not sure what to do(19 Posts)
last year in january, my dh and i got a horse for our two daughters to ride and enjoy. however, my dh's daughter (my step daughter) only wants to ride the horse, and refuses to do any of the chores involved with the day to day care. my daughter however, is the one doing the mucking out, brushing, feeding, and everything that comes with caring for a horse including the riding. my daughter is devoted to this horse, and the horse just loves her for it.
i personally don't think that my step daughter should be allowed to ride the horse since she won't do her share of chores, but my dh disagrees. am i being unreasonable to say she can't ride the horse unless she agrees to help look after it? what should i do?
That's entirely a choice for yourself and your partner to make. Personally I would agree with you. Firstly it's unfair for your daughter to be expected to do all the hard work and take on that massive commitment and your steps auto be able to turn up and ride whenever she chooses. I have always loaned horses although never had my own and the mucking out, haynets, etc is all part and parcel of horse ownership.
I think it also would send a message to your stepdaughter that she doesn't have to work for things in life or take responsibility. Plus it would become one rule for your daughter and another for her, and if your daughter decided to follow her lead (not that she would) you would be the one left with all that responsibility.
Your daughter obviously adores the horse and it sounds like they have an incredible bond. If I was in her shoes I would feel quite upset spending all my time with this horse showering it with affection for someone else to turn up, ride it and leave. It sounds like the horse has effectively become your daughters horse rather than your stepdaughters. I also worry that your daughter may begin to resent her stepsister if this also happens in other areas of their lives.
Horses are wonderful creatures but with great things comes great responsibility. And the best things in life have to be worked for, not handed on a plate
Also what does this teach your stepdaughter? That if she stamps her feet she gets her own way ?
Can you not work out some sort of system where the amount of time spent doing fun stuff is dependent on the amount of time spent doing the chores?
Make it really easy for DSD to earn her fair share of riding time, but if she chooses not to do the chores then she gets little or no riding time. And your DD will have no problems because she is already doing everything she needs to.
It really isn't fair that DSD expects your DD to act as her stable hand.
They do have quite a bond. My daughter recently stayed up all night with the horse due to a colic. (It's very dangerous to let a horse lie down during a colic) When the vet came the next morning, come to find out the horse is also pregnant which a foal is added responsibility. Luckily my the riding coach has plenty of experience with foals and training young horses.
DH has mixed feelings about not letting step daughter ride the horse since she won't look after it and tends to be rough with the horse when riding it, and now my own daughter doesn't want her near the horse because of the unborn foal. A stud on a nearby property got loose and knocked up my daughter's horse, and she's really pumped for a foal.
This is the first time I've had discipline issues with my step daughter. Outside anything to do with this horse, she's a pretty good kid. DH thinks I could cause step daughter to resent my daughter if I don't let her ride.
DH thinks I could cause step daughter to resent my daughter if I don't let her ride.
But surely you and your DH will present a united front, clearly communicate that these are your family rules (applying to both DSD and DD)? Not really a case of you not letting her ride, or it being DD's fault.
I had resentment issues with step siblings myself, and I would like to avoid that. I'm going to talk to DH about it again and see what he thinks. With a foal on the way, SD will no doubt want to spend time with it, but I'm seriously considering giving the horse in full to my daughter. She does odd jobs to help buy things for the horse and now she's reading to the unborn foal. (I think it's cute. Don't know if it can hear in there, though!)
Is there anything else I could try with SD to change her around, especially after this foal comes?
Tends to be rough with the horse
Now you know she is expecting a foal this should be a huge consideration
But your not stopping her from riding. As far as I can see if your stepdaughter chooses not to do jobs then she is choosing not to ride. She has the option in front of her. I think that your daughter has every right to be apprehensive about DSDs involvement with the goal if she is quite rough with the horse. Is she being rough due to not knowing any different and lack of experience or choice?
I also feel that if your daughter is the one taking responsibility then her feelings need to be taken into account. Is your DH looking at things from her point of view?
I think that the previous poster has made a good suggestion that if she does jobs then she rides but if she chooses not to then the only person stopping her is herself. Hope that doesn't sound too harsh!
It is. My own daughter has been amazing with this horse, always happy to feed, muck out and spend time with her. She also does well in school with a A and B average and wants to train horses to race when she gets old enough. I know she can handle the work that comes with a foal, she's worked with them before.
What I am worried about is how SD will react if I give the horse to my daughter. DD is already worried about potential harm to the foal, and would i be unreasonable to want SD to have constant supervision if she rides or spends time with the horse if I allow her to continue?
I don't think that's unreasonable at all! Firstly she shouldn't be rough with the horse in the first place and now with the goal on the way she needs more TLC than ever. It sounds like DD is doing an amazing job. I don't think you would be unreasonable in giving your DD the horse full time. She's the one who has put her heart and soul into her.
Maybe a good compromise if finances would stretch would be SD to have lessons at a riding school instead so she can ride without the responsibility and learn how horses should be treated
I have a few questions..
How old are the girls? Is the horse at home or do they need to travel or be taken to a livery yard..? Do both girls live with you. When is the foal due..?
Regardless of the answers to the above I absolutely agree that if they share the horse then they share everything that goes with it. It's called responsibility.
If DSD just wants to ride and nothing else, take her to a riding school once a week for an hours lesson and give the horse to DD.
so your stepdaughter is both uncaring and irresponsible? Wow, I don't think she should be allowed to ride.
I think you need to be tough on her. Firstly, establish if she is rough with the horse because she is just horrid, or if it is due to poor riding technique / lack of skill. If she is horrid then tough luck for her, she shouldn't be around the horse. If she just has a lack of skill then she needs some lessons! Also, I'd say that due to the foal, both of them should go on on a training course.
Secondly, if your step daughter in unwilling to put the time in to caring for the mare & foal, then I think (Similar to a share agreement between strangers) she should have a contract with her sister listing all the jobs required each week. For each one she doesn't do, she needs to compensate her sister for doing the work by either paying her with her pocket money or doing her sisters share of house chores or another equivalent.
As a separate issue, have you taken legal action against the owner of the stallion? Also, are you in the US?
Have you sat down with her and talked it all through? Pointed out the unfairness of wanting all the fun, while expecting none of the associated work?
You don't do a kid any favours by hiding from problems, IMO. She needs to be communicated with, not alienated, sure, but that doesn't mean sucking up any and all bad behaviour.
Shared ownership is often problematic, as one person often ends up doing more work, whilst the other wants just the fun stuff. I think it needs to be x amount of riding per x amount of work for both girls. Your daughter will naturally happily take on the duties in order to get the riding time, whilst your stepdaughter will probably just fade off and not be interested anymore.
"DH thinks I could cause step daughter to resent my daughter if I don't let her ride."
Resentment may have already set in caused by your stepdaughter not mucking out but still being allowed to ride though...if they both decide they don't want to muck out do they both still get to ride?
On a practical level, who does the mucking out when your stepdaughter rides the horse?
I wasn't allowed a horse until I proved my commitment to looking after one properly by volunteering at a local riding school for a couple of years. As you obviously know, they're a huge commitment and a lot of hard work, but the reward for that hard work is the bond you develop with them and the joy of spending time riding. Your dsd really hasn't done anything to earn that reward and unless she does spend more time doing the work, spending more non-riding time with the horse, then she will never develop the sort of bond that makes it truly rewarding anyway.
Could you perhaps draw up some sort of rota for the jobs? Say, she has to do x, y, z jobs X number of times before she gets to ride. Same rules for your dd, but as she already does it all, it won't be an issue for her.
I don't know much about pregnant horses, but surely the horse is going to be out of action riding-wise for a while anyway while she's in foal - maybe that's the time to introduce the rota, with the ultimatum, that if she doesn't fulfil her part of the deal, then she won't be allowed to ride in future?
I understand the concern about not wanting to breed resentment between step-siblings, but if handled right and both girls have the same opportunity to prove they are willing to look after the horse properly then she would really have no right to complain if she lost the opportunity to ride.
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