So, Miss Boo has been fitting in well to the school program this summer. She gets some rides from my trainer, and has proven herself to be a steady, forgiving and tidy jumper up to 3'3". I am really proud of her, and she is lean and very happy.
OK. I have been using her for a young student, about 11, who has been taking almost daily private lessons for almost 2 months. Kid is serious about her riding, but has unformed ideas about her current abilities. She is a cute, smart girl, but a touch arrogant. Boo has taught her alot.
Boo has also been ridden regularly by another girl, student of the BO/boss lady, who has taken Boo to a couple of local shows, and rides the mare well.
Boo has a wild mane. In the past it has been roached, but this summer I have kept it longer, trimming it even on both sides, as her crest is 2" wide, making pulling it pointless. I have been working, since spring, to make it look equal length on both sides, thinning it. It was getting a touch long, but showing student was ok with it before yesterday's show.
For some reason, my student took it upon herself to trim the mane. No permission asked for, mind you. She began pulling, then for whatever reason, simply began cutting it...like a growing out roach, only 2/3 up Boo's neck.
Boo didn't go to the show cause she looked so badly.
I am livid.
What the heck do I tell this kid when I see her next week? I've already decided to have her ride another horse for the near future, but what is the best way to approach her with my displeasure???
Form follows function, or does function follow form?
It's probably a good thing that you aren't going to see her until next week!
I would sit her down and have a talk with her in your scary voice. I'd tell her in no uncertain terms that she is not to touch a hair on your horse or anybody else's unless she has direction and supervision. Then let it go (at least to her).
Since she's 11, you'll probably scare her to bits and the lesson will stick with her.
I would just say " Hey, the horse's mane is a mess. It is your fault, and it was a bad decision on your part to attempt to change something on a horse THAT IS NOT YOURS. Do not do this ever again, on my horse or any horse or you will not be riding here any more."
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
I probably would not have waited so long to address it.
Definitely impress upon her that this is Not Done and she needs to ask permission before doing anything past normal grooming. (If she's only a lesson student, should she even have been messing with the horse at that time?)
In the grand scheme of things... the horse is not injured and the hair will grow back.
I am surprised, too at the drahhma of not going to the show because of this. roach and go. Talk to the kid and let it go, but it sounds like you have some issues about letting something like this go, so, I don't know what to say to you.
Tell her not to made any modifications to the horse's appearance without permission. Why didn't you just roach and go to the show?
My thoughts exactly. It's only hair, it will grow back, and you know it looks all right roached as you've done it before, so I'm not seeing why it meant cancelling the show--it only takes me about fifteen minutes to roach Lucky's mane. Tell her not to do things like that without permission, and make her hold while you roach the damage off.
Wow, I understand you're mad about your horse's mane, but it will grow back.
Just explain to the little girl that she needs to ask permission for anything she does to a horse or object that isn't hers. She probably thought she was helping out by making the horse look tidier.
I remember when I was little somebody at the barn showed me something having to do with picking out my pony's feet...I was a VERY shy kid and just kind of watched them and went back to what I was doing. Well a few minutes later the BO came up to me and basically tore me a new one about how I was an ungrateful rude kid...blah blah blah.
I ran to my mom's car bawling when she came to pick me up. The lesson stuck with me, and after that I ALWAYS said thank you for anything someone else does for me(still do). But, I would have got the message if BO had just said, "Hey, I know you're shy, but people might mistake it for rudeness. If someone helps you out, be sure to thank them."
Just don't be too harsh on her. Everyone makes mistakes.
Sounds like you wanted to be more dramatic than the situation called for. A horse with a "longer" mane falling on both sides of the neck, doesn't exactly look "show ready" in such a way that an uneven trim would "Ruin" it and prevent showing. If you are prepared to show with a longer mane falling on both sides, then having a conventional "show ready" appearance really doesn't mean anything to you, so I don't get the "Oh No...Now we can't show". You should have just roached it or evened it up a little and gone.
The doing something to someone elses horse should have been addressed right away, and I would make sure she is very aware that it is NEVER done. But the additional drama of "now we can't show because it looks funny"?...not so much.
Uh, you know this kid is ELEVEN, right?! No need to give all the background about her attitude...she's ELEVEN, and you're a grown up, and you need to behave like it.
How horrible for the child to have not been able to go to the show because the mane looked a little silly and you refused to just roach it and call it good, or even it out some more, or something.
Did you not make any mistakes as a child?
If she has any interest in continuing to ride your horse after you refused to allow her to show it, then you can sit her down and CALMLY explain to her that it's not okay to alter someone else's horse without prior discussion. Should she have done it? Of course not. But it sounds like she was just embarrassed and wanted "her" horse to look nice for the show.
Sheesh. I would get (sort of..the scratched show over a mane just exceeds my ridiculousness levels) all the drama llamaing if this was an adult that did this, but it's an ELEVEN year old CHILD. I leased a horse as a young rider who was owned by a kind older gentleman. I covered that horse in so much glitter on a regular basis, it is completely ridiculous looking back. But I was a little girl, the horse wasn't being hurt, and he took the ribbing about his horse's rainbow glitter hooves like a champ.
I helped "tidy up" my Arabs forelock to look like all the horses in the barn. They were quarter horses.
My trainer bought a children's book on " Grooming your Arab", with big pictures and one sentence across the top of each page. I was 35, my trainer was 19. I think he handled it with wit and maturity.
11 yos still need to have general society "rules" explained to them. Horsie rules are a much more refined set of behaviors, just explain it and let it go. I would absolutely speak to the parents though, because she needs to be taught basics about possession for her own safety. Don't touch what is not yours is a good rule and things flow from it ( you can't go into a strange horse stall to give them a hug, etc).
Well I know you will handle this with grace and humor (and make it a good lesson for her). As someone who makes a LOT of mistakes (hello ADHD),I have been eternally grateful to those who really had cause to haul off and rip me a new one, yet did not!
Just like the others, I'd take her aside, tell her I know she meant well and I appreciated the initiative, but a) never, ever do that with a horse that isn't yours, for everyone's safety, and b) now we are going to learn how to roach, a good thing to learn! Then maybe you could have little "clinic" on mane pulling, for everyone (obviously with the caveat that this is what one does to one's OWN horses!)
I can relate to being pissed, even though I have no plans to act on it-sometimes venting is what friends and forums are for!!
My parents always made me *fix* my *mistakes*. Dig up mom's garden making mud pies? They had my but out there replanting it. Break little sister's big wheel because I was too big for it but had to go for a ride on it anyway? I was doing extra chores for a couple weeks to earn enough allowance to pay for it. The lesson stuck (eventually).
If you've got the time stick Boo in the cross ties and make her fix the mane as best as it can be fixed, or make her roach it. She'll learn not to screw with stuff (or horses) that aren't hers and at the same time learn a little about how to properly trim a mane. Just like my mud pie adventure led to me learning how to plant a garden!
It sounds like the kid was trying to do something good/helpful and maybe got in over her head.
I don't like getting mad at a kid for trying to do something nice/good, rather I try to turn it into a learning session; show her how to pull manes correctly, and during the session explain to her why it is important not to touch manes/tails/hair without permission.
I would make sure she feels comfortable talking to you if she gets in over her hear or makes a mistake in the future.
Many many lessons all the way around...I'm not one to correct by intimidation, but by example. Sure she was trying to be helpful, to be part of the show prep.
As a 65 yr old grandmother, I will handle it with tact, and gentle firmness.
Thanks again, everyone!
Form follows function, or does function follow form?
I have to add another side to this since everyone thinks she was being helpful. Perhaps she just didn't like the way it looked and tried to change it.
I loaned out my QH to a student for a schooling show. I was laid up with a broken leg and didn't attend the show. When the horse got back from the show I knew something was different and it finally came to me that her forelock had been cut. Cut, not trimmed as about 3 inches was cut off straight across. Now, I know it is just hair but when the student's mom admitted they cut it and said "it would grow back what was the big deal?" That left me fuming. To this day I regret not saying to them 'well let me take your daughter to the salon and have 3 inches of her hair cut off.'
Just a story to show what might happen if she doesn't learn the lesson about "fixing" horses that belong to others:
I have an older schoolmistress I keep at home. A college student, working student at the barn where I boarded my other horse, was going to take her to a schooling show. She came to my barn to clip her with borrowed clippers. I watched for a while, then went inside. When I came out, she had SHAVED her TAIL - top and sides - about 4 inches.
"Oh, you shaved her tail." I said.
"Yes, I know it's controversial, but I like the look, and this is correct for dressage horses," she said.
I asked her if she knew MY feelings, since it was MY horse. Well, no, of course she didn't. Didn't think to ASK about my opinion regarding the controversial shaving, either. I put on my nice teacher voice and explained things to her.
So, explain things to the student. Even if someone else tells her what is "correct", the horse still belongs to you, and she should ask!
(and oh yes, she did NOT clean the clippers before returning them, either....)