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My daughter's riding (and lack thereof)

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  • #41
    Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
    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 let her cry. Those are some expensive ribbons, both financially and time-wise. You are talking this situation to death with her, and she is manipulating you. Set some boundaries - In order to keep the lease up, she has to ride X times a week, and she is responsible for grooming, tacking, etc. She is also responsible for having herself ready when it's time to go to the barn. You don't nag. If she is not ready, she doesn't go. Take a book with you and read it while she does her thing at the barn. If you need to check her tack before she gets on, fine, but she does the work. And set time boundaries - We are going to the barn at 3 and leaving to come back home at 4:30 and stick to them. If it takes her an hour to tack and she only rides for five minutes, fine. Put the ball in her court, if she really doesn't want to play, it will be apparent pretty quick.

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    • #42
      Sounds to me like she likes competing and winning, but not necessarily the horses. There's a lot of other sports that involve competition. Like, all of them.

      She's 11. 11 year olds are moody prepubescent middle school students that most high school teachers cringe at the sight of (I'm a high school teacher). They still act like kids but the expectations of school and life are making them act like grown-ups. THEY RESIST CHANGE. And what IS that smell???? They have enough changes going on in their own bodies that any change outside of their bodies rocks the boat.

      Can you keep the lease pony but have her sign up for basketball and art classes? If there's more of a gradual change it might help her transition into new activities. See how she does with the other things and then see if she still wants to keep riding. And when she gets apathetic, I'd just quit bugging her about it. Let her miss out on going to the barn or whatever. Is there anyway the pony can be ridden by someone else at the barn or in the lesson program? If you just let the horse thing slide, it might be that she finds some kind of inner motivation that she actually asks to go to the barn. Or it might be that when she hasn't asked and hasn't seen him for a month, that it's clear it's time to let the pony go. And I'd take all shows off the table right now. The only way she and you will know if she really likes riding is if she isn't getting positive reinforcement for doing it whether she likes it or not.

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      • #43
        Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
        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.
        Sometimes tears come from discomfort/stress when discussing certain topics. Maybe in anticipation of parental disappointment. Perhaps even a bit of sentiment over change or 'the end of a era'. Or relief/release at times. Not necessarily heartbreak.

        And they all like the ribbons. But ribbons will stop coming if progress stalls. Or just get more and more expensive if a succession of talented mounts is continually provided to pack her around.

        No matter where you go, there you are

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        • #44
          Originally posted by gertie06 View Post

          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.
          No, bottom line is YOU are spending your money and her childhood doing something she is not crazy about. You say you've talked to her. Have you lectured her on what it means to have her own pony and the requirements of riding 3-4 days a week, caring for it, etc? Or have you actually talked to her to see if this is what she wants? Is it possible she knows you love this sport and she wants to do something that she thinks you want her to do? Have you sat down with her and outlined what her riding goals are and what she thinks she needs to do to get there?

          If you have not sat her down and told her that its completely fine for her to NOT love this sport and to do something else that she truly enjoys, you need to. I wouldn't be surprised if she tells you she doesn't really want to be a serious rider and only wanted to do it because that's what you wanted her to do. Kids want to be close to their parents and make them proud. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that her "goal" is to have a pony that she can go ride once in a while and just tell her friends that she has a pony. If you have had this conversation with her and she insists that its what she wants, then I would say it's time to terminate the lease until she is more responsible. Tell her she can take lessons for now as often as she wants (which will presumably be cheaper than what you are paying now). If she wants to ride three days a week in lessons and keeps at it, then reconsider the lease. But the onus is on her - she decides how often she wants to ride. By terminating the lease and moving to lessons, you aren't on the hook for dumping money down the drain when she isn't using the horse and progressing, but it still supports a riding career if she wants one and you can reconsider the lease once she shows that she is serious.

          "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

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          • #45
            11 is a bit young to demand goal-setting and "career" choices. And even if she stops riding now, what's to say she doesn't become reinterested and pick it back up in a few years? For fun? Did we forget about fun? And what about the pony? Does she love the pony she is leasing?

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            • #46
              Originally posted by Beck View Post

              Sometimes tears come from discomfort/stress when discussing certain topics. Maybe in anticipation of parental disappointment. Perhaps even a bit of sentiment over change or 'the end of a era'. Or relief/release at times. Not necessarily heartbreak.

              And they all like the ribbons. But ribbons will stop coming if progress stalls. Or just get more and more expensive if a succession of talented mounts is continually provided to pack her around.
              I just wanted to second this. Tears aren't necessarily a bad thing. She's probably feeling a lot of complicated emotions, and processing them at 11 (or any age really) results in crying. Tears from lots of emotions are normal for some people. See if you can keep her talking through it. See if she can identify the different things she's feeling, and then suggest that she take some time to think and write you a note about what she wants. She may just need help learning how to 'hear' her feelings and express them.

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              • #47
                I'm reading that there's some untangling needs to be done here, and it may go deeper than pony no pony. The next few years are going to go by fast. You'll blink and your daughter will be asking to borrow the car keys. Blink again and she'll be heading out to vote.

                It's critical I think that after doing some soul searching yourself, you have a heartfelt chat with her about how she is such a great kid and how you are her biggest cheerleader in whatever endeavors she chooses to partake in.

                I'd go for a drive so there doesn't have to be uncomfortable eye contact and I wouldn't ask a ton of pointed questions, other than confirming that she understands that you're listening to her and you respect her choices. That she is free to explore her own unique interests on her journey into adulthood.

                It's a tough one because horses are your passion but I would try to work through that (ie; being careful not to subconsciously use guilt inducing words or body language) by replacing 'riding' in my head with something you have no opinion about either way..say water polo.

                I'd let her mull on that for a month or so and then (go for another drive hahah) make the pony decision with her. Have some clear rules about what keeping pony will entail on her part and that if the lease is ended she is still so welcome to come hang out and catch frogs and play with the cats and help you groom your own horse if she wants some horse time.

                If she were my kid I'd also have her split the cost of any lessons going forward by earning some chore money at home. She may decide in the end she'd rather spend it on a new basketball or art supplies. Perfect! I'd be embracing and supporting any healthy choices she made on her own behalf.
                One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
                William Shakespeare

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                • #48
                  If her main motivation is showing, perhaps laying down the law just a little, as in "If you do X, Y, and/or Z with Pony this week, we can go to the show on Saturday, and hold firm--no X, Y, and/or Z, no show. She may decide the show isn't worth X, Y and/or Z and decide on her own to move on. Or the consequences may motivate her.

                  BUT...what about a different approach? Is there something she's really wanted to try, like art lessons, after-school sports, Girl Scouts, volunteering at the animal shelter, etc? Could you let her do one of those for a while instead of a day of riding? If she gets to do what she's interested in, she may decide to let the riding go on her own because she has something she's passionate about and gets recognition for instead.

                  If she finds something, maybe you can try it too--NOT in her class/group, but if she loves ballet, try an adult class. Ditto art class etc. If you end up loving it, it's something you have in common and can share where she isn't feeling pressure to love what you want. If you end up not into it, it gives you a glimpse of where she's coming from, and common ground for a conversation. "Hey, DD, you know how I love horses and you like to ride some but don't love them? I totally get it, because I know you LOVE painting. I think it's fun sometimes, but I'm not as focused as you are--and that's OK! How about I drop you off for paining class while I go ride, and then afterwards, we can both go the the art supply store for those new brushes you were needing and you can show me what you learned?" That puts her in control. If she wants to go on a trail ride with you on vacation or tool around on a friend's pony or take lessons once a week, great...but now she has her painting (or whatever), you understand her passion, she understands that you are proud of her for choosing something she wants to do and sticking with it.

                  When I was 11, horses were my passion, though I rarely got to ride. But I had other interests as well, and I don't know that I could have picked one to focus on without being able to try a few--and quit without guilt--to see. Sometimes we need to let kids know that it's ok to quit something for the right reasons. The fear of being a "quitter" is real for kids, because it's generally seen as a negative. Let them know that deciding to do something else that you love more isn't the same as giving up because you didn't win/don't like the coach/don't want to work hard. If they'd rather work hard at something else, that's ok.

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                  • #49
                    I have a 13 tr old who has been horse crazy since she started riding at 9 yrs old. From her first lesson she wanted to tack her own horse up.

                    She has a friend who is 2 yrs younger that start riding at the same time. This girl is now 11. She loves the idea of riding, wants to be a good rider, wants to be at shows and winning ribbons, and most of all loves the social aspect of it.
                    But she is lazy when it comes to doing any horse care or hard work. If she can get some one else to tack up or do the work for her lesson horse she will. A lot also has to do with the attention that comes with that. Basically she loves the fun aspect of it but not the work aspect of it. We have also been on other types of teams with the same girls and she is kind of the same with other sports & teams- wants to do well and loves the social aspect but not so interested in actually working for it.

                    Are you sure this isnt part of your daughters personality? is she like this about other things? If her having the horse makes you happy and you are okay with the cost I personally would say keep the lease and keep pushing more responsibility on her. If it's a financial burden or something you just dont want to deal with anymore then stop the lease and keep her in lessons until she no longer wants to do it. Or maybe she would be happy at a barn with more kids her age?

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                    • #50
                      Another thought.... how much of this is because she just wants to spend some quality 1-1 time with Mom? If she doesn't do the pony thing, how else does she spend 1/1 time with you?

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                      • #51
                        As far as tears meaning heartbreak, I recall tears being very close to the surface in those moody years, and being connected to shame, guilt, fear, anger, more often than not.

                        OP's daughter probably knows perfectly well she is not as invested in pony as OP wants, but also could legitimately reply well I didn't know you wanted me to tack up, or think why isn't going through the motions suddenly not Ok, why are the rules changing? Panic, fear of losing mom's approval, so defensive and denial.

                        I remember feeling really sideswiped on occasion at that age when parents let a situation continue then put their foot down when they ran out of patience.

                        Perhaps encouraging her to find another interest this school year, and letting her grow away from the pony/mom bond which sounds like it isn't working.

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                        • #52
                          Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                          The fear of being a "quitter" is real for kids, because it's generally seen as a negative.
                          I think that is debatable: most of the kids I know and work with seem to regard quitting as no big deal. They walk away from things, big and small, regularly and with no lasting effects.
                          No matter where you go, there you are

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                          • #53
                            Am I the only one that expected this thread to be about an adult child overly dependent on their parents while struggling to make horses a career?

                            My first thought reading the OP was; "she's 11 for crying out loud!"

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                            • #54
                              Originally posted by atlatl View Post
                              Am I the only one that expected this thread to be about an adult child overly dependent on their parents while struggling to make horses a career?

                              My first thought reading the OP was; "she's 11 for crying out loud!"
                              Me TOO! I thought it was about a young adult wanting a horse career and then hitting reality - finding out the bitter truth about it.
                              The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

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                              • #55
                                My daughter who won ribbons quit riding when she started college and never rode again. The 'other' one is still riding and riding well. I had one 4H mom point at her, the youngest, when other child was taking every class and tell me 'now THAT's your RIDER.' One had all the physical ability in the world given to her, the other had heart.

                                I'd also like to add - have you ever gone out on an all day mother/daughter trail ride, packed a lunch and had a beautiful day? Daughter #2 still does this....
                                The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #56
                                  I didn’t know what to title it! My daughter wants to ride but kinda not? 😂
                                  Anyway, it’s been good reading responses. I’m just going to let the trainer set the expectations like she would for any other 11 year old in the barn. I think that’s better than Mom nagging. The trainer will pull the pony if my daughter doesn’t do her part. I’ll just be on the sidelines offering encouragement, just like I would in any other sport or activity. And with the exception of basic safety checks, I’m going to stop being the groom. Thanks to everyone for your insight!

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                                  • #57
                                    She doesn’t want to ride. Stop making her. At 11, she’s probably going to want to do whatever her friends are doing. Are they into art? Soccer? Music? Let her choose a new activity and she can always come back to the horses later.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #58
                                      Originally posted by JustTheTicket View Post
                                      She doesn’t want to ride. Stop making her. At 11, she’s probably going to want to do whatever her friends are doing. Are they into art? Soccer? Music? Let her choose a new activity and she can always come back to the horses later.
                                      As I mentioned, she says she wants to. I don’t force her. But her words and actions are saying different things.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                                        So let her cry. Those are some expensive ribbons, both financially and time-wise. You are talking this situation to death with her, and she is manipulating you. Set some boundaries - In order to keep the lease up, she has to ride X times a week, and she is responsible for grooming, tacking, etc. She is also responsible for having herself ready when it's time to go to the barn. You don't nag. If she is not ready, she doesn't go. Take a book with you and read it while she does her thing at the barn. If you need to check her tack before she gets on, fine, but she does the work. And set time boundaries - We are going to the barn at 3 and leaving to come back home at 4:30 and stick to them. If it takes her an hour to tack and she only rides for five minutes, fine. Put the ball in her court, if she really doesn't want to play, it will be apparent pretty quick.
                                        I agree with all of this.

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          I would be careful with giving 11 year olds ultimatums when asked to make up their mind, something 11 year olds just are not really up to that much, especially under pressure.

                                          We don't tell a puppy to straighten up or we won't go for a walk.
                                          We train it so it understands that sitting nicely gets him a leash on, door opens and we can go out in that wonderful world full of all kinds of smells he lives for.

                                          11 year olds are a bit like that puppy, still learning how things work and what really matters and what is only wishful thinking.
                                          Using only punishment if they don't do what we want can be more confusing than having guidance to learn, without scared to fail.

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