Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Remounting that soap box

So I have a new rant to go with the coaching rant. (which btw I was thoroughly amazed at how many people came to speak to me about it at the last couple shows. And honoured -- I had no idea most of them were reading *g* It seems that everybody, particularly those from OTHER sports, agree entirely. The main disagreement seems to come from those who've either failed the exam or never even bothered to try it.)

Anyways on to today's rant topic: unqualified “horse mom”s – or dads as the case may be. I think the coaching rant is more important because unqualified coaches can screw up all sorts of people, while this issue is more localized, but still... This is the case where Suzy wants a pony so Mommy Dearest goes out and buys her one. However neither Suzy nor Mommy actually know anything *about* horses. Now Mommy’s not entirely stupid, she gets lessons for Suzy and even takes a couple herself. All good right? But what about when Suzy’s riding *outside* of the lessons?

Barn rules say Suzy’s too young to ride alone, so Mommy very dutifully “supervises”. But Mommy doesn’t have a clue. I was teaching a novice rider and keeping an eye on this disaster waiting to happen. Twice I saw the young child travel within a few inches of another horse who was *not* pleased at this. Other rider is not much more experienced and doesn’t know enough to get out of the way. (@ this point I’m keeping my, equally novice, student as far away from all this as possible!). After cutting it waaaayyyy too close I broke my own rule and said something. I told the kid that it was really dangerous to pass that close to another horse and that she or her horse could get kicked by this. N kid basically smiles n nods, completely oblivious. But kid is of an age where that’s expected. But her mother says to me “well we were told as long as we stay on the outside that’s just fine. I didn’t know the rule.”
And that just stunned me. It’s not a rule. It’s common sense. Or at very least horse sense. And if you don’t have it, you are NOT qualified to be supervising your child. Because you clearly have NO idea what’s dangerous and what’s not. And it’s fair that she not know anything, but then she shouldn’t be in a position of responsibility – my parents aren’t horse people; they would have had no idea in the same circumstance. So they hired qualified people to supervise until supervision was no longer necessary. And that one IS common sense.

Anyways, Mommy Dearest was huffy because I dared to suggest her child had done something wrong when she “didn’t know” (ummmm since when is ignorance a legitimate defence? Sorry Officer, I didn’t know I had to obey that speed limit sign. License? Do I need one of those? I didn’t know...) so they left – I’m sure I’m now the barn b there *sigh* - but I’d rather be that than sit by and watch something horrid happen.

If either of those riders’ horses had had a personality like my little mare, somebody would’ve been very injured. BEST case, the horse that got too close would be smarter than the rider and would read the other horse’s signs and spin and bolt – perhaps dropping the child on the way, but at least nobody would be kicked. And maybe the child would learn something. Or maybe not.

But seriously people, if your child wants to ride and you know nothing about horses or “have been on a trail ride” a few times or had less than a year’s worth of weekly lessons, learn some Basic Ring Rules and hire somebody qualified to be there when your child rides.

Ok off soap-box now. The floor is open...

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