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What to do? Working student/half lease situation

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  • What to do? Working student/half lease situation

    So the arrangement: in trying to help 2 working students have as much opportunity as they can on their famiy's very tight budget, offered them a half lease on a horse. Horse cost very little, under a grand, so family's each paid for half of the horse, and then are responsible for dentals and 1/3 of any additional veterinary care horse may need. I pay for all of the horse keeping related costs, and use horse for lessons. Students work 4 hours a week plus one saturday a month, and this brings them one lesson a week, use of the horse, and first dibs to any shows.

    The horse, granted, has needed work. The fact that the horse is a project, and something that would take time and commitment, was discussed and accepted by everyone from the start (neither family was in a position to pay for a made horse). Student A has been amazing, comes and rides 4+ times a week, is very good at being told what to work on and why (when either girl is schooling on their own, I "conveniently" have work to do by the arena and offer help if it looks like they need it) and she puts in extra time and effort continually. Her parents frequently thank me for giving their kid the opportunities she has been given, when they normally wouldn't be able to afford even infrequent lessons. And for this kid, I am happy to do it and will continue to do so.

    Student B, although a nice kid and has talent, has needed constant, what feels to me to be, nagging. If left to her own devices, she will show up to work and ride during her lesson and that is it. We just finished spring break here and she didn't come down once to ride. Family has been known to voice that they wish she was progressing more quickly, which I can completely understand: they have been with this horse for nearly a year now and the horse is still needing work to be considered finished, but I honestly cannot afford to let this kid ride one of my schoolies for zero money and not a whole lot of work ethic. I have told them that I would completely understand if they wanted to try a different barn, that I understood their frustrations and wish the horse had been easier, too. They have chosen to stay (don't know if they have much choice, though). Kid and parents keep insisting she loves to ride and wants to go far.

    I tried all of the following last year, multiple times, to get this kid to accept the work and at least put in some effort:

    Told her that regardless of the level of the horse, she would still be expected to ride at least 4 days a week if she want to continue to show. Whether she rides a veteran schoolie or not.

    That like any other sport, she needs to ride to get better.

    Held open a time slot every afternoon when leasers can ride and school as much as they please outside if lessons.

    Told her that MAYBE if she rode more than once a week the horse may progress a lot quicker.

    Designed Goal sheets, with daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal goal planning. Offered a gift card to the girl that accomplished monthly and seasonal goals (guess who that went to).

    E-mailing, texting, talking, talking, talking.

    The above tactics worked fairly well last year, but after taking the winter off, trying to decide how hard I am going to try this year. She has yet to voluntarily ride more than once a week, and everyone else has been in full training for a couple of months now.

    I am just tired of trying to get this kid to put in the work, tired of trying to figure out how to motivate her. Clearly, I need a different approach, or the enabling to cut off the arrangement.

    Help???

  • #2
    Sit down and set minimum requirements you can live with. Say at this point, you cannot continue to keep reminding her and if she isn't able to keep on top of it on her own then you will take it as saying she does not wish the arrangement to continue.

    As a recent ammy who struggled to find opportunities as a junior and worked very hard at any I was given, I have little sympathy for those who do not put in the time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Honestly there are so many deserving kids out there that are willing to work day and night for rides on a horse, that that's just plain unacceptable. You really need to let her and her parents know that you can't continue to give free rides without a minimum amount of work.
      Mendokuse

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you, Rel6 and hunterrider; you both are fortifying my resolve to either get this girl to start proving she wants a ride and is willing to work for it, or for everyone to start thinking about moving on. It is very frustrating.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with all said here except, how are both of them supposed to ride the horse 4+ times a week? Or is that 4+ times a week on school horses, etc? Maybe she only rides once since she knows the other girl is riding all the other days?

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Bedazzle, they sometimes overlap days, in which case each girl schools horse for 20-30 minutes or so the same day, rather than closer to an hour if not sharing that day. It's not ideal, I grant you, but it seemed to work alright.

            ETA; girls knew arrangment before deciding to lease, that just because one if them had already ridden didn't mean the horse couldn't be ridden twice.

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with the above posters. Sit down with her and her parents. Go over your concerns, exactly what you said above, and it looks like it is time for an ultimatum. I am on the other end of that situation, as the one leasing. I work it off, also, but I always ride the horse on my days and to the best of my ability. I have other horses to ride occasionally. Many kids would give an arm and a leg for that opportunity, and if one teen doesn't want to work for it, I am sure you will be able to another a deserving teen with good work ethic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by eastendjumper View Post
                Bedazzle, they sometimes overlap days, in which case each girl schools horse for 20-30 minutes or so the same day, rather than closer to an hour if not sharing that day. It's not ideal, I grant you, but it seemed to work alright.

                ETA; girls knew arrangment before deciding to lease, that just because one if them had already ridden didn't mean the horse couldn't be ridden twice.
                With that bit of info, then yes she needs to step up for sure!

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks, all! Will plan a chat here soon.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I seriously doubt said horse needs to be ridden 8x per week?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eastendjumper View Post
                      It's not ideal, I grant you, but it seemed to work alright.
                      Or maybe it is not working alright?

                      I know you are planning a chat with the girl and that is what I would have suggest.
                      If she is interrested in riding maybe there is something bothering her about the sharing the horse that way. Maybe they could ride the horse each 3 days a week?
                      Doesn't matter if she was told it would be like that to begin with, she couldn't know how it would be for real.
                      Maybe there is something going between your two working students. Maybe she feels the other one is prefered?
                      A little jealousy between tweens in frequent (and normal!), she could also possibly be in her teenager crisis.
                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                      HORSING mobile training app

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WingsOfAnAngel View Post
                        I seriously doubt said horse needs to be ridden 8x per week?
                        If two days overlap, and they're only riding 30 minutes each, that's only 4 hrs a week. If they ride 1 hour on the days it doesn't over lap, then it's 6 hours a week. Not that much time for an horse in shape or in training. My hunter gets ridden 6 days a week for an hour, and a lot of upper level show horses (particularly show jumpers) get ridden or exercised twice in a day. As long as the horse is well taken care of and sound, I see no problem with 4-6 hours of work a week. And then less if this other WS isn't riding as often as she needs to.
                        Mendokuse

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Alibi_18, you are spot in, there was quite a bit if drama between the girls, of which I heard about/ talked with them about frequently, and found solutions for the problems as they popped up. The girls were honest and forthright, which helped, and fortunately the sharing of the schooling time never became an issue. I certainly try not to play favorites, but I can see how that could be a factor and will check myself as I work with them.

                          We bought a second project horse about a month ago, that Student A is taking on, leaving Student B with sole lease benefits of the first horse. Her family and her were thrilled that she essentially has her own horse now, and it will make my life easier, too! But, despite this, the kid is still not riding outside of her lessons unless I say "Hey, its beautiful out! Want to ride?"

                          Disclaimer, too, talked with mom and kid over the winter break, when she wasn't even coming over to visit, how they were feeling about everything. They said she was needing a break but was looking forward to diving in again in the spring. At her last lesson, asked her if she was feeling good about the horse, specifically, and kid said she was feeling good about everything. I was looking for a clues as to why she wasn't doing more and didn't sense any red flags, but hopefully something comes up when we talk that can be addressed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have been there and dealt with both types. Have your talk with the rider and her family, but do not be surprised when things don't change. If things remain the same, draw your line in the sand, and enforce it. Life is too short. Focus your efforts and energy on the committed rider. They are hard to come by.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I wound have loved to have had that much ride time for that little of work growing up. My only thoughts are 1) any chance she may have gotten spooked by project horse? Even as an adult it's hard to admit, but if your riding with another teen there is always that pressure to do as well; 2) is she just being a distractible teen? Maybe her love of horses just is not as strong as other social etc pressures in her life. Hope you can get her on board, she will likely regret wasting such a great opportunity later.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thank you everyone for your posts. Yes, hopefully we find a solution soon!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm going to be a little of devil's advocate....is it your "rule" they ride 4 times a week? And the horse is used in lessons? Just trying to get the whole picture. It seems like it is feeling to the kid as more of a chore, than fun. Then again, winter riding sucks, for some. Maybe the spring and summer will bring a beter attitude.

                                  It sounds like, in general, this was a 3 way win. The girls get to ride their "own" horse and you have a horse for lessons. Because, according to the first post, you were going to use the horse in lessons, even though he needed work. (?)

                                  Even if it was not a lease, some kids/people are more motivated than others. Yes, most of us would have killed for the chance this kid is getting, but who know what is going on in the teenage-hormonal mind.
                                  THe one thing I caution, don't compare the kids in the sit down meeting. That will not go over well, even if she sits there smiling.

                                  I'd approach it more as "I'm setting the show schedule for the season. Are you interested in showing?" Insert answer here. "Yes? OK, I think we need a game plan to get Dobbin and you ready for the season." "No? OK, well let's work out a schedule when you are going to get to come and ride so we don't schedule him for lessons blah blah.

                                  Good luck. I think you are very kind.
                                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks, Pennywell, you make very good points that I will keep in mind.

                                    Horse is used infrequently for lessons, mainly for students ready to learn a
                                    little bit about retraining a horse (ottb) and/or ready for a bit mor of a challenge than what my veteran point-and-shoot lesson horses offer. This spring, horse has been excellent and progressing much more quickly than last year, so I anticipate I will be able to use her quite a bit more soon; another good reason for letting Student A lease another horse, so we don't overload this one.

                                    It wasn't necessarily a set rule that they ride 4x a week, more of a request. I advised that they hack one day, dressage one day, poles/cavaletti one day, and then o/f work at their lesson. It was presented to them that this might be a nice schedule to follow to avoid boredom and to best try to give this horse a solid foundation, as well as give them the saddle time they should have to improve themselves.

                                    How do the other trainers on here decide how to handle these types of arrangements? Am I the only one who would like to see students that are both leasing and competing ride several times a week, especially when they come to you and tell you they would like to be competitive? I feel that teens, especially, seem to commit more easily if they have goals to aim for, but may have a hard time mapping out how to achieve those goals without a somewhat set schedule to follow.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You know, I feel your pain. I had a kid who boarded with me who had a fantastic pony. It was pulling teeth for her to ride and still is. She likes to ride, but its not THAT passion so many of us had as kids. She shows half heartedly (schooling shows, not circuit). She's there, but not THERE.

                                      It comes down for you (I think), do you have the time/desire/patience to have that kind of rider in your barn? If you do- great. Some instructors are ok with that. Some just don't have the time for the fair weather riders. And THAT'S ok! Trying to get a rider to be something she's not will make you both miserable.

                                      I think you are a very caring instructor to be thinking this through.
                                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Talk is cheap. Either the rider wants to come out to the barn & work & be with the horses or they don't. I think everybody says oh yeah they want it sooooo bad, but when push comes to shove only some are willing to really commit.
                                        "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

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