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I just hate...

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  • I just hate...

    ...getting emails like this.
    From my sister-in-law out in the midwest to my husband:

    I've told you about "Jane's" daughter "Annie" who lives out there and is lonely. Well, "Jane" will be emailing you to see if you would let her boys (ages 7 and 9) ride your horses. "Annie" grew up around horses and misses them.. etc etc etc etc."

    I don't have anything suitable for beginners, I certainly have nothing patient and kind enough for a child, and I really don't fancy getting into the whole family open-can-of-worms my unavoidable refusal will bring.

    Think I'm going to refer them to our local 4H barn and hope for the best. That will be better than having to run the risk of a bad experience.

  • #2
    Do those kids even want to ride? Sounds like "Annie" is the one who wants to be around horses again.
    Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


    • #3
      Just tell them that your horses are not kid friendly and that they should find a stable that gives lessons with lesson horses.


      • #4
        I cringe when I get messages like this.

        Although 17 years ago that is how I met my husband. A friend of a friend volunteered my horses and he was way to nice to say no to. Luckily he could actually ride well enough.


        • #5
          I carefully explain that my homeowners and or Liability insuarance DOES NOT cover begineer riders.


          • #6
            I hate it too. It's like asking someone if your son could drive their motorcycle because he has always wanted to.

            It's one thing if they just want to come have a visit and pet them as a one time thing. But when I get inquiries as if my horses are a free rental string, I direct the person to the nearest lesson barn.

            I had to work and pay to ride when I was a kid. Guess what...your kids do too.


            • #7
              I would just politely recommend a barn in the area that can accommodate beginner riders, and explain that it would be unsafe to put a child with no experience on your horses. If you actually like these people, though, you could always offer to have the kids out for a closely supervised grooming lesson or something (pending, of course, the safety requirements of this activity).
              Here today, gone tomorrow...


              • #8
                Add me to the list who hate that. I'm finally about to have my own barn in my backyard, and the first thing the neighbor kids wanted to know is if they could ride my horses. Maybe it's because I'm just not a kid person, but just annoys the heck out of me.

                My horse who would have been ok for that passed away. I plan on getting an OTTB, so at least now I have a good excuse to say no!

                Honestly though....there's a lot of reasons to avoid that, especially if your horses are not beginner safe. Just explain that's it's too huge a liability risk.
                <3 Vinnie <3
                Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred


                • #9
                  Those requests are very very poor taste. I definitely agree with that. Social manners are a thing of the past.

                  However, it is a fine line we walk when trying to be good embassadors for equestrians in general and helping to get new and young folks involved with horses. (the more the merrier...or at least the better for all aspects of equine related economy and lobbying )

                  While in very bad taste to assume it's perfectly fine to offer other people's horses as some sort of free amusement to others (or for themselves) it's usually best to explain nicely but firmly once that we might not have beginner safe animals and a 1/2 ton animal can be very unsafe around beginners through no fault of their own, just part of being a 1/2 ton animal.
                  Then direct them to nearby 4H, FFA through school or Pony Club. Or nearby lesson barns if that's what they're looking for or nearby trail riding places if that's all they want. Smile sweetly as you explain that you're sorry that these may cost them a bit of money, but the massive amounts of insurance the horse professionals have to carry cause this. And that your own insurance cannot cover that high a risk and you're not covered.

                  Then call the person who suggested your farm as a free-for-all pony ride place for someone else's children and give them holy hell.

                  I usually handle it by trying my best to stay as upbeat and positive as possible and really chatter on about helping them get involved with horses in some way, shape or form. Because I do like to encourage that as much as possible. I also do start the conversation in a joking manner by stating, "Sure your kids can come ride my horses when I can borrow your car for a week! Ha ha ha, just kidding! Unfortunately no, my insurance would drop me like a hot potato if I had anyone other than immediate family on a horse on my property. And there's a huge difference between my horses and rental horses. It would be kind of like taking your toddler of his tricycle and putting him on a racing motorcycle, too dangerous. But let's definitely see what we can do to find a way for your little ones to ride!"

                  Some of the folks have ended up friends, some have gone on to get involved with horses for their kids (and now call and yell at me for how addictive and expensive it is, LOL) and the rest who really had no interest other than weaseling a free ride disappeared and I wasn't sorry to see them go.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • #10
                    I have a couple of horses patient and gentle enough for a beginner child. As long as I had said child on a lead rein, because they're too big for children to guide effectively with their short little legs.

                    If anyone thinks I'm a) getting out in this ungodly heat to give their child a lead rein ride for free; or b) once the weather improves, missing out on my own riding time to give their child a lead rein ride for free:
                    that person is sadly mistaken.

                    Because to do that would be rewarding very bad manners on that person's part. And we don't train good behavior by rewarding bad, do we?

                    Depending on how well I know the person, I either explain the above or just say "No, I'm sorry. That's just not convenient."

                    I don't believe you owe someone exhibiting appallingly bad manners any more of an explanation than that.
                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                    • #11
                      Someone I used to know would invite people out to ride, then give them some work to do to earn the ride. But she never told them ahead of time that they had to "sing for the supper." They never came twice. Except me and my husband. My husband loved to volunteer to use farm equipment.
                      Laurie Higgins
                      "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


                      • #12
                        The best thing to do is to meet the request with enthusiasm, agree how wonderful horses are for people, especially kids, and then suggest that local 4-H barn you know! You can mention in an offhand way that you have nothing that is beginner suitable on your farm and if pressed, mention your safety concerns.

                        Try to remember that a lot of people don't know enough about horses to know that they aren't all suitable for beginners, or that they might be in a training or show program that isn't amenable to other riders being randomly involved, or that asking to ride someone's horse at all is a little presumptuous. Most people also have no clue about the myriad safety and liability issues surrounding horses/riding.

                        It is pointless to mention the liability/insurance issue, though. Invariably people say, "Oh, but I would NEVER sue!" as if that puts the issue completely to rest.


                        • #13
                          I truly hate this as well. I DO have a very safe horse, but guess what? He is not free and neither is my time. Only my very closet friends get to ride him and only occasionally when it suits my schedule. I had a co worker find out recently that I ride and he was like "Oh my god! I want to ride? Can I ride? Wait! That's rude!" LOL. Because he realized that his excitement overcame his manners, he will probably get to ride soon. But my best friend's sister constantly begs me to ride at every family get together. I invite her to do other things together, and she always declines, so why should I give my time, energy, and expensive hobby to her for free? God, I sound like a bitch. I swear I'm not.


                          • #14
                            My daughter just turned 4. I can't tell you how many of her friends' moms have asked if they could bring their kids out to ride my horse. You know, because they don't want to pay for lessons until they know the kid will like it and not be scared.

                            So yeah, great, bring your 4 year old out to ride my big TB gelding anytime you feel like it. Let me know how it goes.

                            Some have continued to ask even after I've told them "not such a great idea" and given them the number of a trainer w/a suitable lesson program.

                            We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                            • #15
                              My favorite was the time my oil deloveru guy asked if he could bring his daughter by some time to see the horses. I said sure, that'd be fine. I realized the error of my ways when I got home from work the next day to find him Out in the pasture holding his BABY daughter petting my horses!

                              People are so clueless. *shakes head*
                              I would like to think I will die an heroic death...

                              But it's more likely I'll trip over my dog and choke on a spoonful of frosting.


                              • #16
                                Disregarding the bad manners of inviting yourself to use someone else's property, people are clueless about horses because there isn't much reason for them to have a clue. What most people know about horses begins and ends with the Kentucky Derby and, maybe, some bombproof trail horses, pony rides and what they see in movies. There is almost nothing in popular culture to educate people about large animals, domestic or wild. Christ, how many accidents are there here in the Badlands because someone wants to pet the cute buffalo -- and that's despite all the signage saying STAY AWAY FROM THE BUFFALO!!!

                                Other than that, I think the responses here have been pretty good.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Twiliath View Post
                                  Someone I used to know would invite people out to ride, then give them some work to do to earn the ride. But she never told them ahead of time that they had to "sing for the supper." They never came twice. Except me and my husband. My husband loved to volunteer to use farm equipment.
                                  Hah. I would've been there all the time, too. (Except for stall cleaning. But only because I'm not entirely sure I can physically clean stalls routinely, based on how much trouble I had shoveling snow last winter with my right shoulder acting up. Maybe if I could do it veeeeeeeerrry slowly and try to develop the skill of doing it left-handed... But cleaning tack, grooming, moving stuff around that I can either carry with both hands evenly, or just with my left... No problem.

                                  (And just to celebrate GOOD manners - while we had the dogs out today at the local PetCo, ALL FOUR children who wanted to pet Pirate ASKED me first, and three of the four actually knew to hold their hand down for him to sniff before petting, and the fourth actually paid attention when my dad explained what he'd done wrong. Somewhere, there are people who are still teaching their children these things! Maybe they are likewise sane and sensible about other animals, even if you may need to give them some basic education first.) (This is a great improvement over last summer, when I only remember ONE kid who actually asked.)


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with saying insurance won't cover. When they say Oh that's ok we won't hold you liable still say a firm NO because if they do get hurt they will more than likely go after you no matter what they say. THen let them know
                                    of the barn in your area. even supply them with the contact info.


                                    • #19
                                      Just to clarify, the work this acquaintance made people do was NOT horse related - it was picking rocks out of the arena or picking weeds out of the garden or something equally boring and obnoxious!
                                      Last edited by Twiliath; Jul. 24, 2010, 07:22 AM. Reason: typo
                                      Laurie Higgins
                                      "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Twiliath View Post
                                        Just to clarify, the work this acquaintance made people do was NOT horse related - it was picking rocks out of the arena or picking weeds out of the garden or something equally boring and obnoxious!
                                        Hey, as long as I could physically do it, I would've done that, too. (Picking rocks out of the arena actually seems like it could be strangely meditative if you got into the right mindset for it.)