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  1. #1
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    Oct. 21, 2009
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    Default Good judgement is not something that can be forced upon a person...

    Oh geez, where to begin. Basically I have a client who takes lessons weekly on a school horse (13 year old girl, only child, lives with mom- dad is who knows where). She is a very capable beginner rider who can walk/trot/canter and jump small (2') jumps on our laid back schoolies. She still lacks the feel/awareness of a more intermediate rider and is currently not ready to move up to a more sensitive horse.

    Well, just found out that mommy dearest bought her kid a pony and is keeping it at their house while continuing to take lessons. Obviously, I would have liked to have been kept in the loop and would have been more than happy to have helped them find a suitable horse for the child. Now I have come to find out that the pony is a 5 year old and not yet broke to ride. But its "fine, because the daughter is training it herself" (head... meet desk).

    As you can imagine I was immediately concerned as this was just asking for trouble. However, the mom wasn't very concerned when we initially talked. Fast forward several weeks and now the kid has had a few accidents but "nothing serious" (kicked several times and a couple falls- but nothing requiring the ER). The girl is very eager to share with me during lessons about her "training" sessions and even has shared some pics/videos that mom took. Most recently she wrapped her hand around the lunge line, was pulled off her feet and dragged a ways before she could let go.

    I sat down with the mom and had a very serious chat about how incredibly dangerous those kind of things were and that the kid desperately needed to learn how to do things CORRECTLY. Mom said she knew the situation wasn't ideal but "kids will be kids". I quickly offered to give her some lessons at her house working with her pony so she at least would have some clue (though personally I would have NEVER paired these two up and still don't like the idea). Mom felt her money would be better spent on riding lessons rather than ground lessons- who needs ground lessons right???

    SIGH... So I know I could mind my own business since the horse is not on my property but I also know that I am the ONLY knowledgeable horse person they know and feel like someone needs to be the voice of reason. Though I have spelled out the dangers, I am not completely sure that the mom realizes just how easy it is to be killed or seriously injured when working with a green horse.

    This was probably more of a vent than anything but seriously, what is wrong with some people?!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Default

    Practice the following:

    1.) Sigh quietly.
    2.) Leave them to make their own bed.

    They will not listen, they do not care, you cannot save them. It is in Life's hands, not yours. I have gone so far in my day as offering FREE lessons to more than one soul who looked like they could use them but apparently they prefer to fall off repeatedly unsupervised. So I limit my expenditure of energy to those who pay for my advice and heed it.

    You have said your piece, if they come crying back to you one day to come fix it resist the (very great) temptation to say "I told you so," fix it to the best of your ability and take the money.

    Fin.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2009
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    588

    Default

    I have a non-horsey co-worker doing the same thing with her daughter. Since she got reserve champion in section C of crossrails over the summer, she is qualified to break her neighbor's yearling pony. In my first conversation with her when she realized I rode, she (mother) was bragging about the neighbor's pony and how she (daughter) was going to train it. I gave her some background on myself (re-rider now, but started in pony club and moved on to A/O jumpers, worked in many barns) and tried to gently explain the best case scenario was shattering her daughter's confidence and there were many scenarios with major injury. She laughed it off and stressed how good her daughter is. I told her even with my background and having started a few, I had no interest in dealing with the true babies anymore since it is just too risky. I stressed how just one bad experience can ruin your confidence and your mental game for the rest of your riding career. Even after showing her some pictures both old (big fences) and new (3' fences), she pretty much told me her daughter must be a more skilled rider than me since she is fearless and is doing so well leading pony around, etc, etc. Since then, the mom tries to talk horses with me whenever I see her, but I just avoid-avoid-avoid.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
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    Default

    No, you definitely cannot force common sense on people. These types of scenarios happen all the time. I'll offer an initial opinion and then let it go. I completely understand why people do these things--they love horses, plus they have disneyfied ideas about horses they have gotten from books and television. It's sad when a minor is involved, though. It's also sad that many of these people end up disliking horses and getting out of riding as a result of their bad experience related to their irresponsible approach. I try to keep in mind that I'll have more luck educating people about horses if I'm on their side, so I try to be nonjudgmental and keep the door open for when people realize on their own that they are in over their heads.

    BostonHJ, ignorance truly is bliss. I've been riding and breaking and training and showing for years, and the end result is that I'm a super careful person! I have seen firsthand the accidents that can happen in a split second and the way people's lives can be changed. Horses can be extremely dangerous animals, but that's a hard concept to get across to a rider or owner whose experiences so far have been with well-schooled bombproof school horses.

    My advice to the OP would be to NOT become involved in helping them train the pony at home. It's an unworkable situation and you open yourself up to be blamed for any accidents or failures if you become involved. Stand your ground politely, "Suzie is a wonderful rider and has a ton of potential, but she is not ready to be breaking ponies. I'm not comfortable helping her with that because I think there could be safety issues."


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2008
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    Portola Valley, CA
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    Default

    I was that child. My parents had a little more sense to make sure I had a good school horse while I "rode" (read: bucked off, spun off, taken off with, etc) a very difficult green-broke gift horse (also read: had 5 qualified trainers give up on the mare and me). I was also 13. Roughest experience of my life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I learned more from that one horse than I could have possibly learned in decades of riding lessons.

    Oh and the mare. Ended up doing the children's jumpers successfully.

    I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone but I have a lot more empathy for these types of situations.



  6. #6
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    Feb. 2, 2007
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    FL
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    Default

    I might have thought this post was about me....but, not all the details match
    I just bought my 10 yr old daughter an unbroke 5 yr old pony. Bought her without our trainer....and we are having a blast with the pony.
    I did send the pony out for 30 days to a cowboy to get her broke. My daughter takes weekly lessons on her 15 yr old bombproof pony and I am planning on taking the green pony to get her a training ride from the assistant trainer while my DD has her lesson. DD has been hacking her at home and the pony has been great. DD has been riding 3 years and is quite bored with her current pony, but we could not afford to get her anything this nice without it being Green.
    So far, both the cowboy and our trainer have only said nice things about the pony. So far the pony has not done or tried anything bad. DD was even cantering her around the ring yesterday. I do tell DD to be very aware of what's going on around her, as pony is young and unpredictable. She Loves riding this pony.... It's a challenge to her. Her saintly pony she says is boring, although she loves her very much.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Jun. 20, 2008
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    My parents bought my sister and I a horse and then me a pony. We had taken a couple of lessons, horse was well trained, pony was 4, green w/ the mind of a saint. We were at a stable on a military base, so it was basically go as you please riding. We rode western and it was for fun, no shows, no competitions. I think what got us threw it was the "ignorance is bliss" mentality. We did have some adult supervision if you call Marines turned cowboys supervision. We had a blast, rode bareback on hours long trailrides without ever thinking of the risk. Crazy I know. I can't imagine doing that now. We all have to learn sometimes, and sometimes it's not easy but agree w/ the other posters, try not to get too involved and offer up some advice, tips or suggestions but don't offer to train or board the pony - if they offer it maybe, but otherwise maybe suggest not keeping hands in loops and some books/DVDS etc.



  8. #8
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    Oct. 6, 2002
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Can you encourage them to join a 4H or pony club where at least they might get some of the groundwork/horse care lessons??
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    Can you encourage them to join a 4H or pony club where at least they might get some of the groundwork/horse care lessons??
    Part of the problem is that they don't see the value in groundwork lessons- you know, because lunging is just a horse trotting around on a circle (in big open pasture) at the end of a rope (wrapped around wrist) and nothing bad could ever happen (aside from already getting dragged once with only minimal injury)!

    I really don't have a problem with kids taking on difficult horses but they should have knowledgeable supervision. In fact, the idea of this girl getting bucked off isn't what bothers me (falling off a few times might not be a bad reality check for her!). The issue is that the horse has very limited experience being handled- kicks, sits back when tied, has no idea how to be lunged, etc and the girl has no idea how to safely deal with that (and I truly mean not a clue). If you knew the number of red flags that pop up with *every* story/pic/video you would be horrified. And oddly enough, she is good about following safety rules at our barn so long as she is supervised (she needs consistent reminders as she is very inattentive).

    I will do my best to mind my own business and hope she survives every week till our next lesson!



  10. #10
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    Default

    You can push them into 4H/pony club for the show opportunities/camaraderie, etc. You don't have to pitch it as "here's how you're going to learn groundwork." Tell them about the fun projects, chance to qualify for championship, ratings, etc.- what you think will sell them. And KNOW that if it's a good club they're going to pick up horsemanship along the way.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Oct. 24, 2008
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    Portola Valley, CA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
    Part of the problem is that they don't see the value in groundwork lessons- you know, because lunging is just a horse trotting around on a circle (in big open pasture) at the end of a rope (wrapped around wrist) and nothing bad could ever happen (aside from already getting dragged once with only minimal injury)!
    Have her watch the movie, Buck.



  12. #12
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    80s rider- But you sound like a competent parent with a horsey background, actually sent the pony out for training (even if it is only 30 days that is much better than none!), and sounds like you are intending on getting it further training with an assistant. I wouldn't have a problem with that scenario at all.
    Last edited by hntrjmprpro45; Oct. 31, 2012 at 02:59 PM. Reason: damn this new format!



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sp56 View Post
    Have her watch the movie, Buck.
    Yes, they would be the crazy lady with the stallion that kicks the assistant in the head. Of course, he *only* had to have a few stitches which really isn't that bad right??



  14. #14
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    At the lesson barn she should learn the concepts of ground safety. Or is this a place where the horses are already tacked up and ready to go?

    Also-
    The pony club handbook is easy to read and very informative. Perhaps suggest that to the Mom.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blinky View Post
    At the lesson barn she should learn the concepts of ground safety. Or is this a place where the horses are already tacked up and ready to go?

    Also-
    The pony club handbook is easy to read and very informative. Perhaps suggest that to the Mom.
    We teach our kids how to groom and tack up their horses. However, we don't teach how to lunge until the kids are riding horses that may need to be lunged (so essentially when they are intermediate level riders). She knows how to properly halter a horse and how to tie or cross tie but she doesn't know how to *teach* a horse how to be tied/cross tied or how to correct certain ground manner issues that crop up with young horses.

    Knowing how to do something and being capable of teaching that to the horse are two entirely separate things. Likewise, reacting to a school horse is very different from knowing how to react to a young horse when the sh!t is hitting the fan.

    I'll definitely suggest the PC manual- I even have a copy to loan her.



  16. #16
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    Sep. 24, 2006
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    Ignorance is bliss until it smacks you upside the face with a backhand. They'll learn, but unfortunately at the expense of the kid. You can't teach common sense nor can you argue with stupid. Let the situation be; they'll come to you soon enough, with a broken kid and a bad pony.

    Mom has just nominated herself for Darwin's "Mother of the Year" Award.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 17, 2006
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    I actually also feel sorry for the pony. It's going to learn bad habits and get away with a lot of crap. Then he will be a throw-away pony who not many people will want.

    I agree, there's not much you can do. How frustrating. During your lessons it might be wise while you're taking walking breaks to discuss safety issues such as, wear your helmet when working with the pony at all times. Encourage a vest even.

    Good luck.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  18. #18
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
    She knows how to properly halter a horse and how to tie or cross tie but she doesn't know how to *teach* a horse how to be tied/cross tied or how to correct certain ground manner issues that crop up with young horses.
    .
    And knowing how vs. teaching is VERY different. I've been around horses for what feels like a bazillion years. I can put pretty nice ground manners on a horse. I've had some experience with younger, unbroke horses, but not much. I was the first person to sit on a horse I'm currently riding (he went out for real "breaking").

    Right now I'm working with a weanling...and am realizing how much I really don't know. The first time he struck out at me (a couple months ago), I realized I wasn't quite sure how to handle that behaviour. I did put the fear of God into him and he hasnt done it since, so I guess what I did was okay...but it was a guess. I know what I want to teach him, but I don't always know who to go about it. And because he will most likely be left a stallion, I need to figure it out quickly. He HAS to have good manners. Thankfully he's an quick learner and very compliant.

    That said, if I, with decades of experience, am a little out of my league...I can't imagine with a tween with hardly any experience thinks she's going to do without the help of a someone more knowledgable and skilled. Can it work out okay? Sure. Can it be a disaster? Absolutely...and my money is on that outcome.
    Last edited by RugBug; Nov. 2, 2012 at 05:30 PM.
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"



  19. #19
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    Dec. 28, 2009
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    Could you give her a ground lesson at her barn - as in, today, we are going to learn some basics that will help you at home?

    If you need to be more sneaky, you could give her a lunge lesson where half is riding on a lunge doing balancing exercises like no hands/no stirrups, etc, and and the other half is actually her on the ground learning to lunge.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
    Knowing how to do something and being capable of teaching that to the horse are two entirely separate things. Likewise, reacting to a school horse is very different from knowing how to react to a young horse when the sh!t is hitting the fan.
    Ding ding ding!

    This is why I always internally laugh my @$$ off when people post something like, "Meh meh meh, this trainer was using ottb's in her lesson program. I don't want to PAY money to train her green horses for her. I want to lesson on more advanced horses and work on ME."


    Mais non, my little grasshoppah. Mais non.

    You are paying money to learn how to RIDE LIKE A TRAINER and build a ride from scratch on.


    Please to continue throwing that tremendous opportunity away.


    (Says the person who has trained horses up to AA show courses and tempi changes, and STILL takes lessons on green horses to learn how to train them better.)


    1 members found this post helpful.

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