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My daughter's riding (and lack thereof)

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
    An 11 year old may be telling the truth that she loves the leased pony and going to ride it, the IDEA of it.
    At that age, there may still be a disconnect between liking the idea of something and understanding the real commitment to all that going ahead with that means..
    I think that's a good observation. I've struggled with a partially motivated kid for many years. He has big goals, and has met several of them. Wants to do everything and get upper level Pony Club ratings, but lacks self-motivation. I've made it clear MANY times that he doesn't have to ride at all but he swears he does. But here I still am, years later, saying "let's ride" instead of him.

    So, your daughter may not really secretly want to quit, or maybe she does. In either case, it might be best to end the lease and put her in a lesson program somewhere instead. Having other kids to be friends with and keep up with might be the motivator she needs. Pony Club friends did that for my son. Also, just stop tacking up her pony! I had to do that at some point myself. I think he was 9 or 10. It was really hard to not just jump in there and get it done correctly and quickly, but they have to figure it out, even if it takes forever.

    I think the "she doesn't listen in lessons" problem needs to be dealt with ASAP. That one isn't even really horse related. She must pay attention and give her respect to the instructor whether she likes it or not, just like in school, or any other type of lesson. Maybe there needs to be consequences.

    I think it's pretty common for kids whose families have always had horses available to be a little less horse crazy than kids who have to beg for it. I don't know if my kid will be a life-long horseman, or if it's something that will pretty much be over when he moves out. In either case, I don't think it's been a waste of time because he has gained a lot of life skills from it.

    Comment


    • #22
      Not a horse related experience, but my son was a pretty compliant and easy going child. He fairly willingly continued in Boy Scouts for many years mainly because his dad/my husband was so into it. Son never resisted participation, but he also never really "owned" the experience. I think he enjoyed most of the activities but was never motivated to move up the ranks.

      In hindsight, I do wish we had made it more of a choice for him when he was about your daughter's age and moved from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts - as in: "Son, you can continue in Scouts or not - if you continue, you decide which troop you want to be in" (There are a couple of troops in our town and another the next town over). "You decide which activities you want to do." At the same time, my husband should have scaled back his involvement as a leader (or volunteered in another troop).

      Maybe if you could figure out a way for your daughter to "do horses" on her own terms rather than having it all tied up as something that mom does that she does also, the path forward would be more clear. Something more youth focused like Pony Club? 4-H?

      I do think it's important that kids in the tween and teen years participate in some activity that is focused on interests - most try to do too many, but if horses are the only thing your daughter does, it might be the time to figure out a sport or activity that she would like to try.

      Comment


      • #23
        Having been a client in a big AA barn with lots of Ponies for years...seen this a lot. You tell your daughter one thing but your actions tell an 11 year old something else.

        Yes, she loves the Pony but does she love the training barn environment? The regimentation? The constant supervision and correction from adults? Would she be happier with a backyard type Pony knocking around bareback braiding flowers in it’s non regulation length mane and giggling when it’s unclipped whiskers tickle her nose ?

        She might also feel you are setting a standard iof perfection she cannot live up to if you follow around behind her correcting her efforts to groom or tack up. That action tells her she’s not good enough, If she always riding with Mom correcting her, her 11 year old brain is just learning she’s not good enough. Watched that take the wind out of the sails of even the most talented kids. They need to be 11 and learn from their own mistakes. At 11, they also don’t need any reminders how expensive the sport is and that’s hard not to do.

        Kid might just love the Pony but be duscouraged by constant correction and reminders, she’s a kid, it’s a Pony, it has to be fun and you have to let them make their own mistakes and learn why they are mistakes.

        Dont just ask her if she wants to keep riding, if course she does . But she doesn’t want the pressure to be perfect from Mom, she just wants that unconditional love and support only Mom can give. Let the trainer do the correcting.

        Dont take this personally, there are many barn moms lthat fall into this trap and they can take the joy out of having a Pony for an 11 year old. Let her do it herself and let the trainer be the bad guy, that’s what you pay them for. Thats also why trainers have other trainers work with their own kids, especially when they are this age.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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        • #24
          just wondering if you have ever set down with your daughter to map out just what what the future is to be? We always had our kids help decide just what they wanted to do with their horses, what shows they wanted to attend or which competitive ride they wished to ride

          reading your posts it appears everything almost day-to-day



          Comment


          • #25
            So, she's 11. I think it is pretty normal for an 11 year old to love her pony and enjoy riding, but be forgetful and disorganized about tacking/untacking/horse care/etc. I also think that riding, as fun as it is, is a lot of effort for an activity: you've got to get dressed in a somewhat complicated outfit, helmet, gloves, half chaps, spurs, and that outfit is sometimes hot and sticky to wear. And you've got to catch the pony, groom, collect your tack, tack up, etc. So I think it is pretty normal for even an 11 year old that likes to ride to need some help with motivation for some of it.

            This is just my humble opinion, but I think that at 11, you are allowed to love and enjoy something without "having a fire in your belly" over it. An 11 year old might easily find the barn a calm, happy place and a wonderful opportunity to connect with living things from ponies to cats, dogs, frogs, etc. It's possible that your daughter takes riding for granted because you do it, but it may also be that your daughter enjoys her pony and riding in a different way than you do. Kids NEED those zen moments where they are lost in the moment sleeping against a pony's neck, petting a cat or watching a nest of baby birds.

            I would not recommend to have a child quit riding because of their difficulties with organization/prep/coolout. Riding and horses is a great place to learn organization and executive function type skills, and also a place to learn how to balance those "zen" moments with getting stuff done. Kids are not born knowing how to work or be organized, but horses are a great place to learn that. Riding lessons are also a great place to learn teachability.

            An 11 year old is about to go through some big things--physical changes, hormones, social changes/pressures, more intense school work, etc. For some kids horses can be a big source of stability by balancing out the stresses of other parts of life.

            My advice: keep the lease, take the pressure off. Treat riding a little more as an enjoyable activity vs. a competitive career. Continue helping your daughter, but do things with her instead of for her. And, if you are riding at the same barn, let her help you sometimes. Let her enjoy the barn cats. Try to get her out of the ring for trail rides. Ride with her if you can. Riding together with your kids is amazing quality time together. Consider if the current instructor is the right instructor for her. I have seen kids not mesh well with one instructor only to really hang on the words of another one.

            Obviously finances play into things. If it's a stretch for you to have this lease, I think it's okay as a parent to do what you have to do. And if she is really not having fun with it, then obviously stop.

            Comment


            • #26
              I've seen this so much, and lived through it with our daughter when she was 13. It was all handed to her, because I had this fantasy of sharing my passion with my daughter, but she got more and more distracted by normal life and less and less interested. I gave her the option to quit and she did. By that time I loved her horse, so kept him for myself and thoroughly enjoyed him. I realize that's not an option with a pony, however.

              I'd give up the lease and honestly not allow her to ride until she begs and pleads for it. And works for it. Every barn I've been in has had those girls who would give anything for the privilege of riding. They wash tails, paint poles, pull weeds if that's needed for the chance to ride. Doesn't sound like your daughter is hungry for it.

              You can say you're not pressuring her, but kids can sense how much you want it. And they want to please you, but they don't have the burning desire to ride, and you can't instill it in them.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
                Hi all. This is a difficult topic for me to post, but my husband and I have really been struggling with it for some time. I'm hoping somebody might lend some good insight or advice.

                I have ridden and shown h/j for almost 30 years. Horses are my passion and probably always will be. When I had two daughters, I hoped that one of them would share my love of horses. The younger one made it abundantly clear that it would NOT be her! But my older daughter, now 11, was game enough to give it a shot.

                She started taking lessons, at my behest, about four years ago. It was only once a week in a western saddle. But as it goes with horses, she got more involved quickly. She's now full leasing a nice pony and showing in the young entry (crossrails). She schools the SS height at home.

                When you full lease a pony, it's essentially the same as owning. I told her this. It means that you take care of the pony, you take care of your tack, and you ride 3-4 times/week minimum. She agreed.

                But here's the thing: she's never REALLY been into it. She's not horse crazy at all. She never asks to go riding -- I have to tell her. When we're at the barn, she's out to lunch. She still can't tack up properly. She's lazy about grooming. She still forgets pony's boots,her helmet, etc and shows up at the ring unprepared. When she untacks, she forgets to put stuff away. She'll wander off to play with cats and frogs while I wrap the pony. She complains about early mornings for shows. She doesn't listen in lessons. She doesn't ride the pony enough -- I'm having to ride him myself 1-2x/week. Have I talked to her about it? Of course!! But it never seems to stick. It's not like I'm forcing this on her....it's her choice! And for those of you pondering if she has ADD, autism, etc....she does not.

                I don't need to tell you all that this sport is expensive. I don't even want to say how much I'm spending on her riding career annually. It feels like a total waste. But every time we ask her if she wants to keep riding, she says yes. In my personal opinion, we should move her to a schooling barn where she can take one lesson a week on a schoolie. This will upset her; I guarantee it.

                Bottom line: she's spending our money and her childhood doing something she's not crazy about. She just doesn't see it that way. Where do we go from here?

                P.S. I know that I'm "enabling" her by helping her tack up, care for pony, constant reminders, etc....but if I don't, he won't be cared for properly. I can't do that to him.
                Her behavior as you describe it at the barn would fit the term "apathy", as I read it. Think about that. Think about how it contrasts with your own attitude around your horse. I'm sure you are always working through your list of detail tasks and items while at the barn, while with your horse, because that's what passionate barn time is. Doing things properly, making sure your horse has everything he needs. Always alert to the next thing you can do for your horse. And, not the behavior you are seeing in your daughter.

                Is your daughter worried about her relationship with you if she says 'I'm not really into this'? You may reassure her verbally, but perhaps your actions and attitudes communicate something else.

                Your entire first post quoted above is full of a mixed message, a verbal 'she can make the decision for herself' , but a non-verbal 'my daughter's riding is as important to me as my own riding passion, and it is desperately hard for me to let go of it'.

                You say "Horses are my passion and probably always will be. When I had two daughters, I hoped that one of them would share my love of horses."

                You also say "Bottom line: she's spending our money and her childhood doing something she's not crazy about. She just doesn't see it that way."

                There's your answer. You are just struggling to get past your own ideas of what you hoped for this mother-daughter relationship. But it is so common that what either or both parents love just isn't what their kids are into. It's the thing that makes each kid a unique individual, separate from their parents. Kids aren't their parents mini-me's, however much the parent/s may wish they were.

                As others have said, she is NOT spending your money, you are. She is NOT responsible for this decision, you are. The decision to lease and continue riding has very clearly been 100% yours. She gives you the answer you want. She may not know another answer to give. And she may be deeply insecure about no longer being special to you if she expresses the lack of interest that is clear in her behavior.

                Your relationship with her *will* change if she is no longer riding, but instead exploring where her own passions lie. Because the only reason you have joint barn time is because of *your* passion, not hers, so that's what it is really about - your passion. It's up to you how that change works out, positively or negatively. I think that's where both you and your daughter are stuck right now.

                Rather than the self-created imaginary image of you and your daughter riding together, try focusing on the absolute magic of helping your children emerge into their own identities. Real parenting rather than riding. I think that in the end, in the years to come, and after she has flown away to live her own life, you will find that journey far more satisfying and a much deeper life accomplishment than anything you ever do with a horse.

                Comment


                • #28
                  How much exposure does your daughter have to other activities? She may not have much to compare to. Has she taken a full course of gymnastics, dance, volleyball, cross country running, softball? Most kids go from one interest to another, from year to year, as they explore who they are. What are her friends at school involved in, and is she involved with her friends and play fun outside of school?

                  How have you helped her find her own passions? Kids need a lot of tries at this and that as they grow and develop. Their interests will evolve over time. Their ideas about an activity may contrast with the reality, and those are such important lessons to learn. It's part of finding out who *they* are.

                  For the time being she'll keep doing this to please you and stay special to your passion. So long as she puts almost no effort into it, because you pick up all of the slack. (Until the rebel hormones emerge and kick in, probably).

                  Adult children who never got the chance to become fully themselves, apart from their parents' interests and activities, have a hard time finding happiness. They don't fully know who *they* are separate from their parents. They show a lot of what you are describing - apathy, drifting through life following their parents' direction, working for their parents' business, or else at jobs their parents arrange for them, never really feeling comfortable and passionate about anything. They don't know what 'passionate' feels like because they've never felt it. There are some other issues that can come along, as well.

                  Read your own post as objectively as you can. As if it were posted by a complete COTH stranger, someone you know nothing about except for the post.

                  Because the answer is obvious in your post. And hopefully bringing this to COTH has helped you see it more clearly, regardless of the posted responses.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Rackonteur View Post
                    She's not spending your money, you are.

                    Even if a child said she really wanted to ride, if she kept slacking off the way your daughter is, the lease should be terminated. If she's more interested in the barn cats, maybe she would like a cat of her own. Much easier and cheaper to keep than a horse. And the lack of listening in lessons and not being prepared could be dangerous.

                    I'm sorry she isn't the horse-crazy kid you and I were. That sucks. But you're wasting your money. So end the lease, and if she wants to come back later to riding, let her know she can, and will be welcome, any time.
                    This. Sorry OP, it sucks, I know how disappointed (not in her) you are about it. But after four years? She isn't into it. I was horse crazy, started lessons at six, got a completely inappropriate first horse less than a year later, and she was my life. Showing etc? Ehh... Looking back, not sure I ever really cared about that, but grooming, riding, learning, that was the best parts. I never once wanted to stop. I still don't, even though I don't ride hardly at all anymore.
                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      If you have to ask if she wants to keep riding, she doesn't want to keep riding. For the kids that want to ride, it's a no brainer. Let her quit.
                      "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by saddleup View Post
                        I've seen this so much, and lived through it with our daughter when she was 13. It was all handed to her, because I had this fantasy of sharing my passion with my daughter, but she got more and more distracted by normal life and less and less interested. I gave her the option to quit and she did. By that time I loved her horse, so kept him for myself and thoroughly enjoyed him. I realize that's not an option with a pony, however.

                        I'd give up the lease and honestly not allow her to ride until she begs and pleads for it. And works for it. Every barn I've been in has had those girls who would give anything for the privilege of riding. They wash tails, paint poles, pull weeds if that's needed for the chance to ride. Doesn't sound like your daughter is hungry for it.

                        You can say you're not pressuring her, but kids can sense how much you want it. And they want to please you, but they don't have the burning desire to ride, and you can't instill it in them.
                        I totally agree with this. I would have walked miles for the privilege of just cleaning a stall or grooming a horse when I was 11 (and I actually did this very thing). I was horse obsessed. Still am. My own daughter (now grown) rides and enjoys horses, but horses are not the be-all end-all for her that they are for me. Maybe if your daughter quits riding she will find her true passion.

                        True story - When my daughter was in elementary school we gave her piano lessons. We had to constantly encourage her to play, and as soon as her prescribed playing time was up she was up and out of there. She wasn't very good, which will surprise no one. We let her quit once we realized it really wasn't her thing.

                        Shortly after that, her older brother declared that he wanted to play guitar. We really didn't think he was that interested, and put him off a bit. When he persisted in asking, we told him that he had to earn the money for half of the guitar. Now, this was a kid who couldn't save two quarters, so we thought we were pretty safe. In record time he had his portion of the money and we bought him a guitar and started him in lessons. He was a natural. Turns out he can play pretty much any instrument by ear. The important thing is this - we had to beg him to stop playing. Instead of setting a 20 minute timer for practice time (like we did with his sister) we would have to ask him to stop playing after 2, 3, or 4 hours straight.

                        Let your daughter find her OWN passion. It doesn't sound like horses are it for her. But maybe, for her, there is something better, something that lights her up. Give her the gift of figuring out what it is that SHE loves. If she's riding 3 or 4 days a week she doesn't even have time to think about much else.

                        For the record - I have a 3 year old granddaughter that seems to love horses. Even though I have my own place I am not going to buy her a pony until she begs for it, and even then she will need to take lessons first and show me that she is interested in not only riding but taking care of a pony. We often do not value what comes easily.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by stb View Post
                          ....
                          I would have walked miles for the privilege of just cleaning a stall or grooming a horse when I was 11 (and I actually did this very thing). I was horse obsessed. Still am.
                          .......
                          Have to smile at this. When I went away to college, I no longer had transportation, because my parents, like most in those days, didn't see why any college student needed a car. Students were supposed to be in class, doing homework and projects, and socializing with each other on campus. I did have a bicycle with me for tiny trips into town in case something was needed from the drugstore.

                          So I was riding my bicycle 5 miles each way to the local barn to teach lessons for the privilege of riding a little bit. Pedaling along while wearing riding boots, because my bicycle (that I didn't need to get to class) didn't have a way to carry very much. That did *not* help my grades at all.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by gertie06 View Post

                            ... But here's the thing: she's never REALLY been into it. She's not horse crazy at all. She never asks to go riding -- I have to tell her. When we're at the barn, she's out to lunch. She still can't tack up properly. She's lazy about grooming. She still forgets pony's boots,her helmet, etc and shows up at the ring unprepared. When she untacks, she forgets to put stuff away. She'll wander off to play with cats and frogs while I wrap the pony. She complains about early mornings for shows. She doesn't listen in lessons. She doesn't ride the pony enough -- I'm having to ride him myself 1-2x/week. Have I talked to her about it? Of course!! But it never seems to stick. It's not like I'm forcing this on her....it's her choice! And for those of you pondering if she has ADD, autism, etc....she does not.

                            I don't need to tell you all that this sport is expensive. I don't even want to say how much I'm spending on her riding career annually. It feels like a total waste. But every time we ask her if she wants to keep riding, she says yes. In my personal opinion, we should move her to a schooling barn where she can take one lesson a week on a schoolie. This will upset her; I guarantee it.

                            Bottom line: she's spending our money and her childhood doing something she's not crazy about. She just doesn't see it that way. Where do we go from here?

                            P.S. I know that I'm "enabling" her by helping her tack up, care for pony, constant reminders, etc....but if I don't, he won't be cared for properly. I can't do that to him.
                            Reread that bolded line. You said it all right there and it is OK.

                            Sounds like a clone of my daughter. She liked the idea; the "work and practice", not so much.

                            One, your daughter is only 11. If this isn't her passion, you are projecting some pretty adult expectations on her. Ask me how I know. It was hard to let go of the dream.

                            Two, you say she doesn't have ADD. Maybe not, but in my DD's case, although I suspected all along, it really din't truly get in her way until she was in college. ADD (without the H especially) can manifest very differently in girls than the stereotypical ADHD does in boys. As was eventually explained to us, it's not really lack of attention, it's inability in the area of "executive function," in other words being able to organize. My DD was pretty OK as long as she had a checklist to follow. Forget the list and much of her life was just complete disarray.

                            DD enjoyed many years in a 4-H horse group, but I think it was really the social aspect that appealed to her more than the actual riding part. She totally loved the intellectual and competitive aspect of Horse Bowl and was on nationally placing teams several times. If it took using her intelligence, she was all in.

                            It is hard to swallow that the kid isn't as committed to horses as you are, but you may have to accept that. Maybe backing off to just a weekly lesson is enough or maybe she needs to explore something else that is her own passion. Too often kids of her age do things to please us parents. As parents it is part of our job to not put that unspoken pressure out there.

                            My DD is now in her mid-20s and doesn't really ride anymore. We still have her pony and I ride him now, since our horses are here on our farm. She'll come home and horse-sit now and them (and is very good at it). She's happy in her job, loves and dotes on her 2 kitties, enjoys her own life interests, and even owns her own house. I'm happy for her that she has found her own way even if it isn't what I might have envisioned it would be.
                            Last edited by fjordmom; Aug. 18, 2019, 03:20 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Think your title underlines the issue here “my daughters riding career ( or lack thereof)”

                              You see her riding as a lifetime commitment and possibly career path. Daughter sees it as an 11 year old trying to please and live up to Moms expectations and failing.

                              Don’t see this as apathy, just see it as a discouraged 11 year old still learning what she wants and what she’s good at. These things change over the next few years and you need to let them change so she can grow independently. She doesn’t have to cement her future right now.

                              IMO ending the lease and dropping back to just some lessons, backing off the perfection expectation demands and maybe finding another barn more kid and fun centered with trail riding options rather then a serious show barn. She can ride without serious commitment at her age.

                              Down the road she may want to return to a more serious horse commitment, never know. I bet she would enjoy a trail ride with you...if you don’t pick and correct and just let her ride the Pony.

                              Now, if she was 5 years older, this would be a different conversation. But she’s 11, not 16.

                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                So much good insight! I really appreciate you all!

                                I need to make something real clear: I actually think she should quit. Yes, you read that right. She likes basketball, she likes art. Why not see where those things lead? Maybe she'll find the passion that I have for horses. That's what I want for her.

                                But she cries whenever I broach the subject of quitting or dropping the lease. When I ask her what she likes about horses/riding....she says "showing." She likes ribbons. And I'm not really sure what to say to that. If there's one thing most COTH'ers can agree on, it's this: riding isn't about ribbons.

                                So we have the talk about showing/prizes being something you earn through hard work at home. She nods in agreement, and we start over.....until it descends into apathy again.

                                I think one problem is that it's all being handed to her (?). Maybe she should have to volunteer there a bit to earn part of this privilege?

                                And the poster above who said that she might not like being constantly nagged by mom.....I think I have to own that. She should be allowed to just "be" at the barn without me correcting her. I'm going to be better about that.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Considering this from another angle: She wants your attention and she’s figured out that the only way to get it is to be interested in what you’re interested in. But her heart isn’t in it. She’ll like the ribbons because she probably gets more of your attention when she wins something. When you tell her she should quit, she thinks you’re going to (figuratively) dump her. What you need to change is you not her.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    At age 11, I persisted apathetically in piano lessons (as well as school subjects I wasn't very good at) with a sense of loss at the idea of quitting, though I had no aptitude. It's an interesting age, in that you are just starting to be old enough to even think about self-determination, but really you are not yet at the stage of being able to take control of the direction of your life. I was even bad about keeping the budgies fed and cleaned at that age, but would have cried if I was told they were being taken away, because I would have understood that as punishment because I had been "bad."

                                    Things getting taken away at this age are usually about punishment, and you have no real way in your life to practice choice about anything that matters (it's not until high school that you get to choose elective courses). I remember it was even hard to let go of old clothes or old toys at this age. Even if you have a lot of "stuff," you have so little that is really yours. And you are still tied into the family. Often you don't even know what you really prefer, you may like a dress because you are told it is pretty, or a food because you are told it is special, or an activity because it lets you spend time with someone you care about.

                                    Something really changes in early teens. You start to look outward to the world, and you start to be able to think about your choices and preferences, whether that's in music or clothes or activities or friends (or even food, when kids go vegan). That's what makes teens seem "rebellious" even when they really aren't: that they are suddenly able to start cultivating choices in these things. They still don't have much choice in the larger contours of their lives, so the choice of music, clothes, hobbies, etc. take on a lot of importance.

                                    When I turned 13 and entered high school, I remember I boxed up my Barbie dolls and put the stuffed toys in the closet as a conscious choice, when a year earlier I would have been devastated to have any of that stuff disappear. When I turned 14 I got my own horse in nearby self board after years of being horse crazy, the idea being locally that kids couldn't get a horse until they were capable of doing all the work for it.

                                    I was obsessive about my horse care, never missed a feeding or cleaning, and this from a kid that was too spaced out to remember to clean the gerbil's cage at 11 (my mother did step up for the household rabbits, birds, rodents, cats, dog, turtles, etc). It was like a fog cleared and I suddenly had an adult level of responsibility (though I was still quite immature in a lot of other ways). I also recall that the gradual onset of sexual feelings at 11, even before I really knew what they were or where all that was heading, was a real distraction and tended to make me distracted and daydreamy.

                                    I also remember 18 as being another watershed year, where I was suddenly able to navigate the world socially with a level of useful self-awareness. And it took me into my 20s to realize that quitting something you don't enjoy, or a college class you are failing, is actually a very good life strategy. That you don't get any points as an adult for just being a seat warmer (unlike in grade school).

                                    I watch other people's children grow up, and it seems to me that these are important transitional years for all kids, early teens and late teens. There are kids that get some of these skills earlier (or a bit later), but in general there's a big change here.

                                    I don't know what the takeaway is from all this, as far as what to do with the horse. I agree that the child doesn't seem to really want to ride. I think I would have been riding *all the time* at age 11, if there was access to a horse, and I would have taken better care of a horse than of the gerbil. But for me, one of the things that was wonderful about the horse was that it was entirely my own thing, it got me out of the family and I was responsible for all the decisions, even calling the vet and farrier and hay dealers myself from age 14 on.

                                    I don't know what to think about an apathetic child who says she likes showing and getting ribbons. There is a disconnect there, because a really competitive child would be working hard on everything in order to get those ribbons. What is it she thinks she likes about shows? Is it the big special event atmosphere? The presence of other children? Dressing up her horse and getting attention?

                                    It reminds me of the fact that I rather enjoyed the annual June track and field sports day in elementary school, though I was no good at any of the sports and didn't really try. It was the novelty of the event, the hot dogs and the cream soda (neither of which we ate at home) and being outside rather than in the classroom on a beautiful sunny morning. Also not realizing there was the choice of not attending. A few years later, I would have ducked that kind of thing entirely, knowing I actually wasn't having a good time. So there is something about being 11 years old where you don't even actually know if you are really enjoying something or not, perhaps.

                                    Is there a functional Pony Club in your area? maybe what she needs is a chance to explore horses with her peers, away from her parents?

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Is there a 4-H program in your area?
                                      Maybe horses aren't really her thing but 4-H offers many opportunities other than horses.

                                      You said she likes art. Thats something she could try. The nice thing is there are lots of opportunities to try different activities without making a huge investment.

                                      (And she can try to win ribbons at local fairs with her projects, lol! Said by someone who is wayyyy older than 11 and still loves ribbons)

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        My daughter rode horses but it seems we have a whole different outlook, in our locale, in the culture about kids and horses than other folks posting on here. Kids start young, but usually get "learn as you go along" instead of structured lessons. Horses usually are "out back" in the family barn, not boarded. Parents, older siblings, friends are who teach the beginners how to lead, tie, groom, help the kids ride bareback or with a saddle. I think expecting an 11yr old to "get everything right" might be setting the bar a little high for many kids. Certainly the horse obsessed kid will grab the knowledge and get 99% correct. Other kids need a bit of checking up before they ride, gently corrected on items they miss, so animal is clean, comfortable while being used.

                                        Mine could not saddle her own horse at 11yrs because he was too tall, western saddle was too heavy. But she groomed and bridled him, cleaned hooves, then I put on his saddle for her. Her structured riding was done within 4H, attending workouts, getting critiques from her very knowledgeable Leader. Sit up straight, leg and rein TOGETHER, etc. She saw the other kids learning, improving as they worked on what Leader told them. Always more fun hearing it from Leader than Mom! But I also would watch daughter ride at home, though not every ride. I corrected little things as she got more physically coordinated and able to manage all those body parts at once!

                                        Daughter got more confident, skilled, as she grew, and time passed. The other kids in our Club were pretty nice, so it was fun socially too.Daughter was in other 4H activities too, dogs, sheep, calves, so we attended various weekly meetings, clinics, competitions over the summer. Horses were the only year around club. Daughter also volunteered fot various 4H activities needing help, clinics, Special Riders Camp as a side walker, warmed up the school horses before the kids got there, saddled and bridled horses for them as she got older. Daughter had chores related to her animals that she was expected to complete daily, like stall cleaning, walking her market animals daily to condition them, training her dog. Practice posing the animals so they showed easily at Fair.

                                        We tried the dancing lessons, which did not go well. She did not want to practice, it was not "fun". So I was only out one term of lessons, some leotards and a pair of tap shoes. She enjoyed her swim lessons, got good basics, confident in the water. We did not get into swim competition until Middle School athletics. As she got older she did other school clubs, debate, plays. However, I am a big believer in getting a full nights sleep for kids, so activities were limited to one a semester. She did swimming, Soccer, track and enjoyed them, horses were kind of on hold with our winters, no structured riding, just fun and daily barn chores.

                                        I have to say my daughter REALLY enjoyed winning ribbons!! With attending the local shows, being in a lot of variety of classes, she collected a quantity of ribbons. This was also true with her other animals too. As Adults we can say "ribbons don't matter much", but they TRULY DO! Watching the kids actually glow, smile big enough to hide their eyes when their number is called, is wonderful! That kid had to get horse (or other animal) to cooperate, perform what the class calls for, at a better skill level than the other kids to win her ribbon. She did GOOD!! Winning ribbons is a visible show of success for all to see. We hung ribbons in the living room, to show anyone who came, how proud we were of daughter and son.

                                        As Adults we need to NOT qualify the win of ANY placing by critical comments. Winning means the kid did well, teaches kid they ARE good at stuff. Maybe not first, but still good. A little more polishing and they may win better placings.

                                        I was pretty careful to not do things for her, that she could do herself. I held a lot of animals as she inspected them for being prepared well. Developed her critical eye. Older kids she admired helped her be a good showman, critique young animals to see WHY this was a better calf, lamb, horse, than this other one. Her animals were always being borrowed for the little Cloverbuds or Champion Showmanhip competitions to show with. Reliable to lead easily, not spooky, stand quietly for the little kids or older kids not used to that animal species.

                                        Guess what I am trying to say, is that child is only 11yrs old. Does she do ANYTHING fun with the pony? Just hop on and ride the fences checking for things needing repair? Learn some games or gymnastics on him? Not always riding equitation perfect? Looking back, it was just kind of "expected" that daughter would ride horses, join 4H, show. No rigid time frame learning, not a lot of structure until about age 11, when she could manage the large horse. She rode the little old horse as a young child, 6+, but horse was broke to death, reliable to be obedient unsupervised walking the fencelines. And if horse wanted to nibble grass, it was OK. She was the Boss, horse cooperated. We went riding at parks with daughter on a leadline at that young age, ate "trail ride food" out of our saddlebag! Whole family went, with her adored older brother riding too, so she expected to be like him as she got older, riding on her own.

                                        Daughter trained her horse to do more activities as she got older, wanted to compete in more classes during a show, then with Riding Team in High School. I told her what was required to be good, set out the steps to follow, said "no shortcuts" during progress. She had al ready seen some poor results for othe kid's rushing training, so was very coperative about that. She dId a lovely job with the horse training, horse clearly understood his job in seveal different games and had a good time running!. She did all the work, I gave some pointers that were big horse modifications suiting his size. Little horses run patterns differently. He was a pretty reliable winner, which I always gave her the training credit for when talking to others. Few could believe such a big horse could place so well in speed against the smaller animals. She did not always win first or second in all her showing, but no one else did either. She learned you win some, lose some, not a crisis with lower or no placing. Lots of other kids in the same boat with her!! Gave her confidence to try again, try new stuff, see how it went. That is BIG with girls, confidence to try again, do new things.

                                        I knew pretty soon that kids enjoyed the horses, working with and riding them, but neither was "driven" to be a horse person, lIke myself. They are born that way or not, can't change it. My Mom said I was horse oriented from a toddler age. Looked for equines out car windows, rode pony rides, cried when dragged away. I was very glad the kids enjoyed our horses, helped us in our adult competitions as kids got older. Neither has horses now, probably never will, though one works in the horse industry.

                                        Maybe OP can change expectations, get DD involved with other horsey kids to make it more fun. Lower her expectations a bit, without pony being harmed, to get some fun in the picture for DD.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                          At age 11, I persisted apathetically in piano lessons (as well as school subjects I wasn't very good at) with a sense of loss at the idea of quitting, though I had no aptitude. It's an interesting age, in that you are just starting to be old enough to even think about self-determination, but really you are not yet at the stage of being able to take control of the direction of your life. I was even bad about keeping the budgies fed and cleaned at that age, but would have cried if I was told they were being taken away, because I would have understood that as punishment because I had been "bad."

                                          Things getting taken away at this age are usually about punishment, and you have no real way in your life to practice choice about anything that matters (it's not until high school that you get to choose elective courses). I remember it was even hard to let go of old clothes or old toys at this age. Even if you have a lot of "stuff," you have so little that is really yours. And you are still tied into the family. Often you don't even know what you really prefer, you may like a dress because you are told it is pretty, or a food because you are told it is special, or an activity because it lets you spend time with someone you care about.

                                          Something really changes in early teens. You start to look outward to the world, and you start to be able to think about your choices and preferences, whether that's in music or clothes or activities or friends (or even food, when kids go vegan). That's what makes teens seem "rebellious" even when they really aren't: that they are suddenly able to start cultivating choices in these things. They still don't have much choice in the larger contours of their lives, so the choice of music, clothes, hobbies, etc. take on a lot of importance.

                                          When I turned 13 and entered high school, I remember I boxed up my Barbie dolls and put the stuffed toys in the closet as a conscious choice, when a year earlier I would have been devastated to have any of that stuff disappear. When I turned 14 I got my own horse in nearby self board after years of being horse crazy, the idea being locally that kids couldn't get a horse until they were capable of doing all the work for it.

                                          I was obsessive about my horse care, never missed a feeding or cleaning, and this from a kid that was too spaced out to remember to clean the gerbil's cage at 11 (my mother did step up for the household rabbits, birds, rodents, cats, dog, turtles, etc). It was like a fog cleared and I suddenly had an adult level of responsibility (though I was still quite immature in a lot of other ways). I also recall that the gradual onset of sexual feelings at 11, even before I really knew what they were or where all that was heading, was a real distraction and tended to make me distracted and daydreamy.

                                          I also remember 18 as being another watershed year, where I was suddenly able to navigate the world socially with a level of useful self-awareness. And it took me into my 20s to realize that quitting something you don't enjoy, or a college class you are failing, is actually a very good life strategy. That you don't get any points as an adult for just being a seat warmer (unlike in grade school).

                                          I watch other people's children grow up, and it seems to me that these are important transitional years for all kids, early teens and late teens. There are kids that get some of these skills earlier (or a bit later), but in general there's a big change here.

                                          I don't know what the takeaway is from all this, as far as what to do with the horse. I agree that the child doesn't seem to really want to ride. I think I would have been riding *all the time* at age 11, if there was access to a horse, and I would have taken better care of a horse than of the gerbil. But for me, one of the things that was wonderful about the horse was that it was entirely my own thing, it got me out of the family and I was responsible for all the decisions, even calling the vet and farrier and hay dealers myself from age 14 on.

                                          I don't know what to think about an apathetic child who says she likes showing and getting ribbons. There is a disconnect there, because a really competitive child would be working hard on everything in order to get those ribbons. What is it she thinks she likes about shows? Is it the big special event atmosphere? The presence of other children? Dressing up her horse and getting attention?

                                          It reminds me of the fact that I rather enjoyed the annual June track and field sports day in elementary school, though I was no good at any of the sports and didn't really try. It was the novelty of the event, the hot dogs and the cream soda (neither of which we ate at home) and being outside rather than in the classroom on a beautiful sunny morning. Also not realizing there was the choice of not attending. A few years later, I would have ducked that kind of thing entirely, knowing I actually wasn't having a good time. So there is something about being 11 years old where you don't even actually know if you are really enjoying something or not, perhaps.

                                          Is there a functional Pony Club in your area? maybe what she needs is a chance to explore horses with her peers, away from her parents?
                                          Scribbler, I really appreciated what you just articulated. Very insightful and made me think abut my own experiences at those ages with a little new insight. And I'm in my 40's, so that was a long time ago. Still important, though, in some ways. And also I have zero children. Not sure what will help the OP most in the here and now with her child in this situation at the moment. Just sympathy for the struggle. Clearly a very thoughtful and reflective parent. Very best wishes!

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