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parental involvment in riding/showing

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  • parental involvment in riding/showing

    Has anyone noticed that parents seem way more involved than they used to be with their kid's riding and showing? maybe I should say "over - involved"?

    I remember my parents going to shows to watch me - but they did not usually stay for lessons or hover around the barn while i cared for my pony - they simply cheered me on, as well as my barnmates and that was that - now as an adult observing parents it really just amazes me that some parents just hover around the barn and get ultra involved with their kid's riding affairs and in the meantime they tend to stir up barn drama. I just don't remember this growing up - maybe it did happen and I was just not aware of it - but it definitely seems more prevalent today!

    Just wanted to take a temperature reading to see if it is just an isolated observation on my part....

  • #2
    Yes, i notice this too. Granted, I'm a junior (well, almost 18) so I haven't been around for "back in the day" when parents didnt hover. I know my mom used to stay and watch my lessons and hang out in the viewing room and chat with other moms, but a long time ago she stopped coming because i'd be spending more time at the barn and she had better things to do. But yes, I do find that parents very often hang around in the office/viewing room and yes it absolutely can create drama if there is something to talk about

    i think it also has a lot to do with the idea that you can't leave your kids alone as much "today" anymore. you know? i know when i was little, i pretty much walked out the door and said i'll be back later, and i played outside all day and went up and down the street, into the woods, pretty much wherever and my parents weren't worried. as i got older, i began to see fewer kids playing outside, and a lot more rules regarding just going outside (for other kids, imean). I live in a good neighborhood. But I feel like a lot of parents these days feel like their children will absolutely disappear or SOMETHING bad will happen, if mommy is not right there the whole time.

    However, I don't think it's WRONG for a parent to be actively involved in riding. I mean, I prefer it for my mom to stay home, because she really just asks too many stupid questions to the wrong people and yeah, i know, she TRIES to learn a little but i always want to say "couldnt you just ask ME that? i am RIGHT HERE. you just asked A REALLY STUPID QUESTION TO MY TRAINER." I know, unfair of me but i guess theres a tiny bit of "mooooooooooOOOOOmm YOURE SO EMBARRASSING!" left in me
    (|--Sarah--|)

    Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

    Comment


    • #3
      My parents don't really come to my shows but I've noticed that the parents of the girls I ride with are always around! They are there from the beginning of the day until the end! In the middle of the day they have their little "parent parties" as I like to call them, where they all gather to eat, drink, and gossip outside the tack room(where the show curtains and chairs and stuff are set up). But most of the time they're actually pretty helpful. Heck, they're better than the grooms sometimes and are always around to get some good show pics! I really can't complain about the show parents at my barn; they usually know when to back off and not get in the trainer's way of coaching during shows.

      Comment


      • #4
        I know that I used to spend a lot of time at my daughters barn - mainly because I had to drive her to her lessons and if I wanted to leave, by the time I dropped her off and either went back or did errands there was very little time and I spend all day driving. I got a new dog and I would then spend my time at the barn watching a little and walking my dog around the barn - the dog liked the excercise and it gave me something to do. When my daughter got her drivers licensed it ended the need for me to go to the barn except when I decide to watch her on occasion. I enjoy the shows though... including watching and cheering on all the riders at the barn not just my daughter.
        The ultimate horse mom

        http://www.youtube.com/user/LeeB110

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        • #5
          I appreciate parents who are interested in what their child is doing (maybe because my parents never really bought into the whole horse thing) but they don't need to be involved. Does that make sense? One of the best thing about horses is what it teaches children, and an over-involved parents gets in the way of that learning.

          However, I think parents are too involved in every area of life! You'd be amazed how many parents call up teachers, bosses, etc to handle their children's problems. I can't tell you how many times I had parent's call me at work (we only hire 18 and up) to say their child is quitting, is sick, can't come to a meeting...

          I'm also president of our college equestrian team (please re-read: COLLEGE team, as in ADULTS) and last year we had a parent of a 21 year old student call us to tell us DD didn't like our (minimal) rules.
          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

          Comment


          • #6
            I started showing 50+ years ago. My parents, (my mother especially) were always very involved in all my horse and show activites. My parents bred QHs, though and usually were sending horses down the road with the trainer.

            I've noticed at my current barn that the parents drop the kids off and let them hang out and bug the hell out of everyone. On the weekends the little ankle biters are there ALL day. Get this parents...the barn is NOT your day care center. Sheesh...

            Sorry...off on a tangent there for a minute.

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            • #7
              When I was a junior, my parents paid the bills, but rarely attended out of town shows. I spent weeks on end with my trainer, either at her house or hotel rooms. Luckily, she is an incredible person who's turned out to be a very close friend to me in my adulthood.

              However, I do see a lot of parents of young teenagers who are the "helicopter" parents- they're constantly with their kids, not only observing, but putting pressure on Junior to "do well". I think this is a real shame considering the fact that riding is supposed to be fun- how many kids have I seen totally lose interest after mom scolds them one too many times for doing something "wrong".

              I understand the commitment that parents make to riding, and think it's reasonable to expect a child to take it seriously. But it's mom or dad's job to realize when he/she is taking it more seriously than their kid. And then it's probably time to back off...
              Here today, gone tomorrow...

              Comment


              • #8
                GRowing up my mom WAS the trainer, so she was always around, we also owned and managed the barn so we were together a lot! My friends all boarded there and their parents were NEVER around, some even forget to come get their daughters until late at night.
                Now I am in the same position, my girls ride at my parents farm and I am there with them the whole time, my youngest is only 6 so she still needs help and supervision. We have two girls who ride at our farm in exchange for doing barn chores and their families are never there, they both drive so they don't need rides ect. They do show up to horse shows and they all sit together but there is no drama, which is one advantage to having a smaller barn and group of riders.
                When we were kids we created enough drama WITHOUT the parents, so I am glad they weren't around.
                Kim
                If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was definitely the "latch key kid" of the barn-- for worse but also for way, way better.

                  There were a few "very involved" parents that I remember back in the 80s. What I notice this that there are more of these. The parents who do hover aren't the ones who know what they are doing (as was true back in the day for the hard-core show moms and dads.)

                  My pet peeve is the parent who tries to micromanage the kid's relationship with the trainer and progress with riding or showing. If you want to put in the time it takes to learn why your pro does what she does with your kid, go for it. If you merely swoop in to complain about your kid being unhappy or not winning, it's a bad thing. And modern, concerned but busy parents don't seem have the time or faith in the pro it takes to become educated.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Though getting involved in juvenile barn dramas or interfering with your child's trainer or modeling unsportsmanlike behavior by complaining about the judge are obviously not good things, riding and particularly showing at a high level take an incredible amount of commitment from the entire family, including the non-riders. When I got back into riding after more than twenty years one thing that struck me was that those of my peers who stuck with it, several of whom are now very successful professional riders, are by and large those whose parents were most involved in their riding.

                    From what I remember too, it was not necessarily a good idea, at least in the late 70s/early 80s, for parents to send their young teens on the road with an over-worked trainer. We certainly had a lot of fun, though I'm not sure I'd want my kids to do some of the things we did.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Alot of parents might be hanging around the barn because the commute might be too far (and too expensive) so it wouldn't make sense to drop kids off only to come back in another hour- too much driving. At my barn if the BM/BO isn't home, they cannot ride w/o an adult present (Liability). For shows it depends - the trainer's truck can only hold so many people so if there are a number of horses going the kids have to get there somehow. Depending on what time the kids' classes might be - parents prefer to drive to show instead of before dawn type of thing. Thats a couple of reasons why parents are around. My barn is a pretty small h/j barn and we have a great group of kids and parents. I personally think it's nice that the parents come out to support their kids. None of them are "backstage moms" Only one parent irritates me and thats because he thinks smoking cigars is cool (not in barn,maybe I would think the same if cigar smoke didn't give me brutal headaches)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EAY View Post
                        From what I remember too, it was not necessarily a good idea, at least in the late 70s/early 80s, for parents to send their young teens on the road with an over-worked trainer. We certainly had a lot of fun, though I'm not sure I'd want my kids to do some of the things we did.
                        I was going to bring that up. I don't think it is the worst idea in the world for parents to want to keep an eye on their kids at the barn or at shows.
                        Roseknoll Sporthorses
                        www.roseknoll.net

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          after reading all of these posts I agree that more parents are probably involved with their kids than they used to be for all things (sports, school, getting into college, etc) and yes, it is great to be interested and support your child - parents are their child's advocate and cheerleader
                          - it is just that there does seem to be, as someone put it, more "helicopter parents" these days - it has probably stemmed from various reasons both healthy and unhealthy reasons = but it is more noticeable than I remember.

                          supervising and watching kids seems necessary in some instances that is for sure - whether it is for interest or protection - i guess it is really just the "micro-managing" and becoming overly invovled when it is supposed to be fun - or starting "barn drama" that disappoints me - it is like they live for that.............

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you want to see parents PRODUCTIVELY involved, take the kids to a Pony Club Rally. Parents are not allowed in the barn, can't help the kids tack up/get dressed, can't make sure they do chores and get to places on time. They can only talk to their kids in "neutral zones." Parents volunteer for specific tasks (jump crew, horse management judge, chaperone, etc) and must stick to this task. Since the parents are volunteering for these jobs it helps keep costs down. Horse management volunteers are the only ones in the barn supervising the kids and judging them on horse care. Shockingly, the kids manage to take excellent care of their horses (and are reprimanded by HM and must correct it if not). The kids with those over-involved parents are so excited to go to rally & get away from their parents. It's a very different atmosphere.

                            Since my mom grew up Pony Club mom she still just lets me do my own thing. She shows up bearing drinks, snacks, and a video camera if she can come (I'm in college now & 5 hours from home). My dad is the expert trailer driver and helps me unload the heavy stuff, then leaves to go fishing and only comes back right before my rounds.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have noticed this a lot on my local circuit.

                              Personally, I do enjoy having my mom come with me to the barn or a show (She used to come ALL THE TIME, now its just occasionally). She can be very helpful and has learned quite a bit since I first started "teaching her" My dad on the other hand..... I dont like bringing him to the barn/shows. He usually just has criticism--
                              "Why is Moonie's coat so faded?"
                              "Dad, he's a palomino paint--he has always been yellow."

                              "You should really slow down. I can tell you arent in control."
                              "Dad, I swear, I AM IN CONTROL."

                              Oh and I HAVE to tell this story: My dad was sitting watching one of my lessons with the barn owner. The barn owner says, "That horse is rushin'." (As in rushing jumps). And then my dad says, "Wow, you got him all the way from Russia?"
                              "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                There is a fine line between interest/involvement and interference by a rider's parent -

                                We have always approached DD's riding as a team effort - trainer, rider, parent - we all do something to reach whatever goal has been set. Barn drama is counterproductve and so is avoided as it undermines the whole project.

                                The parents who aren't involved in their rider's program either from a lack of interest or knowledge can be the biggest problem since they don't understand procedures and etiquette or just plain have too much time on their hands.

                                Idle chatter (gossip) is just a way to kill time while their kids ride - maybe if someone gave them a job to do it would be time better spent and help them to understand how things work too.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by EAY View Post
                                  From what I remember too, it was not necessarily a good idea, at least in the late 70s/early 80s, for parents to send their young teens on the road with an over-worked trainer. We certainly had a lot of fun, though I'm not sure I'd want my kids to do some of the things we did.
                                  Agreed. My last junior year was 2006 and my parents def were not the hovering type. My first multiple week away show was when I was 11 or so and my parents sent me off with my two ponies, my trainer, my best friend and a cell phone. There were enough parents that did go that I had supervision but I was still pretty much on my own.

                                  I spent most of my junior years on the road at the bigger circuits. By the time we were all 16 we didn't have any parents tagging along at all since we could drive ourselves. They might fly in to watch us in the Sunday classics but that was it. My friends and I never got into real trouble but we did some pretty dumb things looking back on it. It was a blast and I treasure my memories from that time but I can see where having some parents around may have not been a bad thing.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by breezy28 View Post
                                    now as an adult observing parents it really just amazes me that some parents just hover around the barn and get ultra involved with their kid's riding affairs and in the meantime they tend to stir up barn drama. I just don't remember this growing up - maybe it did happen and I was just not aware of it - but it definitely seems more prevalent today!

                                    well, I drive and hour one way so my daughter can get some "outside" time with kids her age at a low key barn with a tried and true instructor...she gets intimidated sometimes by always riding with adults, so we need some courage via companionship and peer pressure

                                    while lots of them seem to know us (via our hay farm) I don't know a soul there except the barn owner and the instructor...we go at "off times" thru the week...Tues/Wed sometimes Fri at 4pm

                                    I would NEVER leave my 11 yo unattended off my own farm.....I make a point to not hover over her, but as I do know something about horses I get to hold the critter while tacking or untacking on occasion...

                                    I do not interject while she is in the ring riding, unless the instructor asks me to "what words do you use for <eyes up, change of rein> "and so on...she can try too hard and that puts things off so we <instructor and I> talk about how anxious she gets and how to ward that off....

                                    and many times I make a point to say to her I am going <bathroom,car,somewhere> and will be right back and she always has to quiz me "did you see me jump ?" did you see me <x>"

                                    I actually did from a distance, but she can ride here but she needs other children...not me in the saddle with her

                                    and on Fri before the snow it was just her and two working students that were well advanced past her level and I went into the ring and stayed with the instructor and we had nice conversations about all of the kids...had there been another adult there I would not have done that as someone would have been offended no doubt...

                                    IN FACT,our first time ever there in a group lesson another mommy thought my child was getting too much attention apparently and YELLS from across the ring

                                    "when does the lesson start?? I hope I'm not paying for this yet..!!"

                                    Calvin and I were stunned, but just looked away as if we did not hear her and he said later had any member of his family acted that way in public he'd have had a conniption fit...I also would have been totally ashamed...

                                    but, it seems just par for her course...my lord, it's a 90 min lesson lady... and there are 4 kids there...if it's such drama to you, then pay $25 more dollars and have a private lesson...but we said nothing and hopefully are better for it...

                                    but that is one reason we will go thru the week instead...as I have no interest in having my child around that sort of person

                                    best
                                    Last edited by Tamara in TN; Dec. 6, 2009, 11:21 AM.
                                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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                                    • #19
                                      The parents at my last barn spent a lot of time helping their kids- grooming etc. Some even rode. I think they enjoyed sharing something with their kids. They seemed nice and really didn't have that much to say about riding or competing, and were low drama.

                                      My mom would drop me off and leave, so its weird to see a mom tack up a pony. But I think it is nice, as long as they enjoy the time and don't get pushy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        IME it hasn't really changed over the years. When I was a junior many moons ago, there were basically three groups: hovering, annoying parents who micromanage their kids and create drama; nicely and politely involved parents who support and cheer their kids and the other kids on; and parents that you never see. Still the same today from what I've observed. Personally, I prefer the politely involved group - some level of supervision is helpful when you have lots of kids at a show, but not so much involvement that the kid is distracted by the parent's presence or so little that the kid is running wild, whether it's a little one getting in everyone's way or an older junior sneaking beers from the exhibitor's party or flirting with the ring crew guys
                                        Please don't sabotash my conchess.

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