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Pony dreamland

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  • Pony dreamland

  • #2
    Boy, those numbers are eye-popping. She spent $150k in the little boy's first year of riding?! That is hard to comprehend. I guess maybe that included purchasing a fancy pony (money they can presumably recoup).


    • #3
      I read this and it sounds like the mother is more bent out of shape about the changes than the kid. I missed the $$ part. Obviously if you have the $$ why not spend it .... but if you don't that's an insane amount to pour into a kids hobby.


      • #4
        I clicked through some of embedded links in the post, and it sounded as though her young son had some learning challenges at school and was being bullied; when he showed talent at riding it seemed to pull him out of his shell. The family might have lost perspective for that reason in terms of investing so much into a child's early riding career.

        I'm glad the boy is still riding, and honestly might enjoy his new situation more and will certainly learn more real horsemanship skills. I do sometimes wonder why families without unlimited funds (even some families WITH very deep pockets) automatically gravitate to the most expensive riding/showing situation, especially with very, very young children. But given that there are sadly fewer and fewer barns which cater to non-elite clients (which means that kids who could also benefit from riding like the boy in the article might not be able to ride at all), perhaps I shouldn't.
        Check out the latest Fortune's Fool novel, Courage to the Sticking Place!


        • Original Poster

          What made me grumpy, was when she made a big deal out of him grooming his own pony like she's slumming it.

          I don't care that she had a groom before, or that people do, but don't act like you're down in the dirt barely scrapping by, living on the streets because now he grooms his own pony like the common folk. I felt like it was an insult to the rest of us who show on a lower level.

          Also, the financial strain of your kid showing horses caused your divorce?


          • #6
            I was rolling my eyes even before I got to the $150k figure. What an out of touch, ridiculous blog. I’ve had to scale back on my showing and never once felt the need to try to garner public sympathy. 🙄🙄🙄

            Does sound to me like mom loved being part part of the “elite” in crowd. Seems she is more broken up about it than the kid.


            • #7
              Yes, honestly most kids who love horses WANT to do the grooming/tacking part and often are upset when they are offered help when they need it (like a tiny child who needs assistance putting a saddle on a large pony).

              I've seen even genuinely middle-class parents lose perspective on how much they are spending on their children's competing (versus actual learning how to ride), based on the atmosphere of the barn.
              Check out the latest Fortune's Fool novel, Courage to the Sticking Place!


              • #8
                A kid having trouble at school would probably blossom just as much being given a ranch horse and allowed to go push cows around and explore the back forty. The wonderful effects of horses for kids don't get exponentially better the more money you drop on the project.


                • #9
                  I particularly enjoyed the name-dropping in the article.
                  Save a an organ donor! Visit


                  • #10
                    I agree that the mother seemed more upset about the loss of "status" than her son does. If you want to ride, as the child seemingly does, having access to any pony is wonderful--regardless of how much it cost. Maybe Mom will learn that at the new barn.


                    • #11
                      I've never rolled my eyes harder. Of course it's hard avoiding characters like this in the horse world. Horses cost $$$ so they attract people with $$$. The fact she admits that the spending on the horses is the straw that broke the camels back doesn't help garner any sympathy from me either. I definitely agree with the above sentiments that mom was enjoying the status while the kid just wants to ride.

                      What she doesn't realize is that she's lucky enough to even keep the kid riding. I've known a few kids who had to give horses up entirely to divorce and it's so sad. Hopefully she sees that the kid is moving from one fortunate situation: riding fancy ponies at the biggest shows with the best trainers, to another fortunate situation: riding the ponies that will teach him to ride, learning horsemanship from the ground up, and getting to be a barn kid making friends his own age.


                      • #12
                        I will say that I think her son sounds like a really good kid, who is enjoying his new situation where he can be more of a barn rat.

                        but I’m still sort of shocked by her perspective. I know I shouldn’t be, but I remember going through a phase where my mom couldn’t afford to EAT because after daycare and rent she only had enough left to feed me after her divorce. She nearly wasted away to keep me fed (and landed in the hospital as a result). So it’s hard to read someone so sad about giving up the top level of the sport and paid grooms (especially when the new barn situation sounds so ideal from a kids perspective). It sounds like she really got a bit blinded by the whole lifestyle. I know everyone’s pain and difficulty is unique to them, but it’s hard for me to be objective given what my family has been through.

                        I do wish her son the best, it sounds like he has a bright future, and already has good mentors in his riding life. And I hope the whole family is able to heal, too.
                        "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                        My CANTER blog.


                        • #13
                          Anybody who prioritizes their child’s hobby over their marriage has their perspective way out of whack.
                          "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu


                          • #14
                            This entire blog confuses me, especially since we’re taking about a young kid on ponies.

                            High end boots aren’t $5000. Top of the line full custom boots are closer to half that and no one wearing them is mucking stalls. Half the pony kids don’t even wear tall boots!

                            You can get a perfectly respectable medium pony for much much much less than 150k. Average ponies are actually relatively affordable vs average horses. It’s weird to me that that is her benchmark.

                            Honestly, it sounds like both the kid and the mom might be happier at the new place. It sounds like they got thrown to the wolves very early on and don’t realize that such a high end show barn is not the only, or even the most popular, option.


                            • #15
                              As a pony mom (who also rides) - I've been mulling over the article.

                              First reaction: Major eye roll. (Can we name drop a little more, please? You don't have a groom- boo hoo )
                              Second reaction: She's writing it to try to get some pony hand outs. ( my kid is fantastic- anyone want to give me stuff for free or discount?)
                              Third reaction: mom created hashtags for her son to gain McLain's attention? [facepalm].

                              I'm going to attempt some compassion- I wish she would look at this as the chance of a lifetime. She has been on the AA side- grooms, trainers warming up your ponies, overnight hotels, ponies (and horses) worth more than my annual salary. It may be hard to not get caught up in that for some people. Plus she has a lot of other changes going on in her life.

                              Now she can take a breath. No shell shock from an AA show bill. No feeling you have to buy the new Helmet X or Jacket Y to keep up. Your kid is loving riding. He is loving getting his hands dirty, riding for the LOVE OF RIDING. Not riding just to show. It is an amazing experience for a kid. It sounds to me as if the kid has a lot to teach the mom.

                              The article is amazingly tone deaf. It is something you may lament to your friends or family behind closed doors or over your mocha-frozen-cinnamon-20 dollar latte- not published by the Plaid Horse. Keep blogging about your son- he's a good kid, a good sport- but for the love of god consider changing HOW you present yourself and your situation.
                              Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                              • #16
                                I can always rely on coth for actual reality. I'm not sure if anyone saw the comments on facebook, but everyone was propping up Mom, saying she did the right thing, only wanting the best for her kid. And calling people trolls for saying she was tone deaf and out of touch.

                                So tone deaf and a perfect example of keeping up with the Jones.


                                • #17
                                  I wish I could spend 150k in a year on horses.


                                  • #18
                                    Guys, I'm going to weigh in here. I am one of the trainers mentioned in her piece, so I know this family personally unlike most of you. They are a very nice family, a loving family. The child discovered horses and blossomed. This family believed that "the sport" was his passion and the highest levels were his destiny. They tried to do everything right to help him reach his dream. They made some mistakes and it cost them dearly. They made the same mistakes that a lot of people make because they didn't know any better. Ziggy's goal was to learn enough to be a working student, not get a hand out as some of you have rudely suggested.

                                    Unlike a lot of you, I found Megan's piece to be poignant and beautiful. It's kinda like the whole Prince Harry and Megan Markle thing. Why are people so hateful about them? Why must you all pile on this woman who only wanted to help her son achieve his dream? She didn't pay bribes to get her kid into Harvard. She didn't cheat. She tried hard. She ultimately realized that she was in over her head and that she couldn't keep up. She needed to step back and be realistic. I think that's healthy. I wish them all the best.

                                    It wouldn't hurt you COTHers to be nice.

                                    "There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us." Edgar Cayce


                                    • #19
                                      Jsalem unless a post was deleted i don't see anyone saying Ziggy was looking for a handout. In fact the posts all seem tone pointing the finger at the mother not Ziggy. He is in my eyes innocent ion this whole thing. The Mom in the article makes it very clear she reached out for hand outs. she mentions contacting an organization that appears to offer riding opportunities for those less fortunate. and it sounds like they turned her away. She clearly doesn't want to let that AA show life go, and now she has to scrap and work for it, and that may not be as fun. I enjoy the hands on part of horse showing and the one time i spent money on a groom it was kinda of a waste, as all they did was clean my stall and hold my horse while i bathed him. I just like putting my hands on my horse and tacking up and yes even cleaning out their stall. You learn and know so much about your horse that way. I know before i even throw al eg over his back what his mood is, if he is tight or sore anywhere.

                                      I think the everyday rider needs to remember that The Plaid Horse is up there with the Noelle Floyd's of the horse industry blogger/online publications. It isn't COTH or Practical Horseman.. its catering to a very select audience and that is the elite AA show patrons. Its basically the Kardashians version of COTH... nothing wrong with it, everyone enjoys some light entertainment, but I don't really feel like it speaks for the average equestrian. at least not this average equestrian.


                                      • #20
                                        While I understand the hardships suddenly observed and I feel bad; why do we live in a world where parents are constantly trying to give their kids the best of everything? $150k in 1 year of showing is absurd. Maybe not for those who have endless cash to blow on whatever they choose. And I can understand wanting to see your kid succeed and follow their dreams; but at one point does wanting to make have your dreams come true become not making responsible adult decisions?

                                        I was raised in a well-off family and my sister and I rode competitively. We were raised in barns with lots of "projects". Lots of potential, fancy prospects but they were certainly projects. Never once did our parents shell out six figures for us to show yearly. Never once did a groom tack or manage our horses at shows or at home. Never once did our parents buy us six figure horses or all the lavish things that others within the industry never put a second thought towards. Could our parents afford it? Yes they probably could've. But I commend our parents for not doing so. We learned more from riding whatever was put in front of us. We learned more from showing those types too. Everyone wants to win but no one wants to actually put forth the work into an animal to get them to that point. Its much more rewarding when you get to that point. I am thankful to our parents for never spending more than 4 figures on horse. They were very fancy but had no mileage, very green and it was our responsibility that if we wanted to ride and show; we took the opportunity and made something of it. We groomed our own everyday and polished the feet on show day and sometimes we even learned how to braid ourselves. We tacked them up and held them ringside.

                                        Sometimes trying to make sure your childs dreams come true is giving them an avenue to get there but ensuring they know the responsibility they must take on to put in the elbow grease, take pride in their mount, and work hard to get there.

                                        So many people think that buying the six figure winning pony, all the top outfits, a groom on staff, etc is making their kids dreams come true. Lets go back to the basics and let the kid be thankful to have a super nice green prospect in the barn that was purchased for 5k and let the child work towards making it happen. Putting all the shiny objects out on a silver platter is not building young horsemen and women. Maybe the child is just as happy to gallop around the local C show to get miles and do 1 or 2 big shows a year.

                                        This is coming from someone (and their sibling) whos parents generously spent minimal amounts of money on cheap, green fancy prospects and helped cover the feed, vet, training bills while children were responsible for daily grooming and all of their own show prep even at the biggest finals in the country. You can still live your dreams f showing at the big big shows and do it pretty affordably. You don't need to follow the crowd of the uber-wealthy just to fit in.

                                        I agree, wholeheartedly, with Mclains statement.