things like looking to her fences earlier or remembering to sit up and wait, or figuring out how she was going to get down a forward uphill line without adding and pulling it off ... those were the triumphs for her, and I really give her trainer a lot of credit for instilling in her the goals thing.
You have to say to your daughter, "Did you win first place? No. But did you keep your heels down through the turns? YES! And for that, my dear, you win and ice cream cone. I'm so proud of you." And that's it! Good luck :-)

Jsalem
May. 17, 2010, 09:28 AM
I read something along the way that I've always tried to apply, both in my parenting and in my teaching. I try to use the phrase, "You should be so proud of yourself" in place of "I'm so proud of you." A small thing, but I think it makes a difference.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:32 AM
To those that say I'm defensive, well yes I am because I'm being attacked. You attack me, I'm going to defend, it is what it is. You are not reading my posts, you are assuming you know me and my intentions and how I raise my kids - truly that is not fair, nor appropriate.

To jumpwithpanache and roser123, thank you so much for your advice. I will definitely do that if she truly does want to show again. A Jsalem, I agree you're right on how to phrase that.

Hunter Mom
May. 17, 2010, 09:33 AM
That is what Mom's do, that is their job. Telling the kid she is the best and letting her cry on your shoulder. For 2 minutes-then tell her to go talk to her instructor about how she can improve for next time. And hang all those pretty pink ribbons on the wall as proudly as the primary color ones. Let the trainer worry about the riding.


Well said findeight. My DD is 8 and has been showing since age 6. Last year, she got a lot of low ribbons because she wasn't as strong as others, so we had a few disappointed moments. I always reassure her that it's ok - as long as she did her best - and remind her that she's here to have fun & enjoy her Mare. Then I the trainer talks to her to give a quick post-game. Soemtimes the trainer gets her first.

She knows that ribbons aren't the be-all-end-all. While she likes blue best, her other favorites are pink & purple.

On the Underhill's Tab
May. 17, 2010, 09:35 AM
Mayaty,
I understand your situation as I have a 6 yr old who is just starting this whole adventure. Another mom who has a similar aged daughter who often shows in the same classes and I joke about hoping that our kid gets the 2nd or 3rd etc... so that we one more opportunity for that teachable moment.

As far as handling the disappointment upon losing a class and their feelings of not being "good", I can only relate what I do - and I am a bit of a hard a$$. Immediately following the class, she is allowed to wallow privately in despair for about 2 minutes, and only after congratulating the winners and taking care of the pony and doing her jobs etc.... If she continues to mope I tell her she has the option to not ride at all. Being a consistent "loser" I have little patience for what I perceive to be whining and poor sportsmanship. I am not saying that is what your DD is doing AT ALL, but I have found that being very matter of fact about things, and changing the focus to the care for the pony, tack, rewarding the pony for a job well done (if that is the case) with a treat or pats...we then focus on ourselves and maybe what can be done better. The class is just a small part of the showing experience.

Its a daily thing for us to teach her about what is important and not important enough to be upset over. Some days are better than others, all we can hope for is that if we deliver the message day after day that it will sink in.

I don't know if this helps - good luck. I am glad to see that I am not the only HSM who struggles with this.

englishivy
May. 17, 2010, 09:37 AM
Mayaty,

I can understand your situation. Lots of people are giving you some solid advice, but maybe not in the word choices you prefer. ;)

My DD is doing a show this weekend; her first real show on her new pony. DD is 3.5. DD has done Leadline 3 times: 1st time all got blues (she was 22 mths old; probably doesn't even remember being there but it was a self-indulgent moment :lol:). Second time was at our barn show and she chose to take two 6th place ribbons. Last time was a few weeks ago, also at our barn show, when she chose to take a 2nd, 3rd, & 4th. Kids, gotta love them.

Well, at our upcoming show we will actually be doing a Pre-Beginner W 1@time Pleasure class b/c the leadline is being done as a special class that evening...too late for DD. I'll skip the boring details, but note that we will be doing it as leadline even though it really isn't. And it's a judged class so we very well may be dead last or not place because she'll be on a leadline with me.

So I've talked in great length about the show. You must follow directions, you must pay attention, etc. BUT we've also discussed that she gets whatever ribbon the judge gives her....she can't choose. She has to be happy with whatever happens. Or we don't show. Period.

Now DD is 3.5....so this is probably not sinking in at all :lol:. I think she's just excited to show at the off-site show with all the big girls. I'll let you know if our talk made any difference. :D

As for my older girls, my advice to them is to go do your best and be proud of your accomplishments and focused on changing your mistakes. I browbeat it in them that they can have the most perfect round/flat class/eq course/whatever of their LIFE, but if 6 people did it slightly better (or there were 6 horses slightly nicer), you won't win a ribbon. And that's ok. Because you made improvements, or fixed a issue, or overcame a personal "speed bump".

And isn't that really the point of showing? To see where your faults lie when put under pressure? Anybody can find eight jumps nicely at home with nobody watching...can you do it at a show, with the video camera rolling, all hot and uncomfortable in your jacket when it's 100 degrees, when you horse is more interested in the pink flowers by jump 7 when you are going to jump 3? It's a test. Nothing more. :yes:

There had to be something that made those other riders place ahead of your DD; hell, I'd even pick the three things she needs the most improvement with and say those kids were better at it just to give her some goals to work towards. If it was hunter type classes where the pony made the difference, I would tell explain that it's just someone's opinion. A good example is that a person who loves ice cream may always choose chocolate over vanilla; it doesn't mean they don't like vanilla ice cream, just that they like chocolate a little bit better.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:38 AM
oh and it's not like my daughter was upset at the show and whining that she should have won. In fact she proudly took her ribbons and hung them on our car, then brought her white ribbon (which she said was prettiest) into the restaurant for lunch. We talked about how good the other girls were and how well she rode and I thought she was handling it great. But at bedtime, it all came out. I guess only time and experience will make her feel better and I have to realize as a mom that I can't fix everything, including her.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:40 AM
Mayaty,
I understand your situation as I have a 6 yr old who is just starting this whole adventure. Another mom who has a similar aged daughter who often shows in the same classes and I joke about hoping that our kid gets the 2nd or 3rd etc... so that we one more opportunity for that teachable moment.

As far as handling the disappointment upon losing a class and their feelings of not being "good", I can only relate what I do - and I am a bit of a hard a$$. Immediately following the class, she is allowed to wallow privately in despair for about 2 minutes, and only after congratulating the winners and taking care of the pony and doing her jobs etc.... If she continues to mope I tell her she has the option to not ride at all. Being a consistent "loser" I have little patience for what I perceive to be whining and poor sportsmanship. I am not saying that is what your DD is doing AT ALL, but I have found that being very matter of fact about things, and changing the focus to the care for the pony, tack, rewarding the pony for a job well done (if that is the case) with a treat or pats...we then focus on ourselves and maybe what can be done better. The class is just a small part of the showing experience.

Its a daily thing for us to teach her about what is important and not important enough to be upset over. Some days are better than others, all we can hope for is that if we deliver the message day after day that it will sink in.

I don't know if this helps - good luck. I am glad to see that I am not the only HSM who struggles with this.


Thank you for your insight and you're absolutely right - that's what I love about horse showing, I truly believe it is a great expeirience and teaches kids so much about competing, working hard, supporting others and the partnership between horse and human :)

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2010, 09:41 AM
JSalem, Lucassb and F8 have given you some really good advice. Please have a cocktail and consider it - not just the words, but the intention. They are trying to help you.

From a moms perspective, I can tell you this: my daughter is good at everything she does, not because she is innately talented, but because she has learned to work hard. From the beginning my husband and I have always worked with her to help her *enjoy the process* and feel that accomplishing her own goals are what matters, because we could see the train coming otherwise. At 7 she competently rides, snow skis, swims and ice skates. By focusing on the effort and not necessarily the outcome she is happy with her performance because she knows she has tried her best. By focusing on effort she has become good at a number of healthy activities and I thunk that is going to serve her well her entire life.

My advice to you, from one mom to another, is to step back and look at the big picture. Who are you trying to raise? A child who is only happy if she wins? Or one who tries her best always and is happy with the results? It's how you handle day to day life that teaches them this, not just show day. Make sure that you talk to her about giving her best effort and how that is all one can do... And when she is upset about a horse show remind her that she did her best and that is all she has control of - and that it is all that matters to you, her mom. Your word will mean more to her than any ribbon ever could.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:45 AM
Mayaty,

I can understand your situation. Lots of people are giving you some solid advice, but maybe not in the word choices you prefer. ;)

My DD is doing a show this weekend; her first real show on her new pony. DD is 3.5. DD has done Leadline 3 times: 1st time all got blues (she was 22 mths old; probably doesn't even remember being there but it was a self-indulgent moment :lol:). Second time was at our barn show and she chose to take two 6th place ribbons. Last time was a few weeks ago, also at our barn show, when she chose to take a 2nd, 3rd, & 4th. Kids, gotta love them.

Well, at our upcoming show we will actually be doing a Pre-Beginner W 1@time Pleasure class b/c the leadline is being done as a special class that evening...too late for DD. I'll skip the boring details, but note that we will be doing it as leadline even though it really isn't. And it's a judged class so we very well may be dead last or not place because she'll be on a leadline with me.

So I've talked in great length about the show. You must follow directions, you must pay attention, etc. BUT we've also discussed that she gets whatever ribbon the judge gives her....she can't choose. She has to be happy with whatever happens. Or we don't show. Period.

Now DD is 3.5....so this is probably not sinking in at all :lol:. I think she's just excited to show at the off-site show with all the big girls. I'll let you know if our talk made any difference. :D

As for my older girls, my advice to them is to go do your best and be proud of your accomplishments and focused on changing your mistakes. I browbeat it in them that they can have the most perfect round/flat class/eq course/whatever of their LIFE, but if 6 people did it slightly better (or there were 6 horses slightly nicer), you won't win a ribbon. And that's ok. Because you made improvements, or fixed a issue, or overcame a personal "speed bump".

And isn't that really the point of showing? To see where your faults lie when put under pressure? Anybody can find eight jumps nicely at home with nobody watching...can you do it at a show, with the video camera rolling, all hot and uncomfortable in your jacket when it's 100 degrees, when you horse is more interested in the pink flowers by jump 7 when you are going to jump 3? It's a test. Nothing more. :yes:

There had to be something that made those other riders place ahead of your DD; hell, I'd even pick the three things she needs the most improvement with and say those kids were better at it just to give her some goals to work towards. If it was hunter type classes where the pony made the difference, I would tell explain that it's just someone's opinion. A good example is that a person who loves ice cream may always choose chocolate over vanilla; it doesn't mean they don't like vanilla ice cream, just that they like chocolate a little bit better.
Thank you English IVy...yes she needs to continue to work on her heels as well as not slouching. She's a little too comfortable on the pony :D The other kids were really really good for pre-short stirrup, in fact the one who was champion showed in the pony pleasure division and was reserve. She placed where she should have, but my point is that she didn't make any "mistakes", so it was truly just on position, which hers was weaker. I just think it's hard for her to understand that as much as say missing a diagonal or something that she can really understand.

I showed her a picture this morning that a friend took which was realy cute...the first thing she said was "ugh my heels"...so she knows - and feels better this morning I think.

Lucassb
May. 17, 2010, 09:50 AM
To those that say I'm defensive, well yes I am because I'm being attacked. You attack me, I'm going to defend, it is what it is. You are not reading my posts, you are assuming you know me and my intentions and how I raise my kids - truly that is not fair, nor appropriate.

No one is trying to attack you. We are just trying to point out some things that jumped out of your posts that may be contributing to the situation that you are perhaps unaware of. You can dismiss the advice you don't like, but to be honest, your defensive comments tend to lend weight to the impression made by your original post.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:52 AM
JSalem, Lucassb and F8 have given you some really good advice. Please have a cocktail and consider it - not just the words, but the intention. They are trying to help you.

From a moms perspective, I can tell you this: my daughter is good at everything she does, not because she is innately talented, but because she has learned to work hard. From the beginning my husband and I have always worked with her to help her *enjoy the process* and feel that accomplishing her own goals are what matters, because we could see the train coming otherwise. At 7 she competently rides, snow skis, swims and ice skates. By focusing on the effort and not necessarily the outcome she is happy with her performance because she knows she has tried her best. By focusing on effort she has become good at a number of healthy activities and I thunk that is going to serve her well her entire life.

My advice to you, from one mom to another, is to step back and look at the big picture. Who are you trying to raise? A child who is only happy if she wins? Or one who tries her best always and is happy with the results? It's how you handle day to day life that teaches them this, not just show day. Make sure that you talk to her about giving her best effort and how that is all one can do... And when she is upset about a horse show remind her that she did her best and that is all she has control of - and that it is all that matters to you, her mom. Your word will mean more to her than any ribbon ever could.



Thank you - but I really don't need to step back. All I was asking were for some tips of how to deal with this and make her come out a stronger person. Clearly I learned that was not a smart idea :lol:

I wasn't saying she was right to be upset and how crappy the judging was, not at all. All of this attacking me is pointless and not well intentioned. I am not an evil horse show mom. I'm just a mom trying to learn by the seat of my pants how to raise my kids.

rabicon
May. 17, 2010, 09:55 AM
Didn't read all the post, but here my way
My daughter has grown up with me being very competitive and now so is she. She wants to be the best at everything she does and she is very athletic. She has started showing her pony in dressage and has placed in classes but hasn't won. Before her first show I flat out told her:
You are probably not going to win, this is some of your first shows and if you place it would be amazing. You get a cool ribbon also. :lol: Mommy doesn't always win (and then I showed her some of my dressage test to see that I get judged) but I keep trying so that I can do better the next time. So we have to practice alot and try our best and see what happens. Your pony isn't a big dressage pony but you know what he is safe. Then I asked her if she wanted a big dressage horse that wins everything or her pony, and guess what she chose, her pony. So at her first few shows she has got different colored ribbons and she is so happy with that and understands that she can't win them all and one day she will get that 1st.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:56 AM
No one is trying to attack you. We are just trying to point out some things that jumped out of your posts that may be contributing to the situation that you are perhaps unaware of. You can dismiss the advice you don't like, but to be honest, your defensive comments tend to lend weight to the impression made by your original post.

You crack me up seriously. My point in mentioning all the details that I did, including the bit about the one child breaking gait but not getting knocked down for it was to demonstrate that I need to figure out how to explain the subjectiveness of judging that's all. Oh and clearly you haven't seen a pre-short stirrup class if you think they all are automatically on their correct diagonal :lol: They all started out wrong in most cases, and all did an excellent job of switching quickly, including my daughter. It was a very impressive class, the best group of riders i have seen in all the pre-short classes I've watched this year.

I was only saying, it would have been much easier for me if I could say, "well you walked when you were supposed to be trotting" or "you didn't get that one diagonal". They were all good and it was purely on their position - which is very hard to quantify for a young kid. That's all.

findeight
May. 17, 2010, 10:00 AM
I think some of us have alot of hours standing near the gate at hundreds of shows watching that infamous Pony Mom. Not to mention watching all the drama back at the barn. Between MOMS of opposing kidlets. Overheard a bellyfull of snide comments both in the face and behind their backs.

Happens in all judged competitive sports and those mini pageants. Whatever we say to keep anybody from turning into one of those Pageant moms, we will come out with it. If it is overkill in your case, take it in the spirit it was offered and heed the warning because it is far easier then you might think to end up there.

We just don't want to see you trudging up the hill at Pony Finals to a kid in tears and the trainer heading for the port o pot. Because we see that waaaay too often.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:04 AM
Didn't read all the post, but here my way
My daughter has grown up with me being very competitive and now so is she. She wants to be the best at everything she does and she is very athletic. She has started showing her pony in dressage and has placed in classes but hasn't won. Before her first show I flat out told her:
You are probably not going to win, this is some of your first shows and if you place it would be amazing. You get a cool ribbon also. :lol: Mommy doesn't always win (and then I showed her some of my dressage test to see that I get judged) but I keep trying so that I can do better the next time. So we have to practice alot and try our best and see what happens. Your pony isn't a big dressage pony but you know what he is safe. Then I asked her if she wanted a big dressage horse that wins everything or her pony, and guess what she chose, her pony. So at her first few shows she has got different colored ribbons and she is so happy with that and understands that she can't win them all and one day she will get that 1st.

Thanks Rabicon are you're right. I think we created a monster because she did so well at her first show, that it was bound to be a disappointment the second time. Before the first show, we absolutely had the attitude (her and me :cool:) that she was "probably not going to get a ribbon", and she was just over the moon when not only did she get ribbons but she was reserve champion. She went to sleep that night staring up at her ribbons, now hung on her wall.

It was only going to be a disappointment trying to follow that up so I tried to set the stage that it could be a bigger and/or harder class this time, but obviously it still hurt her not to win. It was an excellent lesson though and hopefully i can find a way to help over through it and it will make her stronger.

Thank you for listening to my vents and offering advice. Many of you have been very helpful and inspirational to me.

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2010, 10:04 AM
No one is attacking you. Clearly you have never been attacked on COTH if you think you are!

Ok, here is one more thing for you. Explain to your daughter that hunters are a subjective sport, meaning that the judge doesn't even have to have a reason to place another horse/rider above you and that she has to learn to be ok with that. See, if she thinks that just fixing something like her heels is going to guarantee her a good ribbon, she will be disappointed when she tries her best and doesn't get what she thinks she deserves. Just an example.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:07 AM
I think some of us have alot of hours standing near the gate at hundreds of shows watching that infamous Pony Mom. Not to mention watching all the drama back at the barn. Between MOMS of opposing kidlets. Overheard a bellyfull of snide comments both in the face and behind their backs.

Happens in all judged competitive sports and those mini pageants. Whatever we say to keep anybody from turning into one of those Pageant moms, we will come out with it. If it is overkill in your case, take it in the spirit it was offered and heed the warning because it is far easier then you might think to end up there.

We just don't want to see you trudging up the hill at Pony Finals to a kid in tears and the trainer heading for the port o pot. Because we see that waaaay too often.


I absolutely understand and I guess that's why I'm defensive, because I am SOOO not that person. I had a great horse show mom and I want to emulate her entirely. She was pretty hands off and just let me work it out, which I'd like to do, however my daughter is quite a bit younger than I was when i was first showing.

Trust me, I am not a nasty "pony mom" at all, and i certainly don't want to become one.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:08 AM
No one is attacking you. Clearly you have never been attacked on COTH if you think you are!

Ok, here is one more thing for you. Explain to your daughter that hunters are a subjective sport, meaning that the judge doesn't even have to have a reason to place another horse/rider above you and that she has to learn to be ok with that. See, if she thinks that just fixing something like her heels is going to guarantee her a good ribbon, she will be disappointed when she tries her best and doesn't get what she thinks she deserves. Just an example.

You're right thank you :) Its a good life lesson isn't it ;)

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2010, 10:09 AM
You know... It's tough being a mom! One time I posted pics of LMEqT when she had gotten a new pony and they were beautiful...she looked very pensive in some of them and before you know it, I was being accused being the pony mom from hell LOL

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:11 AM
You know... It's tough being a mom! One time I posted pics of LMEqT when she had gotten a new pony and they were beautiful...she looked very pensive in some of them and before you know it, I was being accused being the pony mom from hell LOL

LOL it IS tough!

MoonoverMississippi
May. 17, 2010, 10:19 AM
One thing I would suggest is DO NOT give your daughter the option to decide not to show or ride any more because of one bad show (or two)..tell her after the next month, two months, whatever, but require her to "finish what she started". Don't let her think she can just up and quit something because it's not always blue ribbons and great fun or because she was disappointed. My daughter had plenty of "I wanna quit" moments-- and this likely won't be the last one you face-- but I made it clear that she could quit--AFTER the summer shows were over, but that when you commit to something, you see it through. Just like learning to lose, it is an important life lesson....and "suprisingly", my daughter never quit after the summer--she learned grit and determination instead of just giving up when everything didn't go her way.

As far as giving your daughter a reason she didn't win, why not simply suggest that maybe the other riders may have been at it longer than her...and if she keeps it up and works at it, she'll get just as good:yes:.

She a young kid, she's going to cry when she's upset, especially when she's tired after a big day and the disappointment hits her; as others said, just let her know you're proud of her and she should be proud of how well she did and of her good sportsmanship.

rabicon
May. 17, 2010, 10:20 AM
I just read all the post and wow:lol: I like alot of these poster that posted and they are great horseman (so it seems) but they can be harda$$es :lol: Your not the only one to be flamed on here, I have been at time myself :lol: You suck it up and live and learn. Just like you have to tell your daughter. I'm hard on mine though. She is 9 now (just turned) and I don't let her be a baby anymore about things. At softball if she gets hurt, suck it up and finish the play, if you lose suck it up and try harder next time. I do tell her how great she did and what she did right etc... and how proud I am of her also. If she cries about something (like losing, her last softball team lost EVERY game excpet 2 :lol:) it happens but she got defeated because they always lost. I tried the nice ways, oh you get the next one, ya'll have to just play as a team etc.... It took finally saying, suck it up and get over it. Are you having fun? If your not then you don't have to play again but you are not going to win them all. Thats life and no matter what you do you won't win everytime. But then after the horrible season she has made allstars so for her trying and playing hard on a loosing team she was picked because of her dedication and try. I think you really may need to get a little harder on your daughter at explaining. Tell her there is no explanations of what she did wrong compared to the others but sometimes we just don't win. I'm proud of you either way and keep trying, but if you don't like it you don't have to show or ride and thats your decision. If she cries more then just let her get it out. No advice, no trying to help, just let her handle it on her on and cry it out. I promise by the next day if you let her cry and deal with her own feelings she will get over it quicker than you babying her. Because if you are on her telling her how great she is constantly then she is going to learn to depend to much on your feeling than her own. I sound horrible and believe me I do support my kid and am very nice, but I don't put up with bad sportmanship and now matter how you look at it this is what this is. Not that your daughter is bad or your a bad mom. Not saying that at all, but all kids go thru it and you just have to take this and make it a teaching moment and sometimes you have to be hard to do that. I hope she has more fun at her next one and congrats even on her 2nd show!!

ExJumper
May. 17, 2010, 10:22 AM
I might have missed it if someone already asked this -- but who does she react when she loses a board game? Or a race between her and her brother? Or loses in Go Fish?

I realize that it's different because you aren't getting "judged" when you play those sorts of games, but it still teaches them that losing is a natural part of playing ANYTHING.

BeastieSlave
May. 17, 2010, 10:25 AM
I didn't read all the posts, but I'll share what I told my girls very early on in their showing days.

There will be some shows where you do everything right but it seems the judge doesn't notice and you don't get what you deserve. There will also be shows where you do some things wrong but the judge doesn't notice and you get better than you deserve. Hopefully, those times times will be rare and they'll balance each other out - but they will definitely happen!

In the Air
May. 17, 2010, 10:25 AM
As both a trainer and a mom of a 10 year old, I do understand your post. It is tough when they are really good and get nothing and then turn around and do great the next weeekend when they really shouldn't...

I have to bite my tongue when the judge decides that diagonals do not matter in walk trot,:eek:. Then the next week, only gray ponies pin. I have seen it all. It all works out in the long run. My daughter at 8 got to the point were she could see the humor in both the good and the bad and learn to always see the good.

I am sure the meltdown was simply because she was tired. When they don't pin were they should use it as a teaching opportunity. Tell them that they need more 2 point as their legs were a bit wobbly, whether they were are not. Give them a goal and they will work to improve.

As a Mom it is hard to see the dissapointment in your childs eyes, no matter what the reason.

myalter1
May. 17, 2010, 10:29 AM
I'm sorry that your daughter had a meltdown. However, I agree with the poster who said that your defensive comments are akin to your 7 years old's tears. We all hurt when our kids are sad but come on, it does sound like you are part of the problem here.

My DD is almost 7 and showed over the weekend. She was 4th out of 6 in beginner rider walk trot. She was so happy. She said, 'look i beat those 2 big horses!' Then she and the big eq kids and mini eq kids, danced around by the horse trailer to music from their Ipod. Make it fun for your daughter. Sounds like there is already too much pressure.

You sound a lot like a mom I know. PLEASE try to read these posts from an objective, not defensive point of view. Your daughter will benefit from it, as will you.

trina1
May. 17, 2010, 10:30 AM
Great post - can someone give me some more pointers on how not to be one of those "bad" pony moms?

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:38 AM
One thing I would suggest is DO NOT give your daughter the option to decide not to show or ride any more because of one bad show (or two)..tell her after the next month, two months, whatever, but require her to "finish what she started". Don't let her think she can just up and quit something because it's not always blue ribbons and great fun or because she was disappointed. My daughter had plenty of "I wanna quit" moments-- and this likely won't be the last one you face-- but I made it clear that she could quit--AFTER the summer shows were over, but that when you commit to something, you see it through. Just like learning to lose, it is an important life lesson....and "suprisingly", my daughter never quit after the summer--she learned grit and determination instead of just giving up when everything didn't go her way.

As far as giving your daughter a reason she didn't win, why not simply suggest that maybe the other riders may have been at it longer than her...and if she keeps it up and works at it, she'll get just as good:yes:.

She a young kid, she's going to cry when she's upset, especially when she's tired after a big day and the disappointment hits her; as others said, just let her know you're proud of her and she should be proud of how well she did and of her good sportsmanship.


Thanks for your feedback and I do struggle with this question of whether or not she shows again. I am not sure what i think on that. I told her last night, she doesn't have to show but she can still love and ride horses - that plenty of people don't show, including me right now :) But I don't want her to end on a low note, I am a believer in not quitting just because something is hard. Maybe I will frame it to her as you said, that she should finish out the season and then she can decide? I just don't want to force her to do anything that she doesn't want to do, so what's the happy medium? That's what I'm struggling with.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:41 AM
I might have missed it if someone already asked this -- but who does she react when she loses a board game? Or a race between her and her brother? Or loses in Go Fish?

I realize that it's different because you aren't getting "judged" when you play those sorts of games, but it still teaches them that losing is a natural part of playing ANYTHING.

Unfortunately she is the type of kid who literally can't stand to lose and she will quit mid game if it looks like she's going to lose. It's bad I know ...I am struggling with how to deal with it. It drives her brother crazy :)

Same situation here, I don't want to let her "quit" because it's getting hard, but I also don't want her to be miserable. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do as a mom :confused:

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:42 AM
As both a trainer and a mom of a 10 year old, I do understand your post. It is tough when they are really good and get nothing and then turn around and do great the next weeekend when they really shouldn't...

I have to bite my tongue when the judge decides that diagonals do not matter in walk trot,:eek:. Then the next week, only gray ponies pin. I have seen it all. It all works out in the long run. My daughter at 8 got to the point were she could see the humor in both the good and the bad and learn to always see the good.

I am sure the meltdown was simply because she was tired. When they don't pin were they should use it as a teaching opportunity. Tell them that they need more 2 point as their legs were a bit wobbly, whether they were are not. Give them a goal and they will work to improve.

As a Mom it is hard to see the dissapointment in your childs eyes, no matter what the reason.

THANK YOU = THIS IS BANG ON AND WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR. I will absolutely do more to share with her about the subjectivity of judging and how to see the humor in it. Great post, thanks

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:42 AM
I didn't read all the posts, but I'll share what I told my girls very early on in their showing days.

There will be some shows where you do everything right but it seems the judge doesn't notice and you don't get what you deserve. There will also be shows where you do some things wrong but the judge doesn't notice and you get better than you deserve. Hopefully, those times times will be rare and they'll balance each other out - but they will definitely happen!

Great post, thanks

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:44 AM
I'm sorry that your daughter had a meltdown. However, I agree with the poster who said that your defensive comments are akin to your 7 years old's tears. We all hurt when our kids are sad but come on, it does sound like you are part of the problem here.

My DD is almost 7 and showed over the weekend. She was 4th out of 6 in beginner rider walk trot. She was so happy. She said, 'look i beat those 2 big horses!' Then she and the big eq kids and mini eq kids, danced around by the horse trailer to music from their Ipod. Make it fun for your daughter. Sounds like there is already too much pressure.

You sound a lot like a mom I know. PLEASE try to read these posts from an objective, not defensive point of view. Your daughter will benefit from it, as will you.
Ok I am getting great posts from people and I really appreciate it. I am curious since you all seem to know me so well...what about me is "the problem"?

I would never say the things I said in this post to her...i am saying it to impartial adults and she is never going to read this. I am very careful with everything I say to her to try to be encouraging and realistic. So, other than the fact that i am defensive when attacked, what exactly have i done to contribue to "the problem"? Just trying to learn here.

She is the youngest rider showing and she has no "friends" at the horse shows. The older girls are off doing their own thing. The adults are around and are great, and she had fun, as I said, at the show. The problem was at night, when exhaustion set in and she had time to really think about it. That's when she was upset. I simply talked to her about it, about what she was feeling and what she wanted to do. That's all. In what way did i contribute to her feeling badly about not getting better ribbons? I clapped and cheered for her 3rds and 4ths, proudly displayed her ribbons on my purse and later my car, and told her I was proud of her (and I WAS), that she rode soo sooo well, even better than last time. I told her the other girls were good, trainer and I talked about how good they were, how no one made mistakes and everyone had great heels and sat up straight. Told her her what she should work on next time, That's it.

For heavens sake people, I didn't drag her back to my car and yell at her for not getting a blue ribbon but you make me feel like I did!

findeight
May. 17, 2010, 10:45 AM
Especially at this age and point in her riding, you need to be very, very careful what you even allow yourself to think because it may slip out verbally. Kids that age latch on to things we don't intend just by our demeanor and body language. It's amazing sometimes.

Positive and upbeat...and you can say the judge liked the chestnut better the DDs bay because it was their favorite color or he liked the pink bows better then DDs blue ones if you cannot figure out anything else to offer. Heck, maybe the truth;) . But you cannot let your attitude project anything negative at all or DD will pick up on it.

Hard As$ about this? You betcha. Because I am sick of seeing it and it ruins the sport sometimes. Here is the worst example...

I once was waiting to jump around at a AA show with about 20 Childrens Pony kids exiting an adjacent ring after their flat and hearing the awards for their over fences. Little kid in pigtails just about to split her face in half waving her pretty yellow ribbon and hugging her Pony:D.

Mom of beaten child comes walking (waddling, actually, she was a big one), grabs that Pony's bridle and yells at that child she did not deserve it, her Pony was a piece of crap and she could not ride it.:o. First kid's mom rushes to her defense and the steward had to break it up. Large Pony Mom was subsequently thrown out of trainer's barn-and we are talking a Pony Finals veteran Mom here, not a beginner.

A later version would be a fairly well know trainer who cornered his smallish 12 year old daughter in the tackroom across the aisle from my stall because she was afraid to do a substantial Junior Jumper course on a still Green client horse-and I mean level 7 type JJ.

She was in tears and screaming and he had her in that corner telling her that was nothing compared to what he would deal out if she would not get on. She got on. Took a horrendous fall after taking back too much in front of a big triple. And Dear Old Dad stormed away from the ring as the gate man helped her get up and limp out.

Yeah, enough of that makes you a pretty hard at even a hint of that getting started. Kids will see enough of that from others. No hint must ever come from you.

NorthFaceFarm
May. 17, 2010, 10:46 AM
The judge yesterday also pinned a very lame QH 2nd out of 6 or so in a hunter under saddle class. And chose another lame one over better performing and sound animals in the short stirrup. Sooooooo I wouldn't put much stock in yesterday's results.

Phaxxton
May. 17, 2010, 10:50 AM
Well, how is she today?

Could she just have been overtired and had a little meltdown last night? Maybe this really isn't a huge deal or indicative of anything at all except that she's 7. Perhaps she just got a little sad last night that she didn't win again and today she'll be focused on something else...

I'm not sure I'd make a big deal out of this if she was fine at the show, fine immediately afterward, and just shed some tears at bedtime last night. If she's harping on it again today or in the future, then I think you have a lot of good advice here... but could this really have just been a short, little kid moment -- and not something indicating something deeper?

In one of your posts, you said this is her first losing experience... You mean at shows, right (of which she has done two)? She has to have lost at SOMETHING in her 7 years - a race, checkers, a board game, a spelling bee, SOMETHING. Even my 5 year old niece understands winning and losing games and learned at an early age that you win sometimes and you lose sometimes - No big deal. So I assume she has had some experience with losing at other things. How does she react then? If she keeps harping on this, perhaps you can draw parallels between this and when she has played, had fun, done her best, and still not "won." Maybe that will help her understand better -- sometimes you do your best and someone else does better. Some days you'll do better than someone else. That's just the way it goes.

Certainly, if showing isn't for her, then she doesn't have to show... but quitting just because you didn't win your second show ever would be a bad lesson and overreacting IMHO. (Sounds like you think the same thing..) It seems like she is having fun and just needs some more experience to learn that you win some, you lose some, but it's still fun. If it's just not FUN, well, then that's a different story. :yes:

Good luck... but I have a good feeling that she will be just fine. ;)

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:54 AM
The judge yesterday also pinned a very lame QH 2nd out of 6 or so in a hunter under saddle class. And chose another lame one over better performing and sound animals in the short stirrup. Sooooooo I wouldn't put much stock in yesterday's results.

Darn it Ashley, i didn't see you! I have to get the boots back to you :)

The judging wasn't great, but like everyone says, we're going to have great days, and not so great days, and that's what i need to impart to her.

MoonoverMississippi
May. 17, 2010, 10:55 AM
A hard part of being a good mom is making kids do what they don't "want" to do, but I look at it as their life is going to be full of such things, and they need to learn to stick to it. I know you don't want her to be one of those kids that quits riding because she loses, quits soccer because she loses, quits drama because she didn't get the part she wanted- I've seen those kids (related to a few) and it does carry on to adult life.

She loved riding until she didn't do as well as she expected, so I don't see it as forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do-- she just wants to avoid the part that hurt her feelings. You can make the rest of the shows fun in special ways- make sure she has friends to goof with, maybe a special lunch or a special morning routine with mom, and I wouldn't be suprised if she continues to want to show for all the fun moments (which is what it should be about anyway, IMHO). If she doesn't, she has learned to see things through to the end and to persevere through tough things, something that will serve her well in the future.

rabicon
May. 17, 2010, 10:57 AM
I think what people are saying, maybe I'm wrong but like I said in the second post. Let her deal with it. Don't offer excuses, if you don't know exactly what happend just let her know she did great and its now time to move on and try at the next show. Then leave her be. Let her cry, let her work it out on her own. She is old enough that she has her on feelings and you can listen to her all night long but don't make excuses for why she didn't place. Tell her thats showing and that she has to get use to it and let her cry. I know as moms we want to comfort and cuddle them but for them to grow and not become the child that always cries and gets mad we have to let them deal with their own feelings and learn how to control them. Also I agree that you shouldn't let her stop mid season. I don't let my daughter by no means stop, not even mid game. That needs to be nipped in the bud quick. If she is losing you make her finish the game and be hard.

NorthFaceFarm
May. 17, 2010, 10:57 AM
By the time I thought about the boots, I had to run to get to a lesson. It takes forever to drive in and out of that place in my little car and I didn't want to be late. I wanted to see your daughter go, but I did get to see the pony - very cute :) Just let me know the next time you're in my 'hood and we'll figure it out. I'm not in a huge hurry to get them back.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 10:59 AM
Well, how is she today?

Could she just have been overtired and had a little meltdown last night? Maybe this really isn't a huge deal or indicative of anything at all except that she's 7. Perhaps she just got a little sad last night that she didn't win again and today she'll be focused on something else...

I'm not sure I'd make a big deal out of this if she was fine at the show, fine immediately afterward, and just shed some tears at bedtime last night. If she's harping on it again today or in the future, then I think you have a lot of good advice here... but could this really have just been a short, little kid moment -- and not something indicating something deeper?

In one of your posts, you said this is her first losing experience... You mean at shows, right (of which she has done two)? She has to have lost at SOMETHING in her 7 years - a race, checkers, a board game, a spelling bee, SOMETHING. Even my 5 year old niece understands winning and losing games and learned at an early age that you win sometimes and you lose sometimes - No big deal. So I assume she has had some experience with losing at other things. How does she react then? If she keeps harping on this, perhaps you can draw parallels between this and when she has played, had fun, done her best, and still not "won." Maybe that will help her understand better -- sometimes you do your best and someone else does better. Some days you'll do better than someone else. That's just the way it goes.

Certainly, if showing isn't for her, then she doesn't have to show... but quitting just because you didn't win your second show ever would be a bad lesson and overreacting IMHO. (Sounds like you think the same thing..) It seems like she is having fun and just needs some more experience to learn that you win some, you lose some, but it's still fun. If it's just not FUN, well, then that's a different story. :yes:

Good luck... but I have a good feeling that she will be just fine. ;)


Thanks and i think you're probably right all around. This is a really hard issue for me to deal with since I'm a rider and a mom and so I have emotions on all sides. It is SO hard to see your little one upset. I had to deal with my son having a difficult baseball game the day before so we talked all weekend about not worrying about losing, or striking out, or getting thrown out. I thought we had prepared her enough and maybe she's fine. She came in this morning and said she didn't want to go to school because she didn't want anyone to ask how the show went. I told her if they do, "tell them that you did really well and had fun" and she agreed.

I think that honestly the defensiveness that you see in me is because I am so conscious of my behavior and my emotions and not letting them bother her. It was hard for me to see her get last in a walk class. Not easy, I'm sure it will get better with time but this is my second show too :D. But I am very careful to be positive around her, but at the same time, give her some explanation of why.

Sometimes, I feel that she is riding because of me, because she wants to be like me, and that is what breaks my heart. I know she loves ponies and loves to ride, but I'd hate to see her compare herself to me, i want her to enjoy it for what it is. I am very concious of the fact that I want her to want to ride for HER, not for ME, which is why i didn't even let her ride until she turned 6. When it came time to show, i said she just should go to one, and then decide if she likes it or not. Well of course she loved it, and wanted more, but now who knows. It's just not easy being a mom :)

KateWooten
May. 17, 2010, 11:06 AM
So, other than the fact that i am defensive when attacked, what exactly have i done to contribue to "the problem"? Just trying to learn here.

Are you trying to learn what you're contributing to the problem (if there is one) ? I suspect that might be a slightly sarcastic statement there, because you end the post with


For heavens sake people, I didn't drag her back to my car and yell at her for not getting a blue ribbon but you make me feel like I did!

You're not 'trying to learn what you're contributing to the problem here, and that's fine, but don't pretend you are, because it gets very confusing that way !

Here .. Here's some evidence of the problem showing up before it becomes a problem ...


Unfortunately my daughter is used to being the best at everything…..she will quit mid game if it looks like she's going to lose

You have to introduce her to failing, GENTLY ! i.e. at home, in the home environment. Not at a show with a stranger, the judge, in a position of authority, out in public, with people she doesn't know yet, but might be around for a while staring at her !

Why is she quitting games ? Here's your little red flag. Pick it p and run with it. Failure should not be avoided at its littlest, its least intimidating. If you do that, you're setting her up for a first time fail, in public, in a high stress environment.

Or of course, you could deal with it like my mom did. She never even went to a show, and I only went to three, cos that's all I could ride to on the borrowed pony with the saved birthday and christmas money. Despite your best efforts, you *might* be creating a perfect princess here.

rugbygirl
May. 17, 2010, 11:10 AM
Sounds like she had a fine time at the show, then got a little exhausted and it came out as "I don't like losing." I was an over-achieving little kid too, it was always infinitely worse if my blood sugar got low or I'd spent all day in the sun.

The one caution I might suggest, don't turn every little meltdown into "well you can just quit forever if you want?!" Which is what you say you did, however gently you put it.

From my perspective, that just tells the kid that her not winning was a big enough deal to make an earth-shattering decision! Quit showing! After one show?! Impart the message that this was one day of many, remind her of something she did great while you tuck her in, then let her deal.

Sometimes she won't have fun. Sometimes you might have a run of bad shows/lessons. Such is the way it is with kids. Don't offer her that easy out, "you can just quit, sweet pea." You might have to push from time to time, but she apparently chose horse showing as a hobby. It is wonderful that she has supportive parents who could afford to have her do that hobby, but the privelege comes with responsibilities. It's a hard-work sport. :) Getting up early to groom and braid, going to the barn and taking lessons, spending weekends at shows. I agree with the poster who said to set "completion" markers. Like finishing the season, then re-assessing. I bet she chooses to continue riding at the end of a season :)

You mention she has no friends who show, which is potential trouble. That's a lot of time kidlet is going to be spending alone with mom and trainer. See if you can arrange for her to go off with the other kids at the barn. Or just send her off with a responsible looking one. She'll get into the "kid culture" of showing and away from the inevitable "mom culture"...because as an adult you are going to subconciously be tallying what you spend and how her performance disappointed...and she needs you to be beaming with pride for her.

At seven, she really only cares what mom thinks. Trust me. You need to communicate to her about being a good winner and a good loser, and you may have to get harsh. It is tough to explain...she doesn't REALLY care about winning. That's not what makes her sad. She cares about impressing you...so you need to set a clear expectation for her behavior, and reward when she does well.

My parents never cared about winning games/prizes. They cared that I did my best and that I had a good attitude. I failed at the attitude part quite a few times. I got in trouble, and yes, I felt bad. It's what parents do :) My parents were thrilled for me when I won big awards and prizes, but if my attitude was bad, I still got in trouble!

ReSomething
May. 17, 2010, 11:11 AM
Well I am sorry, it is always distressing when your child is distressed, and sometimes we just need to hug them and let it go. We can't fix it for them, we can model good techniques for coping and that's about it.

This is what I might have done a little differently, when she cried so you said she didn't have to show any more, and she cried harder.
At that point you might have tried this - validate what she wants to do, which is show and win, by stating it - "You really want to still show, but you really want to win" -and then say "I'm so glad for you that you did so well at the last show but remember that we talked then about how you should be happy no matter how you placed", then you give her a goal, say to work just a little bit harder to be consistent in the arena, then you tell her that there will always just be times when she is not the best of the group, but that what matters is that she did the best she could do at the time.
I think you can introduce the concept of subjectivity simplistically right now, by saying that some judges like a nice clean pony more than anything, and others like a pretty rider, sometimes a judge is looking the other way when someone makes a mistake, something to that effect, then as she gets older you can get to the hard truths of "no palomino has ever pinned in the hunters" (LOL, sort of for that one).

I also agree that giving her the option to quit was not a good move. Little kids need boundaries to be set by us - kids need consistency and we need to provide that by not giving them too much wiggle room. She wants to show, then she shall show until the season is over, and you can make it a learning experience regarding preparation, patience, consistency, loss and (hopefully) reward.

Lucassb
May. 17, 2010, 11:12 AM
Ok I am getting great posts from people and I really appreciate it. I am curious since you all seem to know me so well...what about me is "the problem"?

I would never say the things I said in this post to her...i am saying it to impartial adults and she is never going to read this. I am very careful with everything I say to her to try to be encouraging and realistic. So, other than the fact that i am defensive when attacked, what exactly have i done to contribue to "the problem"? Just trying to learn here.

(snip)

For heavens sake people, I didn't drag her back to my car and yell at her for not getting a blue ribbon but you make me feel like I did!

I can only tell you what jumped out at me:

You continue to characterize the responses you didn't like as attacks, even though everyone has assured you that that is not the case. No one is accusing you of deliberately putting pressure on your daughter - there is no need to get so dramatic. We are just pointing out that you MAY be sending messages you are NOT AWARE of that might be contributing to the problem.

The way you talk about this class, it comes across as though you think it is Very Important. When you talk about how impressive the other riders were, etc ...it makes those of us who have been around shows for a long time see visions of the PonyMoms we know that Take It All Very Seriously, as F8 described.

The comments you've made about how competitive your DD is, how it's just the way she is, and how you struggle to know what to do when she quits anything she doesn't think she can win are very telling. That is not a personality trait, it's a behavior pattern and not a positive one.

Sometimes, as parents, we are obligated to do stuff that makes our kids unhappy for a short while, like telling them, "sorry, you win some and you lose some; keep working on those heels." They don't have to love those lessons, just learn them.

Sheila
May. 17, 2010, 11:12 AM
About your daughter quitting mid game when it looks like she is going to lose..that's troublesome. How is she going to handle life? What if a college course or a work situation is tough- is she going to quit? I think showing will be great for your daughter to build character and work thru different situations and how to handle them.

She should keep a journal- what was good about every class and what she feels could have been better. It will help her express herself before it gets to tears.

Her trainer could keep a poster board with shows listed on them and award stars or stickers on how well she thought she did- did she pat her pony after the class? was her tack cleaned before and after? how did she handle the day? did she talk to at least one other competitor and make friends with her- offer a compliment or at least say hi?

Her trainer could give end of month awards to the kids who did the best with "showmanship"- maybe take her out on a special trail ride or spend extra time with her at lunch...I don't know- just throwing out ideas.

make it more about the day and less about the ribbon.

DandyMatiz
May. 17, 2010, 11:20 AM
You mentioned that she doesn't like to lose at anything (who does), and can be a poor sport, so you have to nip this in the bud. One thing that may help, is regardless of whether she wins or loses, make a point to photo or video, and go over it with her trainer on what can be improved.

rugbygirl
May. 17, 2010, 11:21 AM
And on the topic of subjective judging...

My mom had me start public speaking when I was four years old, turning five. Talk about subjective...you stand up, recite a silly kids' poem, and the judge has to decide which lispy four year old voice was "better."

I used to HATE losing. Because my mother is the most competitive person I know, even at four, I knew that she wanted me to win. I didn't care what colour my certificate was (you don't get ribbons in public speaking) I cared that my mom might not be proud of me. And I did my best!!

In one memorable event, I was beaten by a girl who used HAND GESTURES in her poem. I didn't have hand gestures! I was floored. I picked that out as being the reason she won. Clearly I needed hand gestures next year. My mom questioned me about what I could do better after I had my cry in the car, and I emphatically said HAND GESTURES! She kind of laughed and said "ok, next year we'll work on that." She knew why I lost, which was much more likely the fact that I sped through the second stanza because I usually forgot the words to that one.

Ask HER what she thought she needed to do better, and offer suggestions only if she can't come up with something. It is ridiculous sometimes what a kid thinks they "need" to win. But help out where you can, with small things like that. She thinks she needs a cleaner pony, help her work on that next time.

Phaxxton
May. 17, 2010, 11:27 AM
You mentioned that she doesn't like to lose at anything (who does), and can be a poor sport, so you have to nip this in the bud. One thing that may help, is regardless of whether she wins or loses, make a point to photo or video, and go over it with her trainer on what can be improved.

As someone who was "afraid" of losing as a kid, I think this would have made my aversion to losing worse. What would have been better (for me anyway) would have been for losing not to be such a big deal and to focus on personal achievements -- i.e., this round I'm going to focus on a great crest release over every fencr or this round, I'm going to keep my lower leg still at the trot. Maybe making that the focus for your DD would help. Then any wins on top of that would be the icing on the cake.

I am pretty competitive (have gotten more relaxed as I get older, but was extremely competitive when I was younger), and I just needed to learn that sports and competing are fun when you win and fun when you lose. It helped for me to participate in team sports where you win and lose together -- that helped me carry that over to individual sports like riding, where I felt even more "pressure" to win. FWIW, NONE of this pressure came from my parents. I was just an intense and self-conscious little kid. :lol:

poltroon
May. 17, 2010, 11:37 AM
You can also talk about losing as a form of sharing - that sometimes the other kid gets a turn to win. That just as you don't like to lose all the time, none of them do either, and if the only people who showed were the people who won all the time, every class would have only one rider.

EqTrainer
May. 17, 2010, 11:41 AM
I disagree w/video taping her ride and analyzing it. What I might do instead is show her a tape of a top hunter riders round that got a ... yellow ribbon. I had to do this with a friends daughter who was starting to think her mom needed to buy her a fancier horse so she could get better ribbons... ha ha, seeing Jessica Springsteen not get a blue on her fancy horse and perfect round straightened her right out!

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 11:51 AM
You can also talk about losing as a form of sharing - that sometimes the other kid gets a turn to win. That just as you don't like to lose all the time, none of them do either, and if the only people who showed were the people who won all the time, every class would have only one rider.

Great idea, thanks!

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 11:55 AM
About your daughter quitting mid game when it looks like she is going to lose..that's troublesome. How is she going to handle life? What if a college course or a work situation is tough- is she going to quit? I think showing will be great for your daughter to build character and work thru different situations and how to handle them.

She should keep a journal- what was good about every class and what she feels could have been better. It will help her express herself before it gets to tears.

Her trainer could keep a poster board with shows listed on them and award stars or stickers on how well she thought she did- did she pat her pony after the class? was her tack cleaned before and after? how did she handle the day? did she talk to at least one other competitor and make friends with her- offer a compliment or at least say hi?

Her trainer could give end of month awards to the kids who did the best with "showmanship"- maybe take her out on a special trail ride or spend extra time with her at lunch...I don't know- just throwing out ideas.

make it more about the day and less about the ribbon.


Once again, she's a competitive kid. I am not in favor of her quitting when she is about to lose :lol: but if she and her brother are playing a game, that is what she'll do, and he'll get mad (rightfully so) and it will end in a fight - such is the life with kids. I absolutely want her to get past this need to win, just want to do it delicately so she continues riding but doesn't feel forced. Make sense?

thanks for the feedback on offering the choice to quit...she is the one who said "maybe I want to quit" and I said she could if she wanted, or she could take a break". I just am very careful not to push her because it's "my" thing. That's why I am hyper sensitive on everyone's assertions that I'm a horrible pony mom. I have bent over backwards not to force her into riding so I guess I was quick to give her an out because of this same feeling. Thanks for the insight.

lcw579
May. 17, 2010, 11:58 AM
Unfortunately she is the type of kid who literally can't stand to lose and she will quit mid game if it looks like she's going to lose. It's bad I know ...I am struggling with how to deal with it. It drives her brother crazy :)

Same situation here, I don't want to let her "quit" because it's getting hard, but I also don't want her to be miserable. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do as a mom :confused:

I have 3 daughters - all uber competitive in their own way so I know what I am talking about. I am not attacking merely asking a question and offering some advice.

Why would you let her quit a game when she is losing? That is totally unacceptable behavior and should have been stopped as soon as it reared its ugly head. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to lose gracefully. Nothing worse than watching kids of all ages break down in tears because they didn't win the raffle at the fair or got beat in a game. Believe me when I tell you that the other children notice and frown on this type of behavior.

As for not pinning well, just tell her the other children rode better that day. Whether you think so or not, the judge clearly did and that is whose opinion matters. Teach your daughter that tomorrow is another day and the sky is not going to fall because she didn't win. Trying her best, having fun and being a good sport all the way through the day are what matters.

Kids breakdown at bedtime. Best to offer a word or two of comfort, get your message across and leave them to wallow. Offering tea and sympathy only prolongs the agony. Lack of an audience usually shuts down the show. Sometimes it is okay as a mom to let your kid be miserable. In fact, sometimes it is the right decision to make. No reason to softsoap anything.

I am a hardass when it comes to tears over this kind of thing. I have no problem telling my kid she was riding like a monkey and was lucky she didn't fall off. My mother didn't tolerate that kind of behaviour and I won't either. I hate the fact that kids today are never given the opportunity to lose. Trophies for everyone all the time, no winners in the grade school science fairs, we are doing our children a great disservice.

twhs
May. 17, 2010, 12:00 PM
Is it her pony or a lesson pony? If it's her pony, does she love her pony? And did she have fun riding the pony? If the answers to the last two questions are "Yes" then winning a ribbon -- getting validation from someone else -- is not important. Sorry, but all ages from youngest to oldest plus trainers need to remember this. When you enter a sport with subjective judging you need to keep this in mind.

Last year, my then 8 year old granddaughter kept a journal detailing the experiences she had with her pony. I provided the photographs and we did the journal up using MS Publisher. Came to over 100 pages and was quite a learning experience for everyone.

At one show, where she expected blues (because she had blues in previous show) and got other colors instead, she smiled graciously in the ring but cried buckets to her parents. Later in her journal, she wrote something to the effect that it was ok to be confident but not ok to be cocky and that she'd learned not to count her chickens before they were hatched and that the most important part of the show was the fun she had with her pony and not the ribbons.

Truthfully, tho the ribbons are fun. There's a lot of anticipation and anxiety connected with shows and a release of emotions afterward. Tears and disappointment are normal and part of life. Your child's keeping a journal with drawings & writing & your photos might be a nice way for her to vent and learn from her experiences.

For now you and your daughter need to decide if you'll re-visit the show ring. Or, maybe other types of riding and experiences would be a better. No one likes to see their kid get their feelings hurt. We usually plan something fun to do with the pony after the show -- something to look forward. After yesterday's show for example we took a short trail ride and watched mama & papa ducks swim around in the pond with their babies.

There's nothing wrong with taking a breather.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 12:04 PM
Is it her pony or a lesson pony? If it's her pony, does she love her pony? And did she have fun riding the pony? If the answers to the last two questions are "Yes" then winning a ribbon -- getting validation from someone else -- is not important. Sorry, but all ages from youngest to oldest plus trainers need to remember this. When you enter a sport with subjective judging you need to keep this in mind.

Last year, my then 8 year old granddaughter kept a journal detailing the experiences she had with her pony. I provided the photographs and we did the journal up using MS Publisher. Came to over 100 pages and was quite a learning experience for everyone.

At one show, where she expected blues (because she had blues in previous show) and got other colors instead, she smiled graciously in the ring but cried buckets to her parents. Later in her journal, she wrote something to the effect that it was ok to be confident but not ok to be cocky and that she'd learned not to count her chickens before they were hatched and that the most important part of the show was the fun she had with her pony and not the ribbons.

Truthfully, tho the ribbons are fun. There's a lot of anticipation and anxiety connected with shows and a release of emotions afterward. Tears and disappointment are normal and part of life. Your child's keeping a journal with drawings & writing & your photos might be a nice way for her to vent and learn from her experiences.

For now you and your daughter need to decide if you'll re-visit the show ring. Or, maybe other types of riding and experiences would be a better. No one likes to see their kid get their feelings hurt. We usually plan something fun to do with the pony after the show -- something to look forward. After yesterday's show for example we took a short trail ride and watched mama & papa ducks swim around in the pond with their babies.

There's nothing wrong with taking a breather.

It is a lesson pony but it's the only one she rides (there are no other lesson ponies :)) and she absolutely loves her. I like the journal idea. She already has a pony journal, maybe I'll remind her to use it.

Roser123
May. 17, 2010, 12:07 PM
Another thing to remember is that as Moms, we're always teaching and we really have to sieze all those little teachable momments. For example, as you're returning to the barn and someone asks, "How'd it go?" you say, "It was great -she was nice and steady and stayed focused." - No mention of awards unless they ask specifically. That way, you're reinforcing to your daughter that the important thing was how she rode, not what ribbon she won - whether it was good or bad. Believe me, there will be times that she rides like crap and wins because the other riders were crappier!
Also - small classes are tough - I might say, "I feel sorry for the judge - he had a hard job today - you were all so good; in fact, I'll bet even if there were 50 kids in that class, you still would have placed in the top 4. Good job, honey!" As an aside - I have to say that this age group/level is really tough on the Moms on the rail - it's SO subjective.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 12:19 PM
Another thing to remember is that as Moms, we're always teaching and we really have to sieze all those little teachable momments. For example, as you're returning to the barn and someone asks, "How'd it go?" you say, "It was great -she was nice and steady and stayed focused." - No mention of awards unless they ask specifically. That way, you're reinforcing to your daughter that the important thing was how she rode, not what ribbon she won - whether it was good or bad. Believe me, there will be times that she rides like crap and wins because the other riders were crappier!
Also - small classes are tough - I might say, "I feel sorry for the judge - he had a hard job today - you were all so good; in fact, I'll bet even if there were 50 kids in that class, you still would have placed in the top 4. Good job, honey!" As an aside - I have to say that this age group/level is really tough on the Moms on the rail - it's SO subjective.



Thanks for the advice! The walk class is the worst of all because it's basically a beauty contest (based on correct position of course), but there's no opportunity to separate yourself but either making mistakes or not making them :) It is a tough division to judge for sure!

Haalter
May. 17, 2010, 12:32 PM
Why would you let her quit a game when she is losing? That is totally unacceptable behavior and should have been stopped as soon as it reared its ugly head. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to lose gracefully. Nothing worse than watching kids of all ages break down in tears because they didn't win the raffle at the fair or got beat in a game. Believe me when I tell you that the other children notice and frown on this type of behavior.

<snip>

I am a hardass when it comes to tears over this kind of thing. I have no problem telling my kid she was riding like a monkey and was lucky she didn't fall off. My mother didn't tolerate that kind of behaviour and I won't either. I hate the fact that kids today are never given the opportunity to lose. Trophies for everyone all the time, no winners in the grade school science fairs, we are doing our children a great disservice.
Great post, LCW, and I totally agree. As a child, I was very competitive and prone to being a sore loser long before I ever sat on a horse. My parents didn't tolerate this AT ALL, placing more emphasis on good sportsmanship than winning. Watching them fawn over my far-more-gracious but far-less-competitive brother, and watching him have more fun playing despite any competitve outcome put me straight pretty quickly.

Findeight, those stories are horrifying. I would like to make a rule change proposal: can we require that all short stirrup and crossrail moms take a valium upon arriving at the showgrounds?

RockinHorse
May. 17, 2010, 12:47 PM
She is not a "spoiled brat" but she is just not used to being judged and has never had a "losing" experience before at a competitive event. She said last night she wanted to quit riding, or quit showing and everytime I said, that was fine, she would cry harder saying she really wants to ride and she wants to show. :confused: And then she said "I just wish that there didn't have to be winners and losers".



IMO, when she says she wants to quit riding, maybe you should not say that is fine because that makes it seem like not winning is a horrible enough occurance to warrent never riding again. That may have been part of the reason she cried harder.

This may sound harsh but if your daughter has not learned how to lose, she should not be showing yet.

RockinHorse
May. 17, 2010, 12:48 PM
Findeight, those stories are horrifying. I would like to make a rule change proposal: can we require that all short stirrup and crossrail moms take a valium upon arriving at the showgrounds?


Okay, now I think you are on to something :D.

Trakehner
May. 17, 2010, 12:48 PM
"...And then she said "I just wish that there didn't have to be winners and losers"."

Woohoo! Modern parenting and Political Correctness poison another kid.

Little Johnny is lazy, rather stupid and a general dolt...Little Johnny's mother hates her son isn't class valedictorian, "it's so unfair, all the children should place first!" Johnny's mom mews, even her mouth-breathing blob of a son.

Sarah weighs 150 pounds, rarely moves off the couch and never met a Twinkie she didn't like...she can't run a bath much less a 100 yard dash. Her mother whines, "But she tries and Sarah just isn't as athletic as the other girls, but she's got a lovely personality! She shouldn't be last, it's just so unfair and it makes her unhappy!"

Oh no, kids being unhappy, not being first and being told, "too bad, you lost today, suck it up kid". At 7, a kid is old enough to not always be queen.

Not every kid is a winner. Some kids are ugly, some fat, many untalented...some kids have horrid personalities and require a pork chop hung around their necks for the dog to play with them. If a kid doesn't want to lose, then ride horses for fun, go trail riding, just take lessons and don't enter shows. If a kid is that delicate, wait till life smacks em' in the face.

tidy rabbit
May. 17, 2010, 12:55 PM
The comments you've made about how competitive your DD is, how it's just the way she is, and how you struggle to know what to do when she quits anything she doesn't think she can win are very telling. That is not a personality trait, it's a behavior pattern and not a positive one.


The thing that stands out is saying that she is ubber competitive but that she'll quit 1/2 way through if she isn't going to win. That's not being a competitor.

Maybe it's time for the old "winners never quit and quitters never win" speech?

Go Fish
May. 17, 2010, 12:57 PM
Boy, I dunno. She may be only 7 but she obviously understands winning and losing...

I often hear and witness stories like this and wonder. I see childrens' organized sports (soccer, baseball, etc.) where there are no "losers." Everybody's a winner! Sheesh...at some of the games they don't even keep score. Not a bad thing, I suppose. But the kids never experience what it's like to be on the losing end of things.

I would think she's old enough to understand the concept of sportsmanship. It not fun to lose and everyone does it at one point or another. It's okay to feel bad about it. But you put on your game face, be polite, congratulate your competitors, and try harder next time.

I would be fine with her crying and being upset about losing. It will get better over time. Encourage her to keep trying...work harder. I don't think I'd let her quit at this point. Quitters never win.

Hang in there...;)

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 12:59 PM
IMO, when she says she wants to quit riding, maybe you should not say that is fine because that makes it seem like not winning is a horrible enough occurance to warrent never riding again. That may have been part of the reason she cried harder.

This may sound harsh but if your daughter has not learned how to lose, she should not be showing yet.

You absolutely have a point. The problem is that we have started and she has to learn somewhere doesn't she? She has participated in a gymnastics meet which she was 2nd in her age group, and overjoyed to be 2nd, and she is not always the winner in school, so sure she knows how to lose, but not at something she cares as deeply about as riding. You are absolutely right about telling her she can quit. I was trying not to be pushy horse show mom, but I do see that was the wrong thing to say. I guess I also knew that she wouldn't actually quit so I felt there was no harm saying it, but I totally agre with you on that one, probably made it worse. Thanks for your thoughts.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 01:01 PM
Boy, I dunno. She may be only 7 but she obviously understands winning and losing...

I often hear and witness stories like this and wonder. I see childrens' organized sports (soccer, baseball, etc.) where there are no "losers." Everybody's a winner! Sheesh...at some of the games they don't even keep score. Not a bad thing, I suppose. But the kids never experience what it's like to be on the losing end of things.

I would think she's old enough to understand the concept of sportsmanship. It not fun to lose and everyone does it at one point or another. It's okay to feel bad about it. But you put on your game face, be polite, congratulate your competitors, and try harder next time.

I would be fine with her crying and being upset about losing. It will get better over time. Encourage her to keep trying...work harder. I don't think I'd let her quit at this point. Quitters never win.

Hang in there...;)

Great post, i love your "quitters never win"...I will use that :)

rabicon
May. 17, 2010, 01:02 PM
Trak that was brutal and blunt, but I have to agree. I can't stand when my daughter plays ball and they lose game after game and the coach just says good job and thats it :mad: You put the positive with the negative. Pick out something postitive and then correct them on what they did wrong. I also hate that some places have lead line and everybody gets 1st. I think even at the lead line stages they should be learning about not everyone gets 1st. There are winners and losers and sometimes we need to fight harder to get there.

lcw579
May. 17, 2010, 01:08 PM
Trakehner! LOL! Have you been to my children's school district?! I'm the evil mother because I don't think is should be "All about the Children" all the time.:rolleyes:

Best thing that happened to middle daughter who everything comes easily to was when she didn't make the softball team. We mentioned she might want to start practicing but she ignored us and for the first time in her life didn't make a team. She was sad for a bit - older sister was blunt and delivered the I told you so's for all of us - and life went on. Next year? You can bet your ass she'll be out there practicing!

dizzywriter
May. 17, 2010, 01:14 PM
what about me is "the problem"?



Let me tell you about problems...

Meliora
May. 17, 2010, 01:24 PM
Hi There,
I admit that I did not read ALL of these threads...but I read most of them. I am a trainer, but not a mom (so take my advise for what it is worth). I make sure that my kids know that showing is just part of the journey. You win some, and some are growth experiences. For a child, being upset is a natural response...but this is all just growth happening. Physical growing pains hurt, and emotional growing pains are just as tough. Everyone has a different path with horses (and life), and showing is just one path. We do our best every day, smile with our sucesses, and asses our failures. Learn and move to the next experience. Sometimes all that we learn is that it wasn't our day to win. We can still be happy for the person that did win. That's a great lesson to learn...it is not easy, but nothing worth while ever is. Just remember life lessons and growth are great, just not easy:-)

Shrunk "N" Da Wash
May. 17, 2010, 01:26 PM
I would just say you better win or I won't love you anymore :lol:

sarcam02
May. 17, 2010, 01:41 PM
I would just say you better win or I won't love you anymore :lol:

Funny!!
:yes:

Seriously though - judging is so very subjective and you can get very different results from one show to the next. I try to teach my girls to focus on what they can control and in doing their personal best. I am thrilled with a great ride when I can see that they are thinking out there.

When they start getting caught up in points and who has the fanciest pony etc - it's time for a break.

RugBug
May. 17, 2010, 01:43 PM
I showed her a picture this morning that a friend took which was realy cute...the first thing she said was "ugh my heels"...so she knows - and feels better this morning I think.

Mayaty, I haven't finished the thread, but based on this comment (and a few others) it sounds like you have a perfectionist for a daughter. That can be a wonderful thing as she will have the drive to try hard on her own. BUT, as a mom it's going to be your job to temper that perfectionism. If you don't she will struggle with never feeling good enough and never being satisfied....and not because YOU are telling her she's not good enough...but because she's telling herself. Get that picture out again and make her point out what she is doing right as well how her heels aren't down enough. You might even make sure she can pick out one positive for every "negative" she sees. Perfectionists can get too caught up in what needs to be better and never see what was good about the situation. You get to teach her that. :winkgrin:

I wouldn't try to justify the placings by discussing how the others where better. IMO, that just opens the door to disappointment when she is the best and still doesn't win. We all know that happens. In 7-year old terms, Have her talk about what she liked about her ride. Have her tell you what she didn't like. Have her tell you what she might do next time to fix what she didn't like. And then remind her that even if she fixes what she didn't like, she still may not win. That way, you are giving HER the control over her ride and how she feels she did, rather than an external force like the judge. It's really hard for perfectionists to not feel like they can control something through hard work. But the fact of the matter is, they can never control an external force and when/if that external force lets them down, it can be devasting. Learning to realistically evaluate the positives and negatives from an internal perspective is key for a perfectionist.

Hope that makes some sense. And BTW, I don't think you're "that" horse show mom. ;)

lesyl
May. 17, 2010, 01:51 PM
Mayaty, I haven't finished the thread, but based on this comment (and a few others) it sounds like you have a perfectionist for a daughter. That can be a wonderful thing as she will have the drive to try hard on her own. BUT, as a mom it's going to be your job to temper that perfectionism. If you don't she will struggle with never feeling good enough and never being satisfied....and not because YOU are telling her she's not good enough...but because she's telling herself. Get that picture out again and make her point out what she is doing right as well how her heels aren't down enough. You might even make sure she can pick out one positive for every "negative" she sees. Perfectionists can get too caught up in what needs to be better and never see what was good about the situation. You get to teach her that. :winkgrin:

I wouldn't try to justify the placings by discussing how the others where better. IMO, that just opens the door to disappointment when she is the best and still doesn't win. We all know that happens. In 7-year old terms, Have her talk about what she liked about her ride. Have her tell you what she didn't like. Have her tell you what she might do next time to fix what she didn't like. And then remind her that even if she fixes what she didn't like, she still may not win. That way, you are giving HER the control over her ride and how she feels she did, rather than an external force like the judge. It's really hard for perfectionists to not feel like they can control something through hard work. But the fact of the matter is, they can never control an external force and when/if that external force lets them down, it can be devasting. Learning to realistically evaluate the positives and negatives from an internal perspective is key for a perfectionist.

Hope that makes some sense. And BTW, I don't think you're "that" horse show mom. ;)

RugBug -

Those are great comments about how to deal with the internal perfectionist I have and also having a child who is a perfectionist.

It is always a work in process it seems and being the right parent for your child is a tough job.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 01:53 PM
Mayaty, I haven't finished the thread, but based on this comment (and a few others) it sounds like you have a perfectionist for a daughter. That can be a wonderful thing as she will have the drive to try hard on her own. BUT, as a mom it's going to be your job to temper that perfectionism. If you don't she will struggle with never feeling good enough and never being satisfied....and not because YOU are telling her she's not good enough...but because she's telling herself. Get that picture out again and make her point out what she is doing right as well how her heels aren't down enough. You might even make sure she can pick out one positive for every "negative" she sees. Perfectionists can get too caught up in what needs to be better and never see what was good about the situation. You get to teach her that. :winkgrin:

I wouldn't try to justify the placings by discussing how the others where better. IMO, that just opens the door to disappointment when she is the best and still doesn't win. We all know that happens. In 7-year old terms, Have her talk about what she liked about her ride. Have her tell you what she didn't like. Have her tell you what she might do next time to fix what she didn't like. And then remind her that even if she fixes what she didn't like, she still may not win. That way, you are giving HER the control over her ride and how she feels she did, rather than an external force like the judge. It's really hard for perfectionists to not feel like they can control something through hard work. But the fact of the matter is, they can never control an external force and when/if that external force lets them down, it can be devasting. Learning to realistically evaluate the positives and negatives from an internal perspective is key for a perfectionist.

Hope that makes some sense. And BTW, I don't think you're "that" horse show mom. ;)

Thanks rugbug, and you have made some excellent points. I was just looking at that pic again and noting to myself how tall she was sitting and she was looking straight ahead which can be a problem for her, and that i should show it to her again and point that out.

Yes she is absolutely a perfectionist and I need to make sure i temper that and don't add to it. Thanks again for the post.

ETA and your point about it being hard to accept that you do your best and still don't win, that's dead on and how she will be, so I definitely need to be careful of how I comment on the other girls.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 02:02 PM
Well I am sorry, it is always distressing when your child is distressed, and sometimes we just need to hug them and let it go. We can't fix it for them, we can model good techniques for coping and that's about it.

This is what I might have done a little differently, when she cried so you said she didn't have to show any more, and she cried harder.
At that point you might have tried this - validate what she wants to do, which is show and win, by stating it - "You really want to still show, but you really want to win" -and then say "I'm so glad for you that you did so well at the last show but remember that we talked then about how you should be happy no matter how you placed", then you give her a goal, say to work just a little bit harder to be consistent in the arena, then you tell her that there will always just be times when she is not the best of the group, but that what matters is that she did the best she could do at the time.
I think you can introduce the concept of subjectivity simplistically right now, by saying that some judges like a nice clean pony more than anything, and others like a pretty rider, sometimes a judge is looking the other way when someone makes a mistake, something to that effect, then as she gets older you can get to the hard truths of "no palomino has ever pinned in the hunters" (LOL, sort of for that one).

I also agree that giving her the option to quit was not a good move. Little kids need boundaries to be set by us - kids need consistency and we need to provide that by not giving them too much wiggle room. She wants to show, then she shall show until the season is over, and you can make it a learning experience regarding preparation, patience, consistency, loss and (hopefully) reward.

I missed this post earlier in my huff about being picked on :D Thank you, you're dead on and that is how i should have phrased it to her. See, some of you folks are very helpful! I appreciate that.

HRF Second Chance
May. 17, 2010, 02:14 PM
I'm older and I'm a perfectionist when I ride. Especially in front of people I respect which eventually leads to my undoing. I worry so much about making it perfect that I force myself and my mount into something instead of letting it happen naturally.

And that's where the frustrations come in. And the occasional crying jag. Sometimes on horseback, but mostly at home by myself.

The most important thing I was ever told by a trainer was "Let you and the horse make mistakes. How on earth will you ever learn otherwise!" It sunk in, I let the horse make mistakes and shockingly enough everything worked out better!

So let her make some mistakes and let her know its okay to make them! She'll have to walk that path alone though to realize the importance!

NE_Rider
May. 17, 2010, 02:32 PM
I'm not only a trainer, but a mom of a rider as well. When my little one was little, she bawled at one show because she got a blue ribbon when she wanted the pink one! Your daughter will be fine.

I had to comment on this....when I was little, I would be upset that my sister got pink ribbons and I got blue...LOL!!!

For the OP, I did not read all the posts, but did read some, and I think there has been very good advice given!!! I won't bother repeating it ;).

I do not have kids, but I sure do remember being a kid ;) (yes, it is getting farther and farther away LOL). I did very well showing as a kid, and my Mom stressed the enjoyment of the activities, not the ribbons (in fact, as soon as I rode out of the ring, she would take my ribbon, roll it up into a tight ball, and stuff it in her pocket). I was never praised any more for being first, than I was for being last.

If I did not win the class, I walked over an congratulated the winner--if I won and others congratulated me, I said "thank you." I know this seems like common sense, but it scary these days what people think "sportsmanship" is.

Whether I was first or last, the day ended the same...I had fun with my friends.

There will be frustrating times whenever we subject ourselves to someone's opinion (judging). Years ago at one show, the judge fell asleep during the class! That falls under the category of "crap happens" :cool:. Even if your daughter is the "best" at a particular show, it still does not mean she will win. If she keeps showing, she will learn this, but with a good mom such as yourself, she will also learn that she is only riding for herself, not anyone else....if she rides well and knows it, that is a better felling than ANY ribbon.

HRF Second Chance
May. 17, 2010, 02:46 PM
I
There will be frustrating times whenever we subject ourselves to someone's opinion (judging). Years ago at one show, the judge fell asleep during the class! That falls under the category of "crap happens" :cool:. Even if your daughter is the "best" at a particular show, it still does not mean she will win. If she keeps showing, she will learn this, but with a good mom such as yourself, she will also learn that she is only riding for herself, not anyone else....if she rides well and knows it, that is a better felling than ANY ribbon.

Are we sure they didn't just pass out?! :lol: That's pretty sad.

gottagrey
May. 17, 2010, 02:58 PM
Sometimes the worst that can happen at a show is to do so well at the beginning of one's showing career no matter if you are 7, 17, 27 or 47...

One of my favorite riding quotes is from Karen O'Connor. In her book Life in the Galloping Lane

" It's a short flight from the top to the bottom and I've had a lot of roundtrips"

It's hard for young kids, who like your daughter, always try to do their best. My niece is the same way - very studious always A's in school. When she started riding she burst into tears after her 2nd lesson because she didn't know how to Figure 8 a bridle and put her pony's blanket on - both tall orders for a 7 y/r walk trot lesson session. She didn't even want to go back but I said I would meet her there and help her- something the instructors didn't think was their job - like what 7 year old new to riding knows how to Fig 8 bridles.But I digress as that's another thread.

You might want to get a copy of Life in the Galloping Lane -it might be too mature a book for your daughter at her present age but might be something you could share reading together? The book talks a lot about the ups and downs of competition - and the best is that everyone has good days and bad days and especially when it comes to horses.

Look at the Preakness - Supersave wins the Kentucky Derby but comes in 6th at the Preakness. Most jockey's and top riders will say today was just not their [horse's] day.

Also one has to remember that the differentiators can be very small... like Ice skating or gymnastics - sometimes you lose by hundredths of a second.

Just saw the quote about winners and losers above... another good quote was from a show mom who said the wonderful thing about showing horses is really there are no losers only winners...

You might also check out It's not Just about the ribbons book

barka.lounger
May. 17, 2010, 03:00 PM
bar.ka here

judge fall asl.eep becau.se whatever pre-short stirrup is must b boring as hell.

u put that little girl in pony jumpers. tea.ch wee one to ride like million dollars. she not have to worry about judge who so bored it sleeps on job.

scr.ew them hunters

c.harrison1
May. 17, 2010, 03:10 PM
barka, you're the best!

NE_Rider
May. 17, 2010, 03:16 PM
judge fall asl.eep becau.se whatever pre-short stirrup is must b boring as hell.FYI, it was short stirrup, not pre-short stirrup :sleepy:... LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for that oh so wonderful laugh :).



u put that little girl in pony jumpers. tea.ch wee one to ride like million dollars. she not have to worry about judge who so bored it sleeps on job.I completely agree with this!!!! Go to something that is not up to anyone's opinion, just cold hard facts!!!! I haven't shown for years, thinking about showing again (dressage this time, showed hunters as a kid), but still would love to do some jumpers some day.


barka, you're the best!

Ditto :yes:.

Sport
May. 17, 2010, 03:22 PM
I have to say, that I absolutely hate when there are less people in a class than ribbons, because someone always comes last. When there are 8 people and 6 ribbons, then you are never the last one that is out of the ring. I am saying this as an adult, that still does not like to know that I came in dead last in a class of 4. When there are 8 people I can convince myself that I was 7th and not 8th. :-)

I think these low level classes are hard on everyone. Judging is very subjective at the best of times, but at this level it is even worse.

I think you may be overthinking the situation, but everyone who loves the little one's has likely been guilty of that at one point. Sometimes what is a catastrophe this minute is no longer a problem 15 minutes from now.

Your daughter behaved well at the show and waited until bed time to express her disappointment with the day. I think you must be doing something right, or she would have just had a fit at the show about not winning.

danceronice
May. 17, 2010, 03:25 PM
I think I have a different perspective, as I've never stopped wanting to win and I still drop something if I'm no better than adequate (really, I don't see the point of wasting money to goof around--that's why I dance, not skate.)

I have learned a bit about subjective judging and controlling my reaction to losing from doing dancesport, and I'll tell you one thing my pros do that is different from my parents and trainers when I was showing as a kid that I think is much, much better--they will NEVER say "You did X, Y, and Z and that's why so-and-so won" at a comp. EVER. At the absolute most I'll get a laugh and 'What was THAT?" Partially, yes, it's because they're out thetr with me and therefore couldn't see my competition, but they also know I'm pissed off, they know in some way (just like with the horse) I already have a pretty good idea what issues I have with things, and there's really no time or point to go into any detail. I really wish my parents and riding trainers had just let me be pissed off about losing, instead of pulling the "Well, you did this, and they did that, and they were better." Don't want to hear it, not the right time to hear it, not going to listen, and it DOES make a person want to quit. Let it go until the next lesson, and then work on what needs fixing without comment on placings.

And I completely disagree that a person should be taught to never quit. Two shows where the results were fairly even on average is not the time--but at some point people have to learn about the law of diminishing returns. If you NEVER win and NEVER improve, you really should start wonder what you're doing there. Unless you ADORE the activity and competing part and just absolutely don't care that you're not any good in ANY judge's opinion, why keep doing something if EVERY judge you meet thinks you're awful? I quit dancing Standard because over a year of lessons and competing and I never placed better than sixth of seven. Didn't matter who the competition was, where it was, who the panel of judges were, I came in last. At that point, I quit. All I would have needed was some sign of improvement--fourth instead of fifth at the last comp would have been enough--but an entire year of miserable competitions and ending up in the same place at the same level? That's a sign it's not something I have any talent for and I shouldn't waste my time or money. If you never improve, it IS time to think of quitting. Though obviously you have to have a much larger sample size than two shows.

Go Fish
May. 17, 2010, 03:29 PM
Great post, i love your "quitters never win"...I will use that :)

I'd also like to add that at 7, she understands the win/lose part. But she probably doesn't understand how the game is played. I think she's just too young to process that. That's your job. As she participates more and receives encouragement from you/trainer on what she accomplishes, she'll understand the big picture.

I think it's great, actually, that she wants to win. Hell, maybe she's a future Olympic rider! :D

Despite what others have said, I don't think this is a big deal. Sounds like a perfectly normal reaction from a 7-year-old child who did well at the first show, and not so good at the second. Her reaction tells me she doesn't understand what happened. Keep encouraging her to ride...sounds to me like it's very important to her and she'll figure it out as she gains more experience.

Hope you have a big checkbook!

dizzywriter
May. 17, 2010, 03:47 PM
The only times I've ever shown was to be the designated loser. That way everyone else could feel better about themselves and I could always feel good for brilliantly achieving my goal of last place.

Haalter
May. 17, 2010, 03:50 PM
really, I don't see the point of wasting money to goof around--that's why I dance, not skate.
Noooo! Not this! You do realize, right, that most of the short stirrup kids and long stirrup adults aren't the next coming of George Morris, right? The majority of people who do this sport on a lower level aren't exceptionally talented, aren't ever going to the Olympics, and aren't going to win at the A level in the rated divisions. That's just the plain truth. And most of those folks have a great time, get a super workout, have fun traveling and showing with their friends...and pay the bills of the small name trainers like me!

Re: the rest of your post, I remember when McLain Ward started showing. He was TERRIBLE, god forgive me for saying this, but he was just embarrasingly awful. I thought, this kid hasn't got a chance in the world of ever being decent. He should just hang it up. And he'd certainly been showing for more than a year when I watched him floundering around in the big eq ring, the time limit you were talking about. Holy missed call on that one, eh? He's one of my favorite riders of all time, and I know a lot of others who agree...but believe me, he didn't start out perfect or even competitive with his peers!

And I'll continue to critique my students when they come out of the ring, thank you, telling them what they did wrong and what they can do to improve. Most folks do appreciate this, if it is done in a tactful manner. I'm intuitive enough to know when my students need a little space after a bad ride, but they can't escape an eventual conversation about it if they want to improve. And if they aren't mature enough to hear criticism, they apparently don't need to bother to have a coach, or can find another one to blow smoke up their ass or insult them instead of discussing their mistakes, whichever they prefer.

Void
May. 17, 2010, 03:53 PM
A motto I have taken to heart that we developed for our IHSA team (which is consequently when I learned to not begrudge myself not winning -- I was really tough on myself as a Junior even though my mother never pressured me to win, she just wanted me to be the best that I could be)


"We win ALL of the time, SOME of the time." that one always gave us a good chuckle, and I think that in our Zone, we were the friendliest most laid back team, but consistent in riding well.

Jaideux
May. 17, 2010, 03:53 PM
As a former child perfectionist who also does child/adolescent mental health, please let me chim in...

When a perfectionist isn't perfect, it feels like the world is ending. Whether they turn into a crybaby or develop an eating disorder or lash out at people, they are simply trying to release all the energy inside of them telling them they are not good enough. It sucks to be that kid, and it sucks even more when you have someone telling you "suck it up". And I mean that in the literal sense where that is exactly what they say before they move on to the next thing. These kids need support, validation, and THEN the reality check.

A few suggestions:
7 is young. 7 gets tired still. 7 might benefit from an earlier bedtime on show days. It's okay to tell her at this age the life lesson that sometimes when we're really tired our brain sometimes thinks in funny ways. Sometimes it makes us laugh hysterically at something not funny, and sometimes it makes us cry over something we normally wouldn't. Teach her to pay attention to her body- she'll soon learn to self-advocate for a break or realize that she needs to ignore her seriously critical thoughts because her tired brain isn't talking right.

When she wants to give up in the middle of a game at home, instead of simply forcing her to finish it, first have a conversation with her that essential asks "DD, what is the worst that can happen if you lose the game? I know it doesn't feel nice, but feelings go away after a few minutes. What is the worst that could happen? You won't die. I won't be mad at you. When the game is all done and you help clean up, if you want to be mad or sad somewhere else, you can." Let her learn at home that honestly no one will be mad at her or judge her, and that life will go on. She may have some real fears, such that she will be laughed at or someone will be mad at her, or something else kids think of. Those real fears need to be addressed, even if they are unrealistic fears. And then make her finish the game. Make a rule that you can't start what you won't finish, and check in at the start of the game- DD, you want to play Go Fish, but sometimes you don't like how it's going and you leave. I will only play with you if you stay the whole time. If you don't stay the whole time, you will have to (clean dishes, do something pretty unappealing and punishment like) and we will not play any more games for a week. If she says, "yes, I want to play" hold her to it. And make sure, especially in the beginning, that the winners are also gracious. It won't help much if your daughter tries to finish the game she will lose only to have your son do an obnoxious song and dance in front of her adding to the humilation. She won't soon stick her neck out to finish again...

I definitely improved a lot when one of my old trainers used to "pin" us during lessons. After flat work he'd tell us who pinned where. After we each jumped the same course he'd tell us who pinned where. Not only did it fuel my fire to want to work harder and be pinned first in the lesson, but it also helped me understand the moment-to-moment and day-to-day fluctuations of pinning. When I would pin in different spots all in the same lesson, it helped me get used to hearing that. It also gave me faith that I could again rise to the top. And, watching other people's rounds, sometimes I didn't understand his placing at all, but I got used to it and learned without being told specifically that it is subjective.

Coming from someone who also never lost anything that mattered for most of my childhood, it is devestating when it happens. Suddenly the child's identity- the one they have given them self- is lost. It's disorienting and scary. Helping her develop a very strong internal sense of accomplishment will be very important to her as she grows up. My favorite "stop being a critical harsh jerk to myself" trick at shows is to 1) really enjoy every aspect of it when I'm not in the show ring so I don't feel (emotionally) like I've "wasted" a day when I do poorly (cognitively I do know that a bad show can be good if you learn from it) and 2) pick one specific thing to absolutely nail while I'm in the ring. If I can make the right turn to the diagonal coming home and not blow the distance, it is a lot easier for me to reflect positively on the class, even if I did 10 other things wrong.

Also, help her understand that just because something goes wrong today doesn't mean she is destined for a downward spiral of failure in this or anything else. That's a real fear some of these kids have.

One helpful treatment for kids with OCD (which I'm NOT saying your daughter has at all!) is to have them externalize the disease. They give it a kid-friendly name (like "the big green monster"). They draw pictures of what TBGM looks like. They tell stories about defeating it. They slay that beast. They practice saying out loud "no" to the OCD obsessions. When your daughter starts getting super upset, don't tell her SHE'S the problem- it's the meanie thoughts. She didn't put them there, but she can absolutely get rid of them. Have her say, out loud, "I will not think like this! I had fun!" or whatever. It will take practice. It won't be easy. I'm giving you a pretty basic version that you, as mom, might need the help of a counselor to make work. But it will be worth it if you can get her now to understand these things.

Best of luck with all of it. And I do have to say that, after you offer some consolation as mom's must do, because mom's do have to equal safety in a child's mind, there is also nothing wrong with putting a limit on how many minutes you'll let her talk to you about it, and how many days afterwards you're willing to hear about it. That will also help her learn not to dwell on stuff.

Oh, and here's a big thing: because things came SO easily to me (everything- all school subjects, most sports, music, making friends, everything), I never learned how to work for what I wanted. When college came, and suddenly the top-tier university was demanding stuff my public high school never came close to asking for, I had no idea how to study. I had no idea how to problem solve to get what I wanted. It took some time and growing pains, but I did learn how to study (thank god). Use these early failures as an opportunity to teach her how to work to overcome setbacks. For example, yes, work harder at keeping her heels down. Teach her to, in a totally appropriate way, ask her trainer at her next lesson for a 5 minute discussion of the good and bad of her show and then what your daughter is going to do about it.

cheval convert
May. 17, 2010, 03:53 PM
Well, just don't say to her what my daughter, probably about age 7 at the time, said to me when I went to my second ever horse show,"Mom, could you try not to come in last this time.":lol:

(I was riding a pony named Fruitcake. Said pony only had trot and canter, no walk, and unfortunately, the classes all had a walk component to them. sigh. Anyway, since I did show for the fun, obviously, and I had lofty goals such as "not falling off" it was all good. I like to think DD learned something from it also, since when she became a teenager she was on her high school gymnastics team. She never placed in competition but participated because she enjoyed it.)

Haalter
May. 17, 2010, 04:04 PM
I had lofty goals such as "not falling off" :lol: :lol: :lol: Love it!

Summit Springs Farm
May. 17, 2010, 04:42 PM
I could be wrong and probably am;), but you probably made too much about her winning the show before.
The time to talk about losing is when you are winning, IMO.
My sons play football and I've seen lots of winning and losing and it was always easier to talk about the losing team, when it wasn't them.

So next time she wins talk to her about losing, well next time blah, blah blah...

Say its great that you won, but the real prise is how well you rode, etc...

And the whole discussion about whether she shows again, has NOTHING to do with whether or not she is winning at the shows.

cheval convert
May. 17, 2010, 04:54 PM
The only times I've ever shown was to be the designated loser. That way everyone else could feel better about themselves and I could always feel good for brilliantly achieving my goal of last place.

Dizzy, I think you and I may be able to make a competition of that!

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 04:54 PM
I could be wrong and probably am;), but you probably made too much about her winning the show before.
The time to talk about losing is when you are winning, IMO.
My sons play football and I've seen lots of winning and losing and it was always easier to talk about the losing team, when it wasn't them.

So next time she wins talk to her about losing, well next time blah, blah blah...

Say its great that you won, but the real prise is how well you rode, etc...

And the whole discussion about whether she shows again, has NOTHING to do with whether or not she is winning at the shows.

You're right. I did absolutely tell her how great she rode in the first show - because she did :) she was the only kid who could sit the trot halfway around the ring as was requested. It was a tough class and she was great and won it. She was over the moon. I didn't even have to say anything, other than what a great job she did at her first show, and of course the stage was set for disappointment the next time. In fact I believe her wise trainer warned me about this and said she wished she didn't win in her first show...she sure was right!

She's home from school and doesn't seem fazed so yes this was probably an exhausted disappointed kid and she'll shake it off and move on. Thanks again all for your helpful words of wisdom!

justathought
May. 17, 2010, 05:05 PM
....

Haven't you ever known a child who just inherently has to he best in everything they do? She just does, didn't come from me, didn't come from her dad, she is just like that. She's a twin and it may be an inherently ingrained attribute since she's always had to compete for attention with her brother. Not at all saying it's a good thing or that I like that she's like this, its just how she is. Read into my post however enterains you but I know the truth.
...

Both - this rang a bell for me. I am a perfectionist and I have a DD who is also a perfectionist. It is incredibly difficult for perfectionists to learn to be happy with anything they accomplish - because it should always be better. IMO, that is a problem because it leads one to be disatisifed with one's self. It takes a lot of time and guidance to learn that one can be satisifed with and proud of one's best effort (and still strive to be better the next time). Looking to climb the next mountain is a good thing, but only if one also has the ability to spend a moment celebrating the climb that was just finished.

Perhaps setting internal goals for each show and measuring the performance against this sandard will help. Also - and she is not too young to understand subjectivity - explaining the difference between subjective/opinion sports and objective/factual sports - and that sometimes the results are not what you expect - both on the good and bad side - and that in either case one takes pride in a job well done, assesses what went well or wrong and uses the information to do better the next time.

danceronice
May. 17, 2010, 05:06 PM
Noooo! Not this! You do realize, right, that most of the short stirrup kids and long stirrup adults aren't the next coming of George Morris, right? The majority of people who do this sport on a lower level aren't exceptionally talented, aren't ever going to the Olympics, and aren't going to win at the A level in the rated divisions. That's just the plain truth. And most of those folks have a great time, get a super workout, have fun traveling and showing with their friends...and pay the bills of the small name trainers like me!

The point is not to go to the Olympics. It's not even to win every time. The point is to be reasonably successful at the level at which you CAN be reasonably successful. If you go from fifth to fourth, that's something. If you are dead last in front of every judge, every time...you suck. That's not one judge's bias. That's experts telling you you are terrible at what you're doing. If you enjoy being bad at things, go right ahead. But if you cannot improve, never improve, why stick at something? Go find something you can do well. The world has lots of mediocrities. It doesn't need more.

Jaideux has it right--you jump on a self-driven perfectionist while they're still mad, you are wasting your breath and you are simply reinforcing what their inner voice is already saying--that they're terrible and suck at everything. Tell them at the next lesson "We need to work on X. Y could stand improvement." Don't grab them when they most feel like crap and say "You did this wrong and that wrong and so and so was better than you." If they're a little kid, especially, all they just heard is "You're right, you suck." In a lesson, the driven perfectionist is in a mental place to hear what needs fixing. Not when they're already mad at themselves.

And for all I know McLain STILL sucks at Eq. He rides jumpers now. He doesn't have to be pretty, just effective. He does what he's good at.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 05:21 PM
thanks everyone for your comments on perfectionists...she definitely fits the bill and is very, very hard on herself. She is also the girl who has to be the teachers pet, has to have all of the adults oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing. She actually cares more about what adults think of her, than kids. Been that way since she was a baby - I think she's an old soul. :) Now that i think about it, she's probably upset that the judge didn't think she was the cutest thing since sliced bread. And she worries that her trainer is disappointedin her. She's a people pleasing perfectionist...oh boy am I going to have issues brining this kid up! LOL She's a great kid but very complicated, which is why I wanted to ideas to help her through.

HRF Second Chance
May. 17, 2010, 05:46 PM
And for all I know McLain STILL sucks at Eq. He rides jumpers now. He doesn't have to be pretty, just effective. He does what he's good at.[/QUOTE]

I don't think McLain sucked at equitation since he won the USEF Medal and the Talent Award at 14.

RugBug
May. 17, 2010, 05:56 PM
If you are dead last in front of every judge, every time...you suck. That's not one judge's bias. That's experts telling you you are terrible at what you're doing. If you enjoy being bad at things, go right ahead. But if you cannot improve, never improve, why stick at something? Go find something you can do well. The world has lots of mediocrities. It doesn't need more.

Um, it's not about being any good. It's about getting enjoyment out of it. If you are the worst rider on the planet and every judge and every competitor and every barnmate tells you so but you still love it? By all means, keep doing it. Some people don't care that they will be "evergreen". They just love what they are doing.

That obviously doesn't work for you...so you go ahead and quit things that you're bad at...but let others enjoy themselves...good or bad.



And for all I know McLain STILL sucks at Eq. He rides jumpers now. He doesn't have to be pretty, just effective. He does what he's good at.

Well, you don't know much, then. Often times the comments about McLain contain something about how he rides the Grand Prix like an equitation round. He's a very effective rider and beautiful to watch. Go check out some youtube videos.


Mayaty: it's good you've realized this now. There can be a lot of great things about being a perfectionist, but there are also some huge struggles that go along with it. You have some indications of the struggles, like her wanting to quit when she's not winning...that's really not okay and should be addressed now while she's still young. There have been some great suggestions on things you can try (Jadieux's post was excellent). Strike now, while the iron is hot. :winkgrin:

janedoe726
May. 17, 2010, 06:15 PM
As my mom told me numerous times,

"Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug"

I think that about says it all...

bits619
May. 17, 2010, 06:37 PM
Her trainer could keep a poster board with shows listed on them and award stars or stickers on how well she thought she did- did she pat her pony after the class? was her tack cleaned before and after? how did she handle the day? did she talk to at least one other competitor and make friends with her- offer a compliment or at least say hi?

make it more about the day and less about the ribbon.

For any kid I LOVE the idea of emphasizing the social aspects, and the hours before and after the 10 minutes in the ring! Great ideas.

I *definitely* agree with the posters who have said tiredness likely played the biggest role in her reaction. Shows are exhausting for everyone :) In the sun, in unfamiliar settings, with an audience, maybe a ring routine that's unlike her usual lesson plan,.. I'm getting tired thinking about it! You know how young people around that age can be after an AWESOME day- like going to the zoo or to a movie... the enormity in the schedule change/difference in activity alone can cause pre-bedtime/end-of-day tears. If she was throwing her pony's reins into the dirt and sobbing or yelling right after the classes (or even having a private, yet intense, meltdown in the trailer), that'd be likely more related to the immediate sense of disappointment and losing.

The very first show I was in, I was 10 or so. I won or placed second in every single class. Then, I had my second show, and it was hello, pink and green ribbons!! I remember being disappointed immediately- and more than a twinge. But then I was walking out of the ring with my 5th place ribbon and I saw my mom. The look on her face was ridiculous- she looked as loony as if she'd just won the lottery. I was pretty embarassed because I knew it wasn't as good as the other girls' ribbons, but it still made me feel kind of proud all the same. Had she been a tiny bit reserved in her first greeting me outside the ring, waiting to see MY reaction first, I probably would have focused on that reservation, not the elation.

dizzywriter
May. 17, 2010, 06:44 PM
Dizzy, I think you and I may be able to make a competition of that!

I'll beat you to it. ;)

Jaideux
May. 17, 2010, 06:46 PM
To add one more thing to my already Dickensian post above, another exercise that is SO HARD for perfectionists to do but is SO NECESSARY is to, like another poster said, have her identify what she did well. Like in that picture, she saw bad heels or whatever, but have her point out the good, too. The same brilliant trainer who "pinned" us in lessons also made me list 3 GOOD things I did when I came out of the ring before he let me launch into my litany of "I sucked at x, y, z".

A wonderful voice teacher, who has been teaching at THE top school for classical music, also quickly saw my perfectionistic ways and made me promise 3 things:

1) if I wanted to cry (and sometimes the crying had nothing to do with frustration- music just taps into that side of the brain and I could be singing a jaunty little ditty in a foreign language and I would still tear up some times), I would just let it out. Holding it back meant I would be operating at 50% for the rest of the lesson. She would much rather I spend 5 minutes expelling the energy and tears and then be fully there mentally and physically the rest of the lesson that have me plow ahead and spend the last 30 minutes working impaired. I've learned to do the same with riding. Even as an adult, if I need to cry I take 5 minutes for myself and cry it out. I can then return to the situation and usually nail it on the head whatever made me upset. Sometimes now, as an adult, if I'm pissy at work I will go in the bathroom and literally throw a silent tantrum, though occasionally a quiet grumble escapes- it gets the energy out and lets me focus on getting it right when I go back!

2) Before I could say what I did wrong, I had to say 3 things I did right, and I could never say more wrong things that right things. It may still be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, not because I didn't want to say anything good but because I honestly couldn't. And I was singing at one of the best schools in the country, so I couldn't have been that bad! Some days it was all I could come up with to say "I remembered the words, I said this word right, and I kept both feet on the floor"... but then I had 20 things I wanted to fix. My teacher only let me say three. If I found only 1 thing I liked, I could only say 1 thing to fix.

3) I had to promise to take risks. In singing, as in riding, when you learn something new sometimes the most horrible things happen first. Learning curve and all. I was learning a new vocal warm up and it was challenging. I held back, and the exercise was, well, useless as a result. I was afraid if I gave 100% and failed, not only would I make a horrible sound or get pitchy, but that my revered teacher would judge me for that. It took me a lot of time to get over that fear, and it helped a lot to watch how my teacher handled it when she would blat instead of sing when teaching me stuff, because *gasp* even my amazing, renowned teacher was human and sometimes made mistakes. She laughed it off, re-prepared and then went at it again. I gradually became okay with making awful noises because it was all in the name of progress. As I learned what didn't work, I was beginning to learn what did work.

So teach her to take risks. 5 years ago you wouldn't have caught me dead volunteering to be a guinea pig for anything. Now I happily will do whatever and take whatever risks because I'm finally (after therapy!) comfortable with who I am, and what my mistakes mean AND DON'T MEAN.

I'll be a work in progress forever, but now I can at least tell when I'm being ridiculous and when I'm being fair to myself, and take the steps to fix it if necessary.

Summit Springs Farm
May. 17, 2010, 07:30 PM
You're right. I did absolutely tell her how great she rode in the first show - because she did :) she was the only kid who could sit the trot halfway around the ring as was requested. It was a tough class and she was great and won it. She was over the moon. I didn't even have to say anything, other than what a great job she did at her first show, and of course the stage was set for disappointment the next time. In fact I believe her wise trainer warned me about this and said she wished she didn't win in her first show...she sure was right!

She's home from school and doesn't seem fazed so yes this was probably an exhausted disappointed kid and she'll shake it off and move on. Thanks again all for your helpful words of wisdom!

Ok, well the way you answered my post, pretty much sums it up. Honey, You are sooo not getting it, YOU keep focusing on how great a rider your daughter is, and its about who is better that day at the show!!!!
What I would have expected you say from my post, was ya, I guess you're probably right, we made too much about the ribbons. Not enough about competition and winning and losing.
And when she's "over the moon" is when you talk to her a bout, well you won today, but next time there may be a girl who rides better than you and you may not win, just like the girls you beat today.etc... And NO the stage was not set for disappointment, at that time you could have talked to her about losing. You missed the opportunity to educate her. Try not to miss it the next time, you and her will be much happier.:)

hb
May. 17, 2010, 07:51 PM
Unfortunately she is the type of kid who literally can't stand to lose and she will quit mid game if it looks like she's going to lose. It's bad I know ...I am struggling with how to deal with it.

Try reading this book:

http://www.amazon.com/NurtureShock-New-Thinking-About-Children/dp/0446504122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274139843&sr=8-1

The first chapter "The Inverse Power of Praise" discusses studies that show that kids who receive a lot of what would normally be considered to be positive reinforcement can actually lose confidence in their abilities and be afraid to try new things and also give up quickly if it looks like they will not be successful at a project.

The book also discusses specific ways to praise children to help build their confidence.

The information is interesting, counter-intuitive and based on research. It may be helpful to you.

PugetSounder
May. 17, 2010, 07:55 PM
One of the best things anyone can do to be empathetic (not sympathetic) is to tell them that you hear them. Tell DD "I see" when she tells you how disapointed she is. Tell her "Oh" when she tells you she's sad. Tell her she did a very good job, but the judge sees her for X minutes and what she saw is what she pinned, and that may or may not happen again if the exact same ponies and riders were before the judge in the same class another day. Then move on to all the great, positive successes that a day at a show includes: safety, practice in competition, FUN, oh, and did I mention fun? What a great pony she rides, how clean the tack was, how wonderful the show clothes are, how great the braids looked, etc., etc. And how proud you are of her for enjoying and learning from it.

If she doesn't want to show, just do some riding for a while. Let her tell you when she wants to show again. Maybe go to a show and groom and cheer for a riding friend - peer or older. Let her see people she cares about working hard and having great rides but not getting all blues and championships. And then move on to the next day, the next ride, having fun, going on vacation, eating ice cream, playing with Breyers, coloring at the kitchen table, running around and jumping play jumps without a pony, etc., etc. Being a kid.

Have fun; being a mom is the hardest job we ever do, and it takes a lot of deep breaths and hugs, and sometimes wiping tears (our own and our kids) that pop out of no where to surprise us.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 07:58 PM
Ok, well the way you answered my post, pretty much sums it up. Honey, You are sooo not getting it, YOU keep focusing on how great a rider your daughter is, and its about who is better that day at the show!!!!
What I would have expected you say from my post, was ya, I guess you're probably right, we made too much about the ribbons. Not enough about competition and winning and losing.
And when she's "over the moon" is when you talk to her a bout, well you won today, but next time there may be a girl who rides better than you and you may not win, just like the girls you beat today.etc... And NO the stage was not set for disappointment, at that time you could have talked to her about losing. You missed the opportunity to educate her. Try not to miss it the next time, you and her will be much happier.:)


Umm I'm pretty sure I started my response with "you're right". I absolutely let her be thrilled with her ribbons and bask in the fun of the day. I did not talk about losing. I was so happy that she had fun that I didn't focus on losing at all. I was focused on pumping her up...yep I was. So again, you're right....If I had to do over, I would definitely have downplayed it more than I did and set the stage to prepare her for losing.

Oh and by the way, I do think I should tell her what she did "right" to win the class. I think you need to celebrate the successes but obviously prepare her for the classes she doesn't win. I did say all that, whether or not it sunk in who knows. I did let her call her grandparents and tell them about how well she did, and that included winning ribbons. When she asked to bring her ribbons into school to show the other kids, i told her that wasn't a good idea :) Frankly I was happy she enjoyed herself and I'm sure she would have been just as happy to have yellows and whites. I told her from the get go that day that next time, she may not win, but what matters is how she rode, and how she concentrated and worked hard and she was rewarded for that. I definitely should have prepared her better to say there may be times when she works hard and is as good as she can be, and she may not win due to other children being better or as good, or due to a sleepy judge :) I should have prepared her better for that and I thank you all on this board who reminded me of the importance of that.

Almost Heaven
May. 17, 2010, 08:28 PM
Didn't read all the posts, so apologies if this is redundant. Best way to teach is by setting a good example.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 08:36 PM
Didn't read all the posts, so apologies if this is redundant. Best way to teach is by setting a good example.

you're right and contrary to what some on this board think, I do absolutely do that. I don't show currently but I have told her over and over and showed her, that it's not important how many ribbons you get or if you win, but how you ride against your personal best, cheering on your fellow barnmates and having fun. I told her some of my proudest moments have come in classes where I didn't ribbon. I have been telling this to her all along. I was there waiting for her at the ingate with a big smile and congratulations because I was proud of her and I love her. I am not upset that she didn't ribbon higher, as i said earlier, she absolutely placed where she should have. I was just looking for ways to explain this to a 7 yr old without demotivating her. And thanks to many posters and others who PM'd me, i do feel better prepared next time. Thank you all.

RockinHorse
May. 17, 2010, 08:47 PM
The point is not to go to the Olympics. It's not even to win every time. The point is to be reasonably successful at the level at which you CAN be reasonably successful. If you go from fifth to fourth, that's something. If you are dead last in front of every judge, every time...you suck. That's not one judge's bias. That's experts telling you you are terrible at what you're doing. If you enjoy being bad at things, go right ahead. But if you cannot improve, never improve, why stick at something? Go find something you can do well. The world has lots of mediocrities. It doesn't need more.



Rather than quit, I would just show in larger classes without announced numerical scoring, that way, I wouldn't know that I was always dead last and neither would anyone else :p

Jaideux
May. 17, 2010, 09:28 PM
Everyone is different, but I'm not sure I'd rain on her winning parade by reminding her that one day she's gonna be "the bug" on the windshield right after she's won or done well.

I only say that because my mom did that, and the message I heard was "you're not good enough, you'll never be good enough". Like the time I got a solo in chorus. She said "don't get cocky- there will always be someone better than you". As an adult I appreciate the message she was trying to give me, which was be humble, but as a child all I heard was "you don't deserve to be proud of your accomplishments". I wanted to hear "wow, DD, I'm so proud of you- your teacher must think you did an excellent job at the audition!". Hell, I'd have settled for the "wow, great!" response.

Save the "you don't always win" talk for a non-emotionally charged day. Like on a neutral car ride to the grocery store. Otherwise, you risk both invalidating her and alienating her.

Mayaty02
May. 17, 2010, 09:32 PM
Everyone is different, but I'm not sure I'd rain on her winning parade by reminding her that one day she's gonna be "the bug" on the windshield right after she's won or done well.

I only say that because my mom did that, and the message I heard was "you're not good enough, you'll never be good enough". Like the time I got a solo in chorus. She said "don't get cocky- there will always be someone better than you". As an adult I appreciate the message she was trying to give me, which was be humble, but as a child all I heard was "you don't deserve to be proud of your accomplishments". I wanted to hear "wow, DD, I'm so proud of you- your teacher must think you did an excellent job at the audition!". Hell, I'd have settled for the "wow, great!" response.

Save the "you don't always win" talk for a non-emotionally charged day. Like on a neutral car ride to the grocery store. Otherwise, you risk both invalidating her and alienating her.

Good point and I completely agree. We did essentially what you suggested but as we got closer to this 2nd show, I wish I'd prepped her a little bit more.

Wheel Whip
May. 17, 2010, 09:44 PM
Have DD join Pony Club. She will learn to be a well rounded horsewoman and realize that horses are not ribbon delivery vehicles. It is easier to take the ups and downs of competition when you are on a team. And we have ways of keeping horse show moms (and dads) VERY busy:lol:!

danceronice
May. 17, 2010, 10:09 PM
Everyone is different, but I'm not sure I'd rain on her winning parade by reminding her that one day she's gonna be "the bug" on the windshield right after she's won or done well.

I only say that because my mom did that, and the message I heard was "you're not good enough, you'll never be good enough". Like the time I got a solo in chorus. She said "don't get cocky- there will always be someone better than you". As an adult I appreciate the message she was trying to give me, which was be humble, but as a child all I heard was "you don't deserve to be proud of your accomplishments". I wanted to hear "wow, DD, I'm so proud of you- your teacher must think you did an excellent job at the audition!". Hell, I'd have settled for the "wow, great!" response.

Save the "you don't always win" talk for a non-emotionally charged day. Like on a neutral car ride to the grocery store. Otherwise, you risk both invalidating her and alienating her.

THIS. Why is this so hard for people to understand? There's a reason it's the elite performers and athletes who end up with eating disorders and OCD. Dumping on them if they lose and don't like it, dumping on them if they win and are happy--all that does is reinforce to them they're not good enough, nothing they do will EVER be good enough, might as well not bother. They are ALREADY kicking themselves if they did poorly, they KNOW it might not happen next time and are probably thinking more about what they did wrong than what they did right if they did well. It's an entirely different mindset than someone who can be happy just putzing around.

Personally I do best on minimal response. partially because I know if I get a 'well done' from my dance pro (about the highest praise he gives) he means it, and partially because if I did poorly *I KNOW*. I don't need to be told. At my next lesson we'll be working on the areas that need improvement (with are always the same ones that were a problem BEFORE a competition.) I don't remember my first riding trainer ever saying anything nice, my second always had something picky to say, my parents usually would go the "remember next time there could be someone better and X still needs work", so by a certain point why would I even bother trying? Nothing's ever good enough so there's no point in doing it at all. The only "life lesson" I learned from that approach is nothing is ever good enough. If you're not good enough, just don't do it.

Just let the kid be disappointed. She'll either learn to deal and work for the days when she DOES win, or she'll quit. And VERY good call on not taking ribbons to school. Kids can be real jerks about other kids who have ponies.

Fun Size
May. 18, 2010, 12:26 AM
I'm going to echo the "maybe she was just tired" idea. Even now, at 29 (getting OLD!), when I am overly tired it is likely to manifest as frustrated tears (I'm talking way not enough sleep, and I only do it when I'm by myself!).

I started competing in figure skating when I was 5. The coaches were very tough on us (tears in lessons was not unheard of), but it was always about the skate and doing as well as you could do at the time. If you won, then great, but it didn't really matter that much.

Ohhh...but it mattered to ME! I have competitiveness (is that a word?) hard wired in, despite the best efforts of parents + coaches. I've learned how to temper that over time. Oh, who am I kidding? I've learned how to keep it to myself and not let it get the better of me over time. Even now, if I have a killer round, I am disappointed if I don't win and if I make a blatant mistake I am doubly annoyed because I brought it on myself!!

You may just have a competitive one by nature, and that in itself isn't bad. You just have to let her grow into it and learn to get control of it. It is really hard!

I may be totally projecting here, but it is just a thought :)

NoExcuses
May. 18, 2010, 12:43 AM
I sit in the judges box, had a son that rode thru WIHS, Devon ect, and have students.
I teach right from the start; every judge is different. What you see from the gate may not be what you see from the side.
Showing is not about winning or loosing, but gaining the skills to continue forward prograss. A mistake is the best way to learn IF you do not allow the rider to always place blame elsewhere. To learn, they need to be taught it is a great day to share the day with your horse. There are days when you get ribbons you did not deserve and days when you don't get ribbons you deserve. I am positive at the gate, even with the 6 year old, but if she dosen't break this used to always being the best, it will get harder. Every trip has a good place and a place to woek on. You have to stick to your progran and get consistant there. If you try to jump from fad to fad, you will find the rest of the mini stirrups doing Childrenws POnys and your daughter still trying to figure out whqt the judge wants. Stay on track, there is always something positive to feedback, but the rider also has to realize that everytrip offers a learning time. The judges will always be human, just have your rider learn to do her best, and HAVE FUN

peachy
May. 18, 2010, 01:17 AM
My daughter (now 12) has a pretty laid back personality type and it was never even an issue to teach her to go with the flow whether she wins or loses" , she was just instantly over it and on to the next big thing.

On the other end of the spectrum, her best friend (to whom I'm also a surrogate "horse mom") sounds much more like your daughter. She has a much more driven or perfectionist or "concerned about doing well" (however you want to say it) personality type and really did tend to get more emotional about not doing well. And her mom told me that she would tend to cry and get upset after the fact when all the excitement had wound down. She also was used to being really good at things (which does to tend flow naturally for these kids who tend to try hard). This is just who she is and really had nothing to do with her parents or anyone else setting up expectations.

I still remember her asking me "Why does everyone always say it's not about the ribbons when it really is?" which still just cracks me up because it really is true just in terms of people's reactions and how everyone asks "How'd you do?" Some kids are just more aware of what it means to be "judged" at that age, but don't yet have the ability to put it in perspective.

Anyway - now at 12, this has totally shifted and it's obvious how the experience of winning and losing has been a great learning experience. She had a tough horseshow the other weekend and simply took it in stride with a great attitude.
My daughter was in a cast and couldn't even ride! Nothing better than a big old slice of humble pie for a pre-teen!

Whisper
May. 18, 2010, 01:35 AM
So teach her to take risks. 5 years ago you wouldn't have caught me dead volunteering to be a guinea pig for anything. Now I happily will do whatever and take whatever risks because I'm finally (after therapy!) comfortable with who I am, and what my mistakes mean AND DON'T MEAN.
I don't have kids, but I really identify with this part! Horseback riding (and after that, some sorts of dancing, martial arts, and other physical activities) were very frustrating to me at first. I felt I couldn't apply any of the learning strategies that worked for me in academic subjects. Theory can be helpful, but it doesn't translate into physical changes quickly or easily. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone made me feel awkward and clumsy, but in most areas, I was able to catch on and get at least halfway decent a month or so into it.

I don't have kids, so I don't feel I can really give you parenting advice, but I agree that it sounds like she was partly overtired, and has a history of being perfectionistic in similar ways. Perhaps you might consider laying off the horseshows until she can be a good sport, win, lose, or somewhere in between at games and such that don't require much financial or time commitment?

bf1
May. 18, 2010, 07:22 AM
Ahh, showing is so humbling! Good advise here!

There is nothing you can do to avoid her being disappointed. There is nothing wrong with that - in the end it will make her a better person. As a Mom, it hurts to watch, but it will help her grow.

I always reminded my kids that riding is a journey they had better enjoy each and every day. Getting good ribbons is wonderful, but not the point of the journey. Yes, it is rewarding, but in the end, if you do your best, you have to be satisfied with that, but there is always something to work on. I remind them they are not professionals!

And it is up to the judge after all. Your daughter is not to young to understand that - and some days judges like brown ponies more than white ponies. Just the way it is. She needs to understand that sometimes there is nothing more she can do. And if it is an eq class - it might be possible to have her talk with the judge. I have had my kids thanks judges, and that can lead to a constructive comment or two.

In the end, if she can't accept being judged, she needs to play a team sport. There nothing is worse in my opinion than a poor sport. It is ok to be disappointed, and cry yourself to sleep, but it is not ok to get mad about it. That is where I would draw the line.

In no way am I saying your daughter is a poor sport! I am just saying she is normal, and your reaction is normal - but as time goes on, you do need to guide her thinking! I know that is what you are trying to do.

NMK
May. 18, 2010, 10:19 AM
I'm not a mom, but the "horsie" aunt. I'm going to share the story of my niece with you, for what it is worth.

My niece and I are very close. I taught her to ride, and share the horse passion with her. I even wanted to buy her a pony, or give her one of my own horses (I keep them at home). At any time, she could easily take one of my event horses to a mini trial and win. Would I love that? Heck yes.

Instead, she is at a local lesson/camp barn with lots of kids her age. She does mini trials on ponies that barely steer, or jump (cringe) but she's with her friends and win or lose, they all support each other.

In the last year she has endured some big life changes in her family. We are all so glad she has "the barn" and the structure there.

When I read that your child is the only young kid at her barn, that throws some big red flags for me. Yes, it's hard to watch my niece ride/show ponies that need extreme makeovers. But the tradeoff of having a good, rounded kid with a place where she "belongs" is well worth it. And she is learning that its not all about winning or losing, its about sharing and giving.

Nancy

tidy rabbit
May. 18, 2010, 10:23 AM
Some of the descriptions of "perfectionism" sound more like low self esteem issues.

ponymom64
May. 18, 2010, 10:36 AM
I'm a hardass and don't do sympathy well - except when it requires a visit to the emergency room ;) and my kids have all learned from an early age that "there's no crying in baseball" or horseshowing or any sport they happen to participating in at the moment.

I don't think it's a good idea to focus on prizes as the end all but rather to focus on journey, especially in the little ones. Talk about what things she did well, how pretty the pony looked, what a great job the pony did. In general, I *never* talked to her about the things she can improve on - I leave that to the trainer - only about how proud I was of her efforts and about how proud she should be of demonstrating the things she's been working on at home and how proud she should be of the pony.

FWIW, my DD is a fiercely competitive (now junior) rider who is also a perfectionist, much like your child, but she is also a very gracious loser and an equally gracious winner. If we had spent the last 11 years concentrating only on ribbons, she would have had a very sad junior career - LOL!! But because we've always focused on working harder and making the journey the best experience possible for both her and whatever she happened to be riding, she is able to accept and be proud of her green pony or her young horse being last because he did x,y,z SO much better than last time :). Not to say she is happy about it but she is always thrilled with whatever improvement has been made. Makes the first Tricolor she has won in 3 years so much sweeter.

Not to say she hasn't cried once or twice through the years, but it was never because she didn't get the ribbon she wanted but because she didn't accomplish something in the ring that she'd been working on at home.

Sooooo, my long winded advice to you is to turn your focus on the journey and making that the best it can be and remember that sometimes you get the cake, sometimes you get the icing and sometimes you get the cake WITH icing (thanks Seal for that, we use it ALL the time)

Mayaty02
May. 18, 2010, 10:51 AM
I'm not a mom, but the "horsie" aunt. I'm going to share the story of my niece with you, for what it is worth.

My niece and I are very close. I taught her to ride, and share the horse passion with her. I even wanted to buy her a pony, or give her one of my own horses (I keep them at home). At any time, she could easily take one of my event horses to a mini trial and win. Would I love that? Heck yes.

Instead, she is at a local lesson/camp barn with lots of kids her age. She does mini trials on ponies that barely steer, or jump (cringe) but she's with her friends and win or lose, they all support each other.

In the last year she has endured some big life changes in her family. We are all so glad she has "the barn" and the structure there.

When I read that your child is the only young kid at her barn, that throws some big red flags for me. Yes, it's hard to watch my niece ride/show ponies that need extreme makeovers. But the tradeoff of having a good, rounded kid with a place where she "belongs" is well worth it. And she is learning that its not all about winning or losing, its about sharing and giving.

Nancy

Thanks for the input. FYI she is not the "only young kid" at the barn, there are 3-5 girls all older than her, but between 8-10 and my daughter is 7 so she's the youngest but not the only. I completely agree that it's important for her to be with teh other girls and I wish she could be more so but they show in different divisions and are not always there when she rides, nor can she lesson with them since they are more advanced than her. She will be going to riding camp this summer with kids her age and I think she'll have an absolute blast. I hope it renews her love for ponies and not worrying about ribbons :)

Thanks all though...she hasn't mentioned it since Sunday night so I think she'll be just fine. I appreciate all the input I received though, you guys are the best!

pony grandma
May. 18, 2010, 12:25 PM
Wow 8 pages, I read the first two and the last.

Just to add what I've learned thru the experiences - a well-worn expression of mine "I don't see any blood and no one died." Very useful when someone is upset or made a mistake. No biggie deal if all you have to do in life is go around the block or try again to fix something.

As my girls got older, and for OPKs (Other People's Kids) on any given day it can just not be their judge that day so I would tell them to ride for that one true horseman on the rail who would see them and know that they were good and kind with their partnership with their animal. I also stood behind that and would tell kids that I saw that they did well on some of 'those' days. I had a lot of parents thank me for that.

Just some advice from the old hen :D to have up your sleeve to be prepared for the moments when they crop up.

tidy rabbit
May. 18, 2010, 12:28 PM
I would tell them to ride for that one true horseman on the rail who would see them and know that they were good and kind with their partnership with their animal.


Ahhh, I love that! I will keep this gem in my mind, myself.

Spud&Saf
May. 18, 2010, 02:51 PM
I was an over-achiever kid, but I was never a cry baby about losing.

My mom would always tell me that if I didn't do well at a horse show, it didn't mean I wasn't a good rider. She would say it was only 2 minutes in the ring and maybe somebody else's 2 minutes happened to be better than my 2 that day. Some days, maybe my 2 minutes would be the best. She always emphasized that those 2 minutes were only that...2 minutes and what really counted were the countless ones that I had worked so hard at preparing for that day and the improvements I made when the judge wasn't watching.

chunky munky
May. 18, 2010, 05:41 PM
You need to disregard most of the negative posts here. Every child is different. Your child is obviously an "A" type who wants to produce. At that age, they most often want to please you and the trainer. They only understand that that they didn't win, but that is no reason to stop trying. Best you can do is let her know that you were pleased. The trainer should do the same. I can see that you just want her to love horses and animals. I was married to a Child Psychiatrist for 13 years. Just try to allow her to enjoy horses and animals. She most likely does. She just is feeling she has failed you and her trainer. Give lots of love and allow her to find her own way. She will with that support. :-)

HRF Second Chance
May. 18, 2010, 05:50 PM
I frequently tell them to "ride against themselves". Make it better than last time. When they exit the ring, I ask what they felt went well and what didn't and then have a discussion on how to fix it next round. It usually resulted in more pride of their round and themselves versus the ribbon they did or didn't win as long as they saw progress.

December
May. 18, 2010, 06:05 PM
Nah, you're not an evil horse show mom! You sound pretty well-balance to me, and your daughter is just born competitive. My son is like that, and it irks me because people imply that I make him that way. Makes we wonder why my daughter is the exact opposite (and she is the first-born)!

I think you did all the right things, and "losing" is a good life experience for her, especially if she win a lot. Nothing like horse showing to teach you that life isn't always fair... I think she will bounce back from it in any case.

Trees4U
May. 18, 2010, 06:53 PM
20 yrs ago when my shy DD was 6 riding w/t on a cranky old lesson pony, she never pinned. She kept trying her best but it just wasn't happening. Our trainer at the time came up with the "Good Sportsmanship" ribbon (just an old green ribbon hanging around) and gave it to her after the classes were over. Remembering her HUGE smile still makes my heart sing:yes:

She has ridden & shown non-stop for 20 yrs and still loves it - the highs & the lows.
My point is, maybe in a quiet, subtle way you can de-fuse this by pointing out her accomplishments other than getting the blue.

Good luck !