Should I be encouraging DD's horse passion?(22 Posts)
DD is 10, and has been doing Saturday morning riding lessons for about a year, plus the odd pony day in the holidays which has stretched me financially but with the odd batch of lessons from grandparents and boots and hat for Christmas has been doable. She is doing very well, looking like a proper little horsewoman on some quite big ponies/ small horses, starting to jump, etc. Lessons are the highlight of her week, she says she's happy whenever she's with horses.
I know very little about horses, have no 'horsey' background, and I'm a single parent with a tightish budget and not a lot of free time. Am I being unfair to encourage this hobby, because she'll never be able to do more than have a lesson a few times a month? She would like to be going to pony club instead of after school club, doing more and (of course) to have a horse. Dreams of a future with horses. I can't see a way to earn more money without having even less time with DD.
So, horsey people, should I be enouraging this, or is it something she can't have because I can't afford it?
Ah, I was the same at that age. My parents couldn't afford lessons and I'd just get the odd hack or pony trekking when we went camping. It wasn't until I was able to earn my own money (saturday job, paper round and babysitting - I was very busy!) that things moved on and my sister and I eventually got our own pony. Our mum would give us the Family Allowance (child benefit now) for the field rent and we had to earn the rest between us, which we did.
I don't think you need to actually discourage her as she most likely understands that you can't afford to spend fortunes, and it does mean she'll appreciate things more when she does get them. I remember being ridiculously excited about buying a grooming kit! The situation now doesn't mean she'll never be able to have a life or career with horses if she wants it.
Thanks Pixel, I'm guessing 14 is about the minimum age for hanging round the stables and getting there herself, by which time school work will be hotting up. A long time until then, though.
I was horsey mad as a child but my parents couldn't afford a horse. I got my first horse at 21 as a reward from my uncle for getting a first at Uni - I think when he made the promise at the start of the first year he never imagined he would have to cough up, I had never been academically particularly gifted before, just needed the right motivation!
I've had horses ever since!
So I suppose the answer is let her follow her heart. Later on she can help out for lessons, or pick up a shared ride from someone who needs help with their horse, etc until she can afford her own.
Right - lessons are really expensive. Get yourself down to the local tack shop and look for horses/ponies offered for share or part loan - most people want someone to share the work and costs - I loaned my boy to someone three days a week, she did all mucking out/riding on those days and I charged her £30 a week contribution - same or less than a weekly riding lesson. If it works out less, you could save the spare and get her a lesson once a month from. A local instructor who visits that yard on the pony she loans. Some people also have ponies they want exercised and don't even want money, just commitment. It will teach her responsibility, caring, and respect, looking after a horse is an excellent grounding for becoming a nice adult
I think continue to encourage. Be honest about the amount of lessons you can afford. When your dd is a few years older she can help out in return for lessons. From personal experience it's a fantastic hobby/sport to be involved in. Particularly going into the teenage years. Even if your dd has to wait until adulthood for a horse of her own you have given her a fantastic love and skill for life.
What area of the country are you in. I know quite a few people who are looking for riders for outgrown ponies who have become pets but really need exercise coming into summer. If you did a quick tour of local livery yards i'm sure you'd easily be able to increase your DD's pony time for very little cost. It may even work out cheaper than riding school lessons.
Dd started volunteering at the stables she started riding at when she was 12. She's now 14 and working at the rising school she goes to now every Sunday and most days during the school holidays. She gets to ride plus she gets paid.
I pay for her weekly group lessons and she pays for any private lessons she has plus riding gear, competition entries etc
She understands that logistics and finances make it impossible for her to have her own horse at the moment. She gets so much out of it though that everything we spend is worth it - it's not just the riding, it's also the stable management, helping out in lead rein lessons, making a commitment and sticking to it plus having a completely different set of friends as well as her school friends. I'll cut back a lot of things before I'll cut back her riding..
Thanks all, that's reassuring, I was starting to think I was setting her up for disappointment, and for comparing her lot in life with some very privileged kids, too.
It does seem to be doing her confidence a lot of good, she can be a bit of a shy wimpy kid, but I've never seen her so focused as when she's riding. Think it would be a few years before she's ready to start exercising people's ponies, but it's good to be able to see a way forward for her
missy if she's up to jumping, cantering and hacking out a bit, then she should be fine now - if someone wants their pony exercised, they're not looking for a professional jockey, just a competent, enthusiastic kid who will put the time in. Seriously, have a look now, nothing to lose!
Our stables let the children go and help fron the age of 9yrs.
Once they are 11yrs they can earn free lessons by helping out.
My son is a nervous rider and needs time in the saddle to gain confidence. I have found a lady who is happy for 30mins at £7.50 in the school.
I did get the horse checked for suitability beforehand though.
Join Horse and Hound forum and see if there is anyone on there as I wrote about my son and I had offers of help but they were to far away.
Also there are loads of Facebook groups and they have posts looking for help.
Sorry to be a neigh sayer but a novice won't get schooling riding. It's an expensive thing to do but fantastic. Spent my teens at the yard (never got a free lesson) and got my own horses about 10 years ago. She will need to be up for the long haul
OP if you ever decide to go for a share for your DD be a bit careful. It is best to go with a pony your instructor know well, or a share at the RC or some kind of very reliable word of mouth recommendation. Ponies are not always accurately described, either because the owner I should optimistic or dishonest (the latter more common for loans/shares, the former more common for sales). Even well behaved animals may change with a new rider so a careful period of evaluation should be in place.
In the same situation as you OP, my dd1 is 11, but she has been riding since 4 years old. We have been to 4 different stables as her needs changed. From age 8 she has been allowed to help on the yard. Now she helps out in exchange for lessons. She leads novices in lessons, mucks out, grooms, washes, tacks up, puts horses in and out of walker, even mans reception some times! It's so good for them.
By the power of pester, I think we will be getting one in a few years
Also, ponies are not always suitable for children. my welshie is all of 13hh on his tippy toes, but has decked the last two experienced adults (not me!) who rode him; I certainly wouldn't put a novice child on him as a sharer anyways. So if you do look for a share pony type thing, do be careful, the wrong pony will ruin her confidence.
My 11year old did is pony mad and I had looked st lessons but they were £30 for half an hour. Luckily I used to have a horse and I'm still in touch with the people at my own yard so have got a lovely pony on part loan fo £60 a month. Did can ride as often as she wants and we much out/do horsey jobs on a weekend. Could you do some kind of pony management class and look for a part loan on a yard?
My teenage dd has been riding since age 11. We can afford one lesson a week, her helmet, back brace, boots and no more. Since age 12 she has been helping out at the stables several times a week. She does babysitting, gardening etc. to earn money for extras (riding camps, extra lessons etc.)
Honestly, not being able to afford everything horse-related has been very good for her in terms of personal development. She has learned to budget, save and earn to fund her hobby. She doesn't take her riding lessons for granted and has realistic expectations of how much her own horse might one day cost.
It's a brilliant hobby for teenagers, in my opinion. Very time consuming and outdoorsy - keeps them out of trouble! It teaches responsibility and builds confidence. I would stick with it if you can, OP.
I was the same. It was a different era then where I could indulge my passion by spending all weekend helping at the riding school and getting free rides. Also all holidays and any other free time 😜
I ended up working with horses until I was 30 and then had my kids and haven't ridden since. Mum used to pay for the odd lesson and a one week riding holiday in the summer.
Definitely encourage her, as she makes horsey friends there will be opportunities for her to help with their ponies, even get the odd ride in. It's a lovely hobby, we used to do "work for rides" when we were kids, don't know if that's still a thing? It basically means shit shovelling to get 10 mins on the yards naughtiest pony but we didn't care
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