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My daughter's riding (and lack thereof)

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  • gertie06
    started a topic My daughter's riding (and lack thereof)

    My daughter's riding (and lack thereof)

    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. We talked about 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 (and yet she wants to go to the 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 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.

    P.P.S. For all of you saying "let her quit"....I'd like that! But she says that she wants to keep riding!
    Last edited by gertie06; Aug. 29, 2019, 07:25 PM.

  • DressageChic2
    replied
    so i have 13 and 10yo step daughters.

    youngest is not brave and has always needed cajoling......it was starting to stress everyone incl the pony (who is a SAINT) and so we just stopped asking.....and several months down the line she never asks to ride.

    if we ask she will say yes but you can tell she doesn't really want to and if we said we were selling the pony there would be tears..........but if we just did it...............she wouldn't even notice!

    eldest is more committed and enthusiastic by a long way but we have just literally started asking her to do more stables chores.....so we will see if she REALLY wants this !!!!

    and if she doesn't, the very talented saint will be sold and a mini will keep my boy companion

    Leave a comment:


  • darcilyna
    replied
    I am new to the horse world but not new to parenting (I have a 4, 11 and almost 14 year old). I would recommend setting a boundary/expectation that she is responsible for XYZ to do at her own motivation (mom do NOT TACK AND UNTACK THAT HORSE) or you WILL cut back to just the once a week schooling lesson. Give a clear time frame (2 weeks? 1 month?) To get used to these new expectations ...show you whether she will rise to them or not.. and stand your ground.

    She may "like"riding but not the care, upkeep, responsibility of leasing a horse. That's ok. She's not you.

    I would if I could let you borrow my daughter whose dream is to own a horse farm one day...loves the care of the horses as much if not more than riding. Seems to me some love that part and some just don't.

    Good luck whatever you decide!

    Leave a comment:


  • rhymeswithfizz
    replied
    Originally posted by Mango20 View Post

    I've been thinking of posting something like this. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Many people do activities that they enjoy but are not passionate about. Lack of all-consuming passion does not equal lack of interest.
    This, absolutely. I have three daughters, two of them who ride, but neither would I call "horse crazy", or totally passionate about horses. And that's okay. We keep horses at home, so it is definitely a luxury that they can be "half in" rather than "all in", but neither kid is really the "all-in" type. I wasn't either. We still have fun with pony club and foxhunting, and they also do music, band, soccer, and just have fun playing with friends.

    I'd consider allowing your daughter to be "half in". Half lease out the pony to another kid so they can share the riding time. Try out pony club, so she can just have fun with friends.

    My youngest (age 9) pretty much only rides when her friends are riding, but that's fine. I lend out her pony to other pony clubbers when she isn't riding or has a soccer game or whatever. That pony is a saint as has a home for life with me, so it works out just fine.

    My oldest (age 15) was exactly like my youngest at that age, and then suddenly she got more interested, and seems to have taken over my OTTB, but even she has other major commitments (high school and club soccer) so she's still what I would consider "half in". I still ride the OTTB myself too when she is busy (he is my fieldmaster ride). She also gets a fair amount of barn chores assigned to her.

    Now if I was shelling out a huge lease fee and board here, it might be a different story, but since we have them at home and the pony is an air fern with no shoes, he's cheaper than a dog. We ride together when it works, and if kids have other things, no biggie.

    Leave a comment:


  • OverandOnward
    replied
    There is a price tag on passion, and there is also a price tag on things that are merely diversions. Both have to be worked into a family budget, responsibly. Budget priorities have to be assigned where they belong. That may not be for an expensive leased pony (or maybe it is).



    OP, whatever your decision, don't feel pressured feeling as if this is the last decision you will ever make about horses and your daughter. You can make a decision now and still make changes and adjustments to the decision later on.

    Leave a comment:


  • Beck
    replied
    The degree of 'passion' /commitment/interest, may determine whether an activity is 'too' expensive or not. Surely a parent has to factor that in. What I am comfortable spending for myself on a mildly interesting activity is less than what I willingly spend on my main interest, and more than what I will pay for something I am honestly indifferent about. It may be a measure of importance. Priority.

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    Originally posted by Mango20 View Post

    I've been thinking of posting something like this. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Many people do activities that they enjoy but are not passionate about. Lack of all-consuming passion does not equal lack of interest.
    I agree 100%

    Leave a comment:


  • Mango20
    replied
    Originally posted by candyappy View Post

    Color me more surprised at the amount of posters who think an 11 year old needs to be " passionate " about riding or anything else, or you stop doing it?
    I've been thinking of posting something like this. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Many people do activities that they enjoy but are not passionate about. Lack of all-consuming passion does not equal lack of interest.

    Leave a comment:


  • Impractical Horsewoman
    replied
    Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
    Color me surprised at the amount of responses my post has received!
    I think it's stirred up passion because so many posters would have love to have a horse-crazy mom, lease pony, and the ability to show! With the wisdom of an adult, of course. Youth is wasted on the young.

    I must confess I'm not a parent, but I do work with teens, so feel free to consider this advice as much or as little as you'd like in that light. Even many older teens lack the ability and motivation to follow through on tasks, especially if their parent is willing to compensate for them. I know some incredibly mature kids who have been like mini-adults with horses. Others love horses but have trouble staying on task, listening, and realizing the consequences of their actions (like getting up late for a show). It's not a reflection of their intelligence--but some kids who aren't ADHD haven't quite developed the sense of motivation and follow-through they will as adults. I was a bit like that--I was a great reader, very articulate, but also very "head in the clouds" and sometimes even when I understood how to do something, I had trouble executing it.

    It sounds like your daughter loves horses, but the current situation is both expensive and not necessarily the best fit for her right now. Rather than making showing the goal, I'd suggest making simpler tasks the focus, like tacking up correctly (even if an entire session with the pony is devoted to tacking up), and riding a certain number of times a week and paying attention in lessons. Not only is it expensive, but past a certain point IMHO, it's not really safe for a kid that lacks the ability to handle a horse on the ground and listen to an instructor to progress past a certain level. You need to allow her to fail in a safe manner, over and over again, until she can do things herself. Either she will get discouraged, or she will start to get some grit. Or, if she is genuinely not capable of doing certain things, she may need a much less intensive riding situation (like a once-a-week lesson), until she is capable.

    Leave a comment:


  • bip
    replied
    Originally posted by candyappy View Post

    Color me more surprised at the amount of posters who think an 11 year old needs to be " passionate " about riding or anything else, or you stop doing it?

    Exposing a child to different activities ( in moderation) and even competing can do a world of good for confidence building and shape her into the adult she will one day become. Yes, it costs money but what doesn't??
    Lol most things cost a lot less than a pony! I do agree that it is the rare 11 year old who is passionate about horses/riding in a way that translates into daily riding and chores.

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
    Color me surprised at the amount of responses my post has received!
    Color me more surprised at the amount of posters who think an 11 year old needs to be " passionate " about riding or anything else, or you stop doing it?

    Exposing a child to different activities ( in moderation) and even competing can do a world of good for confidence building and shape her into the adult she will one day become. Yes, it costs money but what doesn't??

    Leave a comment:


  • gertie06
    replied
    Color me surprised at the amount of responses my post has received!

    Leave a comment:


  • walkinthewalk
    replied
    Originally posted by gertie06 View Post

    That's a good question. At some periods through the year, she'll play on a recreational basketball team and/or take art classes. That's really it. She's not necessarily overscheduled. I think it'd be great if she'd pursue one of those things further, because she seems happy doing them. But the ho-hum attitude I see about her riding is also apparent in those activities. I guess that's her nature to some extent. Or maybe she just hasn't found her "thing."

    But you're right....some of her friends have an absurd amount of activities. Literally something every night. That strikes me as unhealthy in a number of ways. Plus she never gets any time with those friends because they're always too busy to just hang out.
    I came in late on this thread and I apologize that I have not read all of the 98 replies, only about 1/10 of them. Here is my take, based on my many years ago experience when my son was 10 years old, and based on your comments that I have quoted:

    My son never did have my born in the blood addiction for my horses. It broke my heart, but I had to except it grudgingly. While he liked his dirt bikes, his enthusiasm for those was only as good as when his buddies were riding with him LOL

    He was in one sport at school seasonally, as I refused to have him overburdened with too many afterschool activities. He was also a child who was easily bored if his mind couldn't wrap itself around something 200%.

    He did maintain reasonable enthusiasm for his dirt bikes but even those weren't his thing. He didn't find his thing until he was about 15 and his father introduced him to dragracing. If I remember he had to be 18 to drive the car down the dragstrip but it was the dragracing that really had my son's attention and working on the cars to get them to the dragstrip.

    I was a diehard trail rider. My son eventually said to me that he was sorry he didn't care about riding to the depth that I did but he did care about the horses and their well-being. It eventually turned out that we made a deal, that if I was riding around the block don't bother to call him, LOL. However if I was hauling the horses up to our camp in the mountains for the weekend, he was all in and would go and help me do everything .

    My point is, stop spending money; back your daughter out of the horses; let her do her thing and find out what brings her joy even if it's only for a day. Do that regardless of the activity as long as it's healthy, and regardless of how it hurts you to see her not want to be your mini me . It took me a year to get over that notion, and from your writings I doubt it will happen overnight for you either, but you have got to let her go and do her thing under your supervision, even if that thing changes faster than you can keep up with

    Best wishes, I hope this all works out for you

    Leave a comment:


  • S1969
    replied
    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post

    It’s also the ho hum attitude found in kids who are provided a smorgasboard of activities without being expected to work for them or even care much about them. To whom everything is handed, and to those from whom nothing much is expected, everything becomes a mildly interesting diversion. The second anything poses a challenge, though, these kids quit.
    And your opinion is based on your experience as a......parent? Teacher? Curious how you know so many kids where everything is handed to them but they quit when challenged?

    Leave a comment:


  • meupatdoes
    replied
    Originally posted by Frosty M View Post
    OP wrote:

    "But the ho-hum attitude I see about her riding is also apparent in those activities. I guess that's her nature to some extent. Or maybe she just hasn't found her "thing."

    It's very smart of you to suppose she just hasn't found her thing. Maybe it would be helpful to her to have the space to find her thing if you backed off being so judgemental. So far you have mentioned one thing that she loves to do- paint. Give her the time and space to paint and abandon trying to force her to have the attitude that you want her to have

    She's eleven. These young years are precious times, irreplaceable times, for your child to discover for herself what she really wants to do. Please give her the freedom to be herself.
    It’s also the ho hum attitude found in kids who are provided a smorgasboard of activities without being expected to work for them or even care much about them. To whom everything is handed, and to those from whom nothing much is expected, everything becomes a mildly interesting diversion. The second anything poses a challenge, though, these kids quit.

    If she loves painting, a.) focus on that, and b.) still find ways to make her work for it, ie by saving up for brushes or letting her do a class at the local museum if she earns it by doing x y and z for a month. Oh, you want to watch the Joy of Painting? Is your homework done? Oh you want to go to the art store for materials? How much do you have saved you from your allowance? If you have enough for one brush I can help out with the rest. Hey, there’s this cool arts summer camp locally that starts in June, are you interested? You are? Ok, well, that’s a pretty big deal s let’s work out a way you can help out around the house and if you do it consistently we can definitely make camp happen. Etc etc and so forth. When her attitude HAS TO change for her to get anywhere, it will.

    Leave a comment:


  • meupatdoes
    replied
    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.

    P.P.S. For all of you saying "let her quit"....I'd like that! But she says that she wants to keep riding!
    Who care whether she “sees it that way”??! She’s eleven.

    I have very little interest in golfing or yachting but if someone was providing a weekly golf lesson or a trip around the harbor every Sunday morning I’d certainly take them up on it. If they asked, “Do you want to quit?” I’d be like, “No, this is great!” If they were like, “Hey, do you want to come early to the harbor and help with some of the prep and also ride the lawnmower on the golf course three mornings a week?” I would lose any interest I did have immediately. Which is fine, as I am not that interested in golfing or yachting.
    Now a horse on the other hand I will set the alarm at 4:30am for and show up when it’s 10 degrees F time and time again.

    This is the part where you TELL HER to quit. If her behavior and level of motivation is not sufficient in your eyes to warrant the annual expense in time and funds, you say, “This sport is too expensive for you to phone it in like this, so we are taking a break and if you want to start back up in three months we can work out a system where you earn each ride by helping out at the barn, doing your chores at home, and maintain at least a B+ GPA in school. YOU will have to do x y and z work to earn your way back on a pony again.”

    And if she doesn’t do the work, she doesn’t get the pony. Voila, she will quit the sport she isn’t motivated enough to do in the first place.

    Leave a comment:


  • chantal
    replied
    Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
    "PS- I do not suggest oboe "

    Originally posted by LaurieB View Post


    Or harp. Even a stand-up bass is better than a harp.

    Leave a comment:


  • Frosty M
    replied
    OP wrote:

    "But the ho-hum attitude I see about her riding is also apparent in those activities. I guess that's her nature to some extent. Or maybe she just hasn't found her "thing."

    It's very smart of you to suppose she just hasn't found her thing. Maybe it would be helpful to her to have the space to find her thing if you backed off being so judgemental. So far you have mentioned one thing that she loves to do- paint. Give her the time and space to paint and abandon trying to force her to have the attitude that you want her to have

    She's eleven. These young years are precious times, irreplaceable times, for your child to discover for herself what she really wants to do. Please give her the freedom to be herself.

    Leave a comment:


  • chantal
    replied
    Meh, she's 11. She doesn't know what she wants. Let her try different things. And save the money for you and your horse unless she shows she really wants to ride And 11 yo isn't going to be that responsible. Maybe some are, but the average one, not so much.

    I have 3 kids, my youngest is now 17. My eldest rode one summer, that was it. They were all around horses with me but none wanted to ride. Not a one. That was money that was well not spent! They swam, played baseball, fenced and did their own things. Oh, and all are musical. Me, not so much. We're all different. My one caveat was when they started something for a season, they had to finish that season, no quitting after a month or so. There are too many fun things to do. Let her figure out what works for her, with your guidance. It may be horses, she may need to mature into them, or not. She is who she is. As we horse crazy people are who we are.

    Leave a comment:


  • Annabelle123
    replied
    I’ve seen this about a million times.Your daughter doesn’t really want to ride, but she desperately wants to please you.

    Don’t ask her if she wants to keep riding (I promise you she doesn’t). Stop with the horse shows, end the lease, don’t sign her up for lessons elsewhere. Don’t make this feel like a punishment or like she’s disappointed you/let you down/is a failure. Tell her you are going to take a little break from her riding and encourage her to try some other sports and activities that she might like. Frame it as a temporary break rather than “quitting” which feels more final and will likely make her feel guilty and like she has failed to live up to your expectations.

    During the break, let her come to the barn with you from time to time without the pressure of sitting on a horse. Plenty of kids who don’t want to ride still love coming to the barn, playing with the cats, the frogs etc. Also make sure she gets 1:1 time with you doing non horse-related activities. You can reassess in 6 months or a year. If she’s asking to ride again, consider signing her up for the local Pony Club which is much more social, fun, and less pressure than a show barn. If it’s something she wants, she will find her own way back to it.

    Leave a comment:

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