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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2008
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    Eastern PA
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    331

    Question What can you do about unsupportive parents?

    This is my first season eventing, and until July I was a competitive jumper rider. My parents could handle that, because my horse didn't need a lot of training to be successful in the jumper ring. Now that I'm eventing, I need to work on dressage a lot and I need to work on his fear of water jumps. When you add into the equation that I'm at a barn when the manager/main trainer hates me, ... and I mean HATES me (because I'm an eventer and I'm under the age of 20)... so I have to switch barns, my parents don't want to deal with my riding. They have said to me that they "didn't sign up to parent a Rolex champion or an Olympic rider" so sorry, sucks for you.

    I'm at such a loss because both my trainer and I have tried to talk to them and help them understand that I have potential to achieve my riding dreams, and all they do is crush them...
    “I always knew I had the ability, I just had to find the horse to get me there.” - Calvin Borel, on riding Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2004
    Location
    NoVa
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    5,079

    Default

    How old are you?

    Are you looking for financial support from your parents or just emotional?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 1999
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    5,234

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    Yup, parents can suck. Both of mine are exactly like that. But they did help a little. They did pay for board and they bought my first horse. After that, the lessons and extras or another horse was all up to me. Heck, I can't tell you how many times my mom forgot to pick me up and someone had to drive me home.
    Is it a money issue? Because eventing is a heck of a lot cheaper than jumpers! Also, a good trainer would love to have you help them out. Good kids are so hard to find.
    And yup, it's an inconvenience to them. Driving you to the barn or shows or something. Luckily, you are in area 2 where you could possibly find an involved parent to latch on to if they don't mind and you're polite.
    Oh, an I moved 3000 miles away so I can indulge in my lifestyle. So, they have to think of that. It's a way of life. I told my mom that she wouldn't even ask or give me grief about moving away if I were gay and moving to San Francisco She got the hint.
    Also, ask yourself this, if you were really into soccer or baseball, would they still be as reticent? I know mine would. So it's probably not just the horses themselves but time/money factor. Plus some parents just suck. But what can you do?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    3,105

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    Man, that's a tough situation. If you're really serious about wanting to do this (event) then don't listen to it. I know, easier said then done, but just try to ignore it. (If talking and reasoning don't work, that is...) You know you're good, you know your horse is good, and your trainer sounds supportive of you. How old are you? Are you still living at home? That could make things harder, if you can't get away from it. But if you're already on your own, then you can at least be away from the negative attitude, at least until you have to be around your parents. I know stressful it can be all under the same roof; I'm still at home, and it's hard when you're stuck there.

    My question is, why do they care? Are they financing your horses? Eventing can be expensive (more so than other sports...). It's also risky, so maybe they're just worried about you. But when it comes right down to it, you're already riding horses. That milestone was passed a while ago. Why does it matter what discipline you ride? Have they said?
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2005
    Posts
    32

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    Aw. It must be hard not having parents to cheer you on with your dreams. My best advice is to realize that they are different from you - they don't have the malignant horse-lovers disease - and that it might help if you reached out to them not for monetary support necessarily but for personal support. I suggest you write them a letter describing how important horses and the sport are to you, how they have taught you so much about work, responsibility, etc. aside from the obvious fun. Include little details about your animals and your riding and how all of what you are describing help shaped you into the person you are today. Assure them that you plan to keep things in perspective and continue your education (if that is in your plans), career goals, etc. Try to include your thoughts about them and their own interests to take some of the focus off of yourself.

    As for the barn manager, well, what you describe certainly can't be fun, or productive. You are doing the right thing by moving. The barn should be a place where you can go to decompress and enjoy yourself. Not feel stressed out and disliked. There will always be 'barn politics' however... just be cheerful in your new barn and keep the mouth shut when it comes to any kind of gossip.

    Good luck!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    14,466

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    It's tough at the top! Go get a job, make your own decisions and stop whining.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    36,321

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    Gosh, I don't know what to say except I'm sorry. First I would try to get out of a barn where anyone "hated" me.

    As to lack of parental support, well, it seems to be a very hurtful way they seem to be putting it across. But there are a whole lot of us who managed to do the horse "thing" without parental support, financial, emotional, time-commitment or otherwise.

    If you own a horse and have been able to compete, you're far ahead of where most of us were as teenagers. You might have to go it alone on this one in terms of moral support and even finances. It's do-able. Start with being in a barn where you are happy, and maybe reset your goals and ambitions to suit the new situation.
    Click here before you buy.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    3,105

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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    It's tough at the top! Go get a job, make your own decisions and stop whining.
    Although I'll agree that it's tough, and I don't like whining either, I don't think that's the case here. You say get out, tough up, make your situation better; it's just not always that simple...
    Tin Roof Living- Custom Wreaths & Home Décor
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    59

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    I hope you're happier at your new barn!

    I am also wondering about questions others have already asked, such as: How old are you? Do your parents financially support your horse and your riding (training, lessons, competitions, etc.)? Are you looking for financial or personal support? What exactly do you want from your parents?

    Both of my parents are non-horsey. I do not own a horse and pay for my own competitions, lessons, and other horsey purchases. When I told my parents I wanted to ride and lease a horse over a decade ago, they said that was fine, but that I had to find a way to pay for it. And I did. I worked for $5/hour to pay for my "addiction." Because I didn't have a horse, I apprenticed and trained with a local trainer and learned a huge amount. I also discovered that there are a lot of horses who need to be worked that can help you develop into a better rider. I will say that while my parents are perhaps not necessarily happy about how I spend my time and money, they have learned to survive with it.

    So I certainly believe there are ways of making things happen. Is there a way you could work with your trainer to obtain more lessons? Or perhaps compromise with your parents? I know that it's hard for them to understand why you want to do the "horse thing" if they're not horsey, but maybe if you can show them how hard you work at it and how much you're willing to do, they will come around.

    Good luck!

    Haley



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    1,393

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    I guess I'm having a little trouble being sympathetic. When I was growing up I was very lucky to have parents who were willing to pay for one lesson a week for me and the occasional horseshow (a lot of people never get even that much). If I wanted anything more than that, I had to figure out how to do it myself. Forget about owning or even leasing a horse, in the summers I would ride my bike many miles to the closest stable and help muck and groom or whatever in the hopes that they would sometimes let me ride. I am now 46 years old and paying my own bills and finally trying to position myself where I can maybe own a horse some day. Right now leasing is what I can do. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the gist of your post, but it sounds like your parents are already footing the bill for quite a lot, you seem a little ungrateful perhaps. You should feel very thankful that you have what you do.
    -Debbie / NH

    My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2008
    Location
    Eastern PA
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    331

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    Yes, luckily I own my own horse and I've been allowed to get out to a few competitions this season. I'm not allowed to get a job because I just turned sixteen and it would be one more place for them to drive me. Finances are a bit of an issue, but I'm better off than a bunch of people in this sport at the same level as me. My parents pay for most things since I don't have my own source of income. I've offered to do stalls, etc around my barns to help pay off board, but they see that as me "wasting" more time at the barn.
    I do make my own decisions about riding, but my parents always try to contradict them, even when the decisions come with much guidance from my trainer, who they seem to respect and like! One of my parents has been at each of my events, but they don't provide much support. Once my father was walking a XC course with me and started talking about everything that could go wrong about a fence (in very novice terms mind you) instead of letting me think about how to approach the question and ride it well.
    I try explaining to my parents what a big part of my life riding, and now specifically eventing, is. All I can talk about is riding and I've done SO much research I know a million random facts about it that just randomly come out. It's obvious to everyone how passionate I am, but my parents still think it's a fleeting interest. They're worried about school and college being my priority. I, personally, think that my A's and B's in Honors and AP level classes, along with riding 5 days a week, is balancing my school and riding well, but I guess that's not good enough for them.
    I want to be able to help with financially supporting my riding, and I'd love for my parents to support my ambitions.
    “I always knew I had the ability, I just had to find the horse to get me there.” - Calvin Borel, on riding Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008
    Posts
    876

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    I love my parents but they don't get horses at all. I work and pay for all of my horse's expenses and work my butt off for board and lessons. I don't show because I can't afford it.

    Though I may have the potiential to be a really great rider I have accepted that I can't change my parents minds or these surcumstances. When I am older and out of the house maybe things will change, who knows.

    Just be careful to not take advantage of your parents and what they have already done for you.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,795

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    Quote Originally Posted by takethestage View Post
    Yes, luckily I own my own horse and I've been allowed to get out to a few competitions this season. I'm not allowed to get a job because I just turned sixteen and it would be one more place for them to drive me.
    Time to gain financial independence, m'dear. Scrape up $500 and buy a beater of a car that will get you from A to B. In this economy, they are a dime a dozen.

    If you can't muster the financial creativity to scrape up $500, then your future in eventing (which is a sport for which most young riders rely on sponsors) is very limited, so start busting entrepreneurial butt now. Babysit. Knock on every neighbor's door and offer to wash, wax and detail their cars (a job for which most people will pay handsomely and will be VERY popular this time of year with winter coming). Mow lawns. Clean garages. Rake leaves. Clean gutters. Braid, pull manes, clip coats, clean sheaths, and all the other stuff that most horse owners don't want to do. Spread the word at your barn that you're desperate to raise cash for a beater car to get you the barn--trust me, a sucker like me who heard that would throw you a quick $20 to clean my saddle purely because I've walked in your shoes and I know how it goes.

    Or for that matter, just stop going to shows for awhile and devote that money to purchasing a car. Once you have a car, you can get a job, and once you have steady money coming in, your parents can only do so much to rein you in.

    I'd also be curious to know how explicit you've been with your parents about how much their behavior hurts them. A few off-hand comments here and there is not going to cut it. A sit down, drag out, heart to heart convo is what you need, preferably with your trainer present to back you up.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Posts
    4,343

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    "didn't sign up to parent a Rolex champion or an Olympic rider"
    Supporting a child with big athletic goals is not an easy lifestyle and requires a lot of sacrifice of both time, money and lifestyle. Not every parent wants to spend weekends at horse shows and retirement savings on their kids.

    There are indeed people out there who's parents support them with all their heart and soul. Frankly- its almost a sick relationship. Be glad you don't have pushy riding mom who blogs about you..... Oh- and my parents were rather like yours- they helped pay for my riding, made it clear that it was not a career choice they supported and I was limited to a few shows a season. I rode with girls who's parents supported them- paid for shows every weekend, coached from the sidelines, pushed the girls to show every weekend. Notably- I still ride- my friends got burned out and quit.

    Also, if your parents are paying the bills for this expensive sport and coming to shows- they are supporting you. Be glad you have that in a society where many kids have parents that don't even want to be bothered with providing kids dinner or a safe place for homework.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    12,371

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    Quote Originally Posted by takethestage View Post
    I try explaining to my parents what a big part of my life riding, and now specifically eventing, is. All I can talk about is riding and I've done SO much research I know a million random facts about it that just randomly come out. It's obvious to everyone how passionate I am, but my parents still think it's a fleeting interest. They're worried about school and college being my priority. I, personally, think that my A's and B's in Honors and AP level classes, along with riding 5 days a week, is balancing my school and riding well, but I guess that's not good enough for them.
    I want to be able to help with financially supporting my riding, and I'd love for my parents to support my ambitions.

    I hate to say it...but there isn't anything that you can do. I was lucky and had one horse when I was 10. When I out grew her at age 12....that was it from my parents. I played multiple sports, rode horses 3-4 times a week (on other people's horses) and had all A's and B's in honors and AP classes at a tough school. I got "why don't you have all A's!"

    Be thankful that you have a roof over your head and food in your belly and parents that don't beat you. They have your best interests at heart. They want you to do well in school and have as may opportunities in life....of which horses are only a part. And many of us were very talented riders as teenages as well.....that talent will still be with you when you get older and you are supporting your own horse habit.

    BUT guess what, you don't have to make it to Rolex by the time you are 18. Take what you can learn now....do well in school....and just wait. YOU HAVE TIME! Eventing and horses will still be around when you are in your 20s and paying for things on your own. Would it be easier if your parents supported you more....yes and no (there are usually strings attached).....but it doesn't really matter, and many riders made it to the top with out huge amounts of parental support.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2004
    Location
    Catonsville, MD
    Posts
    6,884

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    jn4jenny, did you catch the part about they won't let her get a job because it would be one more thing to have to drive her to? OP might live somewhere where everything you do entails getting in the car.

    OP, if you are riding at all, you are way ahead of a lot of folks. I couldn't ride until I could pay for all of it myself.

    Can you babysit? Do you have ANY neighbors who need lawn work done, do you have any marketable computer skills? Dogs walked? Get creative about finding income sources that don't require your parents assistance. Don't take what they say to heart, but do buck up and figure out how to get hold of some money. Money == freedom. Good luck.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    5,053

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    Try Pony Club!!

    Among other benefits, one feature of the rallies is that your parents cannot talk to you for the duration of the competition!

    Also, you will get a supportive group of peers and, in many cases, their parents.

    http://easternpa.ponyclub.org/



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    jn4jenny, did you catch the part about they won't let her get a job because it would be one more thing to have to drive her to? OP might live somewhere where everything you do entails getting in the car.
    Unless she truly lives in the armpit of the countryside, I believe I gave suggestions for income that are entirely possible without a vehicle. We ALL have neighbors with garages, kids, cars to wax, etc. YOU even mentioned lawn work, as did I.

    OP, if you truly live somewhere where none of these options are possible, then think about the one piece of income-generating material that you may already have on your hands: your horse. If the horse is a successful jumper, perhaps you could raise funds for the beater car by half-leasing the horse--either to a jumper rider or to an eventing rider who can show the horse the ropes. Half-leasing my horse would never be my first choice, but sometimes you have to make an investment in your horse's future that may not be the most pleasant solution at the time.
    ________________________
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    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2008
    Location
    Eastern PA
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    331

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    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    Time to gain financial independence, m'dear. Scrape up $500 and buy a beater of a car that will get you from A to B. In this economy, they are a dime a dozen.

    I'd also be curious to know how explicit you've been with your parents about how much their behavior hurts them. A few off-hand comments here and there is not going to cut it. A sit down, drag out, heart to heart convo is what you need, preferably with your trainer present to back you up.
    This is going to make me sound awfully spoiled but I have a car already, I'm just unable to get my permit yet, and in my state, you have to drive with your permit for 6 months before you get your license, meaning my parents have to sit in the passenger seat every time I drive, which they see as them basically driving.

    I've been extremely up-front with them about how this is what I've chosen to do and if they don't support it then stop pretending, yet it's had no effect. There's still the half-support of letting me have a horse and paying for board, but then when it comes to asking for a ride to the barn it's "inconvenient" and I'm "wasting my time" by doing odd jobs around the barn.
    “I always knew I had the ability, I just had to find the horse to get me there.” - Calvin Borel, on riding Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2008
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    88

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    The answer is simple. You can't do anything about unsupportive parents. I bought a brand new horse in March(which funny thing is... my mom told me get this one cuz it was fate), and after all that fate talk has yet to even come to the barn and see her. My parents went to my horseshows when I was a little kid and watched, but when I got older and I needed someone to HOLD the horse it became way more difficult, and now I am completely on my own. They don't even come to watch anymore. Its not the WORST situation I've heard of. But it gets frusterating really fast when your parents don't get the whole horse thing. I should be grateful I can do it this time around(2nd horse) financially, without the guilt of having to ask them for money to buy a new halter. Which really sucked. Plus my parents might come to watch xc portion because its more interesting then in a showpen.



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