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  • #61
    It would have been smart to have a face to face with the child before the lesson. All of this could have been avoided. Isn’t that what all instructors do? In my experience, yes, you meet before.

    Comment


    • #62
      Interesting site, weight/height. Kudos to those who have opened themselves up and participated in that project. Even a few guys, who seem to weigh more and look leaner. Buggers.
      I weigh less than I have in the past but my fat deposition has changed with age, I have a lovely spare tire now, so if I can find a youthful pic at my current weight to go with the aged pic it might be helpful to other people to understand that bodies look the way they do for a number of reasons.

      To the OP, this client seems to have caught you off guard more than once, first by bypassing your personal site and failing to read the fine print, then by showing up at your farm without an appointment, and while you were busy and not able to be direct with them. If you have a weight limit posted it's not out of reason to have the child step up on a scale and go from there. If you have a saddle dummy you can evaluate mounting control, they have a basic type at Riding for Hope and I believe they use it if they want to judge without getting a horse all tacked up. Your appendix may tolerate lunge or leading rein lessons, and they are the first type of lessons allowed in many programs especially overseas.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible

      Comment


      • #63
        This thread is a train wreck already so I don’t feel bad adding my terrible response.

        I have issues with conflict management. If I was the OP, I would have probably called and canceled the lesson. I would have likely lied through my teeth to avoid teaching the poor kid. One of my horses went lame / I adopted a rescue dog with major issues / I forgot I have yoga every night for the rest of my life / one of my students has decided to lease my school pony / some bull corn. I’m a terrible person, but there ya go.

        If I was having a really brave day, I might have been straight with the parents. Super sorry but I don’t have a horse suitable for your daughter. But highly unlikely I’d have the guts to be honest with the parents.

        I personally don’t see the use in doing a ground work only lesson with a child that I know I don’t have a horse they can ride. That seems like a tease.

        All in all, I am grateful that I’m not in the OP’s situation

        Comment


        • #64
          Oh the joys of giving riding lessons. This is unfortunately the world we live in. I had someone come for a lesson that admitted they were well over 250lbs. Lucky for both of us they only wanted a couple of circles around the yard on a lead rope. Their grandmother wanted one lesson as well and had a pony ride after that. But they were both really nice people and were thrilled that I tried to accommodate them.

          After that I set strict limits on rider weight. No one over 180lbs, because i only had a small stable and lessons is a physically demanding job for the ponies. I had someone get furious that i inquired about their weight over the phone when they called for lessons- would not even answer my question. "I'm sorry but i have to ask this question to match the appropriate horse with rider", apparently didn't fly in her book. I tried putting weight categories on the website since people do not like telling someone their weight over the phone. But most people didn't even read the website.

          Non horse people view riding as a fast food restaurant. They can show up whenever they want and go riding. I can't tell you how many people just showed up out of the blue with no appointment. Someone brought their dog, they had just picked up with no known vaccine history. Someone showed up 45 minutes late and insisted on getting two 20 minute lessons rather than one full lesson. I said no, not happening. Someone brought an extra child with no parent to sign the wavier. Some people have hairdos that do not fit under a helmet... Others show up in flip flops- no!

          ​Then there was the college student who wanted to rent a horse. I said "no we only offer lessons." She came for a lesson and wanted to gallop the entire time. I had her on my lazy mare who only canters SLOWLY. She wasn't happy with that at all. I then had her switch to the gaited mare who only canter paces- she was even less happy. But at least I got her to stop running the poor horse. Talk about unsafe, uneducated... Terrible rider. I was seriously ready to yank her off the horse and tell her to leave! If you just want to speed, go rent a motorcycle! Her and her friend were both from somewhere in Europe with supposedly a dressage background.

          And then there was the couple that brought their poor abused child. Started telling me some very suspicious story about how he couldn't sit down. They were going to ride and let him watch....There was something so very wrong about that! They ended up leaving without riding - i told them I did not have a horse for a rider their size but their child was welcome to ride when he felt better. They were furious! They couldn't have ridden in sandals anyway. They even wrote some profanity filled review that google thankfully removed at my request.

          And that is why I stopped giving lessons! Love the horses, hate the people!







          ​​​​​

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Gesaffelstein View Post

            Yes, yes she did.
            WTF? It boggles the mind how a grown up would think that it would be okay to do that. I don't care how much the child weighs or what kind of point the Op was trying to make. As a parent? I would come after you with everything I had.

            Unbelievable.
            Sheilah

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by aregard View Post

              Yeah. We had a pony clubber who was deaf in one ear, and the instructors could not figure out why she would only respond to the instruction on some kind of intermittent basis. Turns out, it depended on the direction the class was going in (which ear was toward the teacher).

              WTF some parent would *hide* this information escapes me.
              You'd be amazed. Over my years of teaching music lessons, I have had a number of parents bring in students that have had significant special challenges that they did not mention upfront despite my intake paperwork specifically asking about medical issues and even "Is there anything else I should know about your child to make lessons as fun and rewarding as possible?"

              Three that come to mind:

              1) The child on the Spectrum for whom the sound of clapping is tortuous. (Found this out after the poor thing melted down while we tried to clap out a rhythm together.)

              2) The child with ocular disturbances, that caused significant depth perception issues. From the way she described it, it sounds like the words floated off the page like something you'd see through bad 3-D glasses. And lines looked wavy. And she had trouble seeing objects with high contrast. So this poor, sweet girl was trying to read printed music that must have been so distorted that she had no way of telling where the note was on the staff. AND trying to find the right key on a black and white (high contrast) keyboard. The child wanted to play the drums or guitar. She was musically inclined and could have been great on either one of those instruments. Mom insisted it had to be piano because that was what she had played when she was a kid.

              3) The piano student who was one the Spectrum for whom sounds above a certain frequency seemed to cause physical pain.

              I'm sure I can think of others...

              Comment


              • #67
                I once allowed a "friend" to use my gelding for lessons. I found out weeks after it happened that they'd put a 300+ lb beginner rider on him, and during the lesson he buckled down to his knees. He is a 17hh thoroughbred, narrow, was probably around 1200-1250 lbs. I. Was. Furious.
                The standard safe threshold is typically considered 20%. In studies, horses started to show signs of stress at 25%. However, this is highly subjective and factors such as horse fitness, rider fitness, rider skill level, etc. are all considerations.

                I'm 5'7'' and overweight. It happens. I'm also, therefore, realistic about the size of horses I can/should ride. I'm sad I can't ride ponies, sure, I love those little guys, but I thoroughly enjoy pasta and ice cream. No, not every lesson program is going to have a horse suitable for heavy riders, that's completely understandable. But if they don't, they need to be extremely diligent about asking for people's weight before-hand, including kids, or informing people of the weight limit before scheduling, or have the weight limit listed very visibly on their website. These kinds of conversations are uncomfortable for everyone involved, but if you're not going to be very careful to prevent them, they have to happen. Horses are living, breathing creatures, they're not a soccer ball you kick around a field. No one wants to fat-shame, sure, but the safety and health of the horse should be Number One - always.
                I started reading this thread with a lot of sympathy for OP. But after the train wreck it became, my sympathy went right out the window. OP failed to be proactive, therefore they need to suck it up and deal with the consequences - have that professional, but uncomfortable, conversation BEFORE the family comes back to the farm (but I'm sure they already came out tonight as expected). You're wasting their time and money by letting them come out for a "groundwork" lesson without being upfront and honest about the situation. Sure, groundwork lessons are great, but maybe they don't want to get their daughter started at a farm and get attached to a horse, just to have to pull her out to go to a different barn with a horse she can ride in a few days/weeks/months. They should have the right to decide where they spend their money.

                Sending a photo of the poor kid to some stranger on the internet? Really, not okay.

                Weight issue aside, I personally would have told someone who attempted to contact me in such a way (multiple calls/text/messages) I did not have any openings. I'm not dealing with all that.
                Custom tack racks!
                www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Gesaffelstein View Post
                  It would have been smart to have a face to face with the child before the lesson. All of this could have been avoided. Isn’t that what all instructors do? In my experience, yes, you meet before.
                  If the implication here is that it is industry standard to meet clients in a session prior to the first lesson - I would say no, this isn't what all instructors do. I have ridden at an assortment of barns throughout the years (of a variety of sizes, focuses, with different degrees of certification/credibility from the trainers) and have never had this done. One or two may have had a questionnaire but typically it comes down to a conversation (via phone, text, or email - their preference) about my goals and if they're a good fit for what my needs are and what my aspirations are. I would not assume that the OP should have done this. At least in the areas I have ridden this is very much not the norm.

                  To the bigger picture of this situation though (and in the event anyone ever somehow finds them in similar straits) I think BigMama1 brought up a fantastic point.
                  Please don’t suggest the child needs to lose weight or improve her fitness - that’s not your call to make and chances are they are well aware already.
                  Odds are extremely high this child is aware of their weight & has already been given reason to feel self conscious about it. Regardless of the reason for the weight (and there are absolutely medications and medical conditions that may lead to early childhood obesity as well, to further complicate the social discussion about weight in general) I think that equestrian professionals should stick with what is their wheelhouse: the horses and the riding lessons. "I do not have an appropriate horse to match her with so that she may ride." Fargaloo had a number of great suggestions for this in post #60.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Let's please continue the conversation without any further insults and name calling.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      https://good-horse.com/health-manage...earch-tell-us/
                      I found this to be quite interesting. I am quite protective of our lesson horses and have had to explain to people that we don't have a suitable horse for them to ride.. Fortunately, I've never had to do it in regards to a child. I feel for the OP. It's an awkward situation and no one wants to hurt the feelings of a child but we are our horses advocates.

                      As a total aside, speaking of parents not revealing things, we once had 2 sisters start taking riding lessons. They seemed shy and didn't really listen at the first lesson but it was lead line so no harm done. Second lesson, kids are completely ignoring commands from instructor. Beginning of 3rd lesson, instructor approaches mom and explains that she's having a tough time getting the girls to do what she says and does mom have any suggestions? Mom reveals that the girls have just come from Russia and don't understand much English and speak even less.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        As an aside, regarding the unexpected arrival of the family:
                        This sort of thing is why I don’t publish my barn address anywhere. It’s not on my website, Facebook page, nowhere. There is a sign on the gate that states “Visitors welcomed by appointment only”.
                        they probably had the address for the lesson the next day, but still, I try to reduce drop - ins whenever I can...frustrating!

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          I think you should refer this family to another barn. I don't think you should be this child's instructor because you are not comfortable with her weight and you don't think your horses can accommodate her. It will be uncomfortable for you both. It would be nice for you to find a suitable instructor for them and give the girl an intro lesson, without riding, just to be a nice person. Outdoor activities could really do wonders for the child. Please find a way to encourage her.

                          Many facilities are looking for heavier built horses to accommodate larger riders. We just bought a wonderful Appy for our son from a Veteran's group because he was a lighter build than they needed and were not able to use him as often. We're veterans, so we were happy to give them money. I think this problem is becoming more common.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Gesaffelstein View Post

                            I am 6 feet tall, over weight and I’m not even 230 lbs. I doubt this 11 year old is 300, or that you are seeing many 250+ children. Sorry, I just don’t believe it.
                            In rural Georgia, we have a huge obesity problem with some children. NOT all children, but like I said, we have our fair share of children who are morbidly obese. It is sad. Just making a point.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Moonlitoaks View Post
                              I think you should refer this family to another barn. I don't think you should be this child's instructor because you are not comfortable with her weight and you don't think your horses can accommodate her. It will be uncomfortable for you both.
                              I agree. After reading this entire thread, I'm revising my original advice. My initial suggestions would have been appropriate for me in the OP's position, but I don't think they are for the OP.

                              As far as the level of obesity among Americans goes, I was absolutely gobsmacked the last time I went to Disney World. I mean, I knew we had an obesity crisis in this country. I'm about 50 pounds heavier than what I would like to be, so I'm right in there. But the number of hugely obese adults and children among the crowd was shocking to me.

                              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                              that's even remotely true."

                              Homer Simpson

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
                                As far as the level of obesity among Americans goes, I was absolutely gobsmacked the last time I went to Disney World. I mean, I knew we had an obesity crisis in this country. I'm about 50 pounds heavier than what I would like to be, so I'm right in there. But the number of hugely obese adults and children among the crowd was shocking to me.
                                It’s indeed very scary and very real. I’m about 20-30lbs overweight but at one point could have been considered obese pushing morbid obesity. It was awful and very damaging to my psyche. Which leads me to wonder if one day we will see CPS involved? I wonder if it will be deemed abuse in the future, knowing the repercussions of that lifestyle and watching some parents not only allow it but encourage it. I do understand there can be physical/hormonal aspects to it as well which makes this issue deeper.

                                Of course I could be way off base, though this post has really caused me to think. I do hope that we can find a solution to get these kids moving again and becoming healthier as a nation. It does start at home however, with the adults. While I don’t have kids I certainly hope when I do I can show them how to love food in a healthy way and how to like exercise and that it comes in all types of forms.
                                Ride with seat and a little less hand, doesn’t matter if you’re jumping a fence or chasing a can🛢

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Originally posted by Gesaffelstein View Post
                                  Sounds like you are the problem really. You don’t have proper horses for this child to ride, that is on you.
                                  As someone pointed out above I really doubt this child is 300lbs. Shame on you for projecting that.
                                  So happy you live in an alternate universe where you can afford to buy and maintain horses for every type and weight of rider imaginable who might want to lesson with you someday. Can I come live there, too? Because for those who live in the real world, what you suggest is not a possibility.

                                  OP, I knew a woman who was severely overweight. She was quite tall, but normally fluctuated between about 300 - 350lbs (from her, not an estimate) and rode often. She had draft crosses that she rode. Very occasionally, she would ride a horse in for schooling, if it was big enough and if the owner didn't object. But the trick was that she ALWAYS mounted from a mounting block tall enough that she only had to swing her leg over the saddle, and she always carried herself - engaging the core so that she was working to carry her own weight as well. She'd also ridden her entire life, and her horses were not allowed to just waltz on, but had to also engage and carry themselves as well.

                                  I mean, it CAN be done, but the level of fitness it takes to be a heavier rider isn't any different that the level of fitness it takes to be a skinnier one. And a beginner simply doesn't have the core fitness and skill to ride well, no matter their weight. If you haven't got a horse for her, you haven't got a horse for her. There's just nothing else you can say to the family other than that.

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Maybe I missed it but did she ever post how the lesson went or if they ever showed up?

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      This thread is far more entertaining than the Trump impeachment proceedings. Thanks!

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        Yeah, did they ever show up after reading the OPs required information? I’m guessing no based on many years in lesson barns watching who walks in the door. Invited or not.

                                        Some good lessons in how to conduct a lesson program on this thread and some what not to dos as well.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          Originally posted by IdahoRider View Post

                                          WTF? It boggles the mind how a grown up would think that it would be okay to do that. I don't care how much the child weighs or what kind of point the Op was trying to make. As a parent? I would come after you with everything I had.

                                          Unbelievable.
                                          Sheilah
                                          I don't use facebook, but if someone puts their photos on for all to see, isn't that like giving others the ability to share them too?

                                          I don't think OP should have shared them, but the parents open the door to it when putting them on a site for all to see.

                                          What an awkward and uncomfortable situation to be in. No matter what the child will be hurt.

                                          Comment

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