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Horse riding dividing family

252 replies

Fatmamslim · 29/05/2023 21:51

Not sure I know what I'm asking here..

But how do you cope if you have two children, one horse mad (13) and the other hates it?

We own a pony. Child is now competing and wants to spend every second of her life at the yard.

Younger sibling hates it. (8)


Weekends are spent divided as a family as I am at yard and dad is with younger child.


I work an intense job with unsociable hours which is the only reason we can afford said pony DH feels he never see's me and younger child starting to become resentful and says things like "great so another day I don't see you because of x's hobby" as we head out for yet more jobs/yard work/day of competing whatever.

I will admit I'm struggling with the balance. Daily I think about selling him and putting her back in a riding school but once a week but then I watch the joy in her face as she goes clear or gallops across the fields and know it would destroy her now. It is her life.

I feel pulled in all directions and I don't know how to fix it.

OP posts:
coffeecupsandwaxmelts · 29/05/2023 21:54

As a temporary solution why can't DH go to the yard while you do something with the youngest?

greenspaces4peace · 29/05/2023 21:54

Does she need you there?

DanceMumTaxi · 29/05/2023 21:55

Does it always have to be you that goes with your eldest? Could her dad take her sometimes while you spend time with your youngest?

bonfirebash · 29/05/2023 21:58

Does she need you at the yard? I was doing everything alone by that age except for competitions

Eyesopenwideawake · 29/05/2023 21:59

At 13 she doesn't need you physically there for the drudge but she does need to know you support her at the key competition times. Can you balance your time with the younger sister?

Whoisbeingunreasonable · 29/05/2023 22:00

Oh no this is really common issue with horse world 😬 your defiantly not alone

3luckystars · 29/05/2023 22:02

One day of the weekend each maybe? Saturday with the older child and Sunday with the younger child.

XelaM · 29/05/2023 22:04

I have a daughter the same age who also competes and we also own a pony. All I do is drop her off at the yard in the morning and pick her up in the evening. None of the teenagers' mums stay there for the whole day. Why can't you drop her off and leave her to it?

cocksstrideintheevening · 29/05/2023 22:14

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it (£££!) both mine are horse obsessed.

DH was a footballer and his sister is still bitter about being grabbed around to football games every Saturday and Sunday in season.

I wouldn't sell the pony, but her dad could split the horse duties
With you although at 13 is not fairly self sufficient apart
From comps? I drop mine off in the morning and pick them up when they're ready and they're 12.

Fatmamslim · 29/05/2023 22:28

Definitely not usual to drop and run at comps in our circles..

She's actually not 13 until end of year, sorry I should have been more accurate- but even so our yard isn't "child friendly" - it's a very small barn with 99% adult only riders. - most are tolerant of children but there's a couple that find their very presence annoying. Although yard owner is very welcoming and we really do love the yard, great facilities etc I would not say it would be appropriate for me to leave her there. I could leave her there for an hour or so to do jobs, but definitely not riding. If she had an accident she isn't old enough to look after herself and its not the yard owner or other livery responsibility to keep an eye on her. I don't allow her to hack out alone yet either. Pony is a Saint, but our country roads are like a racetrack.

DH will go when he has to. He is clueless though. He is on the spectrum and finds it stressful to degree.

DD also highly anxious child who lacks self confidence. She's a great little rider, according to her instructors. I don't know what I'm looking at I just want her to stay on tbh

I could insist parental split across children but whilst that would solve sibling gripe, DH gripe is we have no family time and that it takes up all my spare time around work. ... I suspect there's a financial resentment creeping in.. which is probably understandable.

OP posts:
Kanaloa · 29/05/2023 22:30

Does the other child get anything similar? I would expect if you’re dedicating whole days of doing one child’s hobby it will obviously cause resentment and upset if you’re not bothering to do similar for the younger child.

I think you need to look at how realistic it is for your family. The whole family’s lives cannot revolve around one child’s hobby.

KickAssAngel · 29/05/2023 22:33

Find a yard where you can drop and run. I used to go riding as a teen and where I went there were hardly any adults, it seemed to be run by teenagers. The regular kids were all good friends and took care of the horses. Can you find somewhere like that?

LatteOneShotplease · 29/05/2023 22:36

Would there be an insurance issue with her age I wonder, even if she is competent and confident? And of course, if you're not there, would other adults around feel any kind of obligation to keep an eye on her - especially as all horses are different, and being used to her own pony doesn't mean that she would be "safe" even around the bigger ones..
You do have a dilemma, and now you have gone down this route, it would be awful to take it away from her, even with what seems like some sort of compromise. This is one of those time that you half-wish that it could be "only a phase", and she sale back organically, but it doesn't seem that she will be doing so of her own accord.
I'm sorry, I don't have a good answer, but sending solidarity - I have been there - myself, and with my own daughter (although without a sister in the mix).

Fatmamslim · 29/05/2023 22:37

No, younger child, despite my best efforts has not taken to anything we've tried, football, rugby, motocross, etc etc. He's more of a introverted sit and draw/build huge lego sets kind of kid. He'll get on the pony very occasionally but only wants a few minutes of walk. It'd be a dream to get him riding for the sake of ease would kill me financially but I think he'd be somewhat un-teachable even if he did. He's on the spectrum (going through diagnosis currently) and just doesn't process instruction/information/understanding the horse/body position etc in a way needed. I'd still give it a bloody good shot but I think If he came off once he'd never go again, he's very cut and dry like that.

He has his own pet, and we try to make sure that on the rare occasion he asks for something like a stupidly expensive lego set, we do, because frankly dd is getting alot spent on this hobby. He's quite a low needs kid materialistic wise.

I do my best with the time I have to make sure I connect with him emotionally.

OP posts:
runforyourdog · 29/05/2023 22:45

Mmmm I was a horsey kid with horsey parents with a none horsey brother and now none supportive husband.

I would say it's not worth it unless all the family are supportive, I gave up.

Kanaloa · 29/05/2023 22:50

Fatmamslim · 29/05/2023 22:37

No, younger child, despite my best efforts has not taken to anything we've tried, football, rugby, motocross, etc etc. He's more of a introverted sit and draw/build huge lego sets kind of kid. He'll get on the pony very occasionally but only wants a few minutes of walk. It'd be a dream to get him riding for the sake of ease would kill me financially but I think he'd be somewhat un-teachable even if he did. He's on the spectrum (going through diagnosis currently) and just doesn't process instruction/information/understanding the horse/body position etc in a way needed. I'd still give it a bloody good shot but I think If he came off once he'd never go again, he's very cut and dry like that.

He has his own pet, and we try to make sure that on the rare occasion he asks for something like a stupidly expensive lego set, we do, because frankly dd is getting alot spent on this hobby. He's quite a low needs kid materialistic wise.

I do my best with the time I have to make sure I connect with him emotionally.

I didn’t ask whether he fit in with any of your ideas of a good hobby - I asked if you devoted an equal measure of time to his interests. Although I guess the answer is no.

Basically it sounds like the dd has all your time and attention and the younger child gets bought an expensive Lego set occasionally because he won’t fit in with horse riding. Do you ever spend the day helping him build Lego all day or drawing your own comics together while his sister is left with someone else/to entertain herself? It may be that he’s feeling he’s less important. It’s sad that you say you ‘do the best with the time you have’ as if the boy is something to fit in around work and horse riding.

PatchworkDonkey · 29/05/2023 23:04

Life doesn't revolve around horsey DC. You tell her she can compete once every 2 months, ride 4 times a week with the weekend being a longer one, max 2hrs though and the rest of the time it's basic chores done efficiently then leave. No faffing about or stopping to chat.

She'll have to ride with whoever she wants to chat with and if she wants to do unnecessary things like bathing or trimming excess hair off etc, she forgoes a ride to fit it in, same if farrier or vet comes. She can clean tack at home.

I've had two horses for years and a non horsey family. There has to be compromises. You can't eat/sleep/breathe horses if you want to have a relationship with people who don't.

PatchworkDonkey · 29/05/2023 23:11

To be clear, one of the weekend days she doesn't ride so you can fit in family time in-between horse care.

Thepleasureofyourcompany · 29/05/2023 23:18

I wouldn't drop and run for competitions, noone does this.

I spend most of the weekend with the dcs and our horses. When one stopped liking it she did things with dh. I see dh in the evening. He doesn't mind and horses are non negotiable for me and dc3.

Ginger1982 · 29/05/2023 23:19

Thepleasureofyourcompany · 29/05/2023 23:18

I wouldn't drop and run for competitions, noone does this.

I spend most of the weekend with the dcs and our horses. When one stopped liking it she did things with dh. I see dh in the evening. He doesn't mind and horses are non negotiable for me and dc3.

So do you spend any time with your other DC?

Thepleasureofyourcompany · 29/05/2023 23:21

Of course I do, we all live in the same house and we only compete one day a week. Other dc used to ride so accepts that we own horses and they didn't just disappear when they lost interest.

Floralnomad · 29/05/2023 23:22

The obvious answer is to move the pony to a different yard where there are more kids so she starts to get more independent with it all .

JessandJupiter · 29/05/2023 23:25

I think you may find it helpful to look at this a phase for no more than five years and you just have to manage as best you can during that time, at which point your younger child will be at the stage your older dd is now and then you can focus more on them.

Of course there is a possibility that your older daughter may pursue equestrianism as a career or as a serious amateur and I’m
afraid to say many mothers act as grooms to their dc in those circumstances but that at least can be a conversation for another day.

WhereYouLeftIt · 29/05/2023 23:32

"DH will go when he has to. He is clueless though. He is on the spectrum and finds it stressful to degree."

How clueless is clueless? You say you don't really know that much about horses ( "I don't know what I'm looking at I just want her to stay on tbh" ) so what is it that you think DH needs to know to accompany her?

"I work an intense job with unsociable hours which is the only reason we can afford said pony DH feels he never see's me and younger child starting to become resentful and says things like "great so another day I don't see you because of x's hobby" as we head out for yet more jobs/yard work/day of competing whatever."

So, to afford the pony, you work "an intense job with unsociable hours" which means your husband and your children don't see much of you during the working week. Except, your daughter has you all to herself at the weekends because of the pony.

You have a work-life balance issue. And a life-life balance issue on top of that.

Would you prefer to have a less intense job with fewer / more sociable hours? Is that possible in your current job, to move down a gear / transfer internally / take a demotion / go part-time? Or just plain - find another job? Would your reduced income still meet the bills, barring the pony? That would address the work-life balance issue, so you could actually spend more time with your family.

Then, the life-life balance issue. Right now, the whole family is revolving around a pony. And you KNOW that's not fair. Only one of the four of you actually care about the pony, the other three are having their life distorted by its presence. That's not fair.

Your daughter doesn't have to give up riding completely ( "Daily I think about selling him and putting her back in a riding school" ) but she does have to give up being in control of everyone else's life. IT WILL NOT "DESTROY HER". She'll still get to ride, but you won't be dancing attendance and your husband and son will get to spend some time with you, instead of being relegated to the sidelines as at present.

"I feel pulled in all directions and I don't know how to fix it."

Yes you DO know. Sell the pony, put your daughter in riding school, her dad takes her there half the time, spend the time freed up with your son and husband, not just your daughter. Consider whether you really want to do the intense job with unsociable hours, if you do, fine, if you don't, change jobs. You do know what to do.

It might also be worth considering how you let this situation arise. It didn't just spring full blown from zero, it crept up on you because you took your eye off the fairness ball. Is your daughter the squeaky wheel that gets the oil? Did you feel guilty so bought the pony? Did you fancy the prestige? Ponder it a bit, decide for yourself what your weaknesses were to get into this mess, and work on them.

Whoisbeingunreasonable · 29/05/2023 23:35

Random, but I wander if you have offered skateboarding to son?…. Many autistic kids like it as it’s something that doesn’t require much social interaction, has ‘ levels’ in a sense / once you have learnt one trick it’s on to the next one… regarding ‘ fitting in/ finding your tribe’ skaters have a kind of clothing style, a very relax level of interaction and even tap boards to celebrate others good tricks

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