Convincing Reasons for Riding Lessons - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Convincing Reasons for Riding Lessons

Hi everyone, I am new to the forum. I found the site because I was looking for ways I can convince my husband to continue riding lessons for our 7 year old daughter.

For her birthday, we bought her 6 riding lessons. By the 6th lessons, she finally got to do more independent riding without the lead. She loves it! She checks out books all about horses at the library, she talks about horses all the time. We've put her in several extracurriculars over the years which she was pretty meh about. Dance, cheer, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, piano.

My husband wants her to continue with soccer and piano. I want to take both out and continue with the lessons. Part of my husband's reasons are the cost. Private lessons are about $60 and group lessons are $45 per week. Piano is $35 a week and I estimate soccer to be about $50 for everything. She's told me she'd rather do riding lessons.

Please help me convince my husband she should be in riding lessons instead of piano and soccer (nothing against them though). What are the advantages and how can she use the skills she learns in the future?

My grandparents bought me a horse when I was 11 and like a spoiled brat I didn't truly appreciate how unique and wonderful it was to have a horse and know how to ride.

What do y'all think?

Last edited by carmen315; 01-08-2014 at 01:47 PM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 02:04 PM
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Honestly? If she were my child, I Would limit the "extra credit curricular activities"for a child of 7. Kids need to spend more time at home , being bored enough to figure out some way to amuse themselves, instead of never having that empty time.

I realize this may not describe your household, but perhaps you're worrying too much about filling her time for her.

If, however, it's a choice between soccer and horses they do promote completely different skills. Soccer is pretty much about teamwork, isn't it.? Whereas, horse riding is about an individual relationship with the horse. Both build strength and balance and concentration. But riding, seems to reward the individual more for their own personal progress.

When I was seven, I had absolutely no interest in soccer or baseball or any kind of sports, but horses? I was crazy about them.
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 02:05 PM
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I honestly think it should be your daughters choice, if she would rather ride then why force her to play soccer and piano instead? I know as a young girl being involved with horses kept me out of a lot of trouble, it taught me responsibility (no chores= no more lessons) it also taught me how to make important life choices, how to budget and most importantly caring, compassion and responsibility for something other than myself.
I learned to work for what I wanted and that if you want to excel at something you have to dedicate yourself and make sacrifices.
My horses were an outlet for me in a difficult stage of life, when I was going through breakups, friend trouble, drama at school my horses were my constant friend, they didn't judge me or pick on me or tease me, they were the same day in and day out and they taught me more about love and patience than any person ever could. They were my rocks...
I think every young person could benefit from having horses in their life, but that is just my personal opinion.
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 02:12 PM
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My parents were very similar to you guys it sounds like. They tried like 10 different activities before finally giving in and enrolling me in riding lessons at the age of 8. We even had our own horses. I didn't really have a passion for anything else and they realized that it was counter-productive and a waste of money to enroll me in lessons I had no interest in.

There are plenty of reasons why extracurricular are good for children.

Here's a great blog post about what horses do for girls. Granted they are talking about owning a horse, but lessons provide MANY of the same life lessons.

10 Reasons Your Teenage Daughter Should Own a Horse

If the extra $10-20 a week is that big of a deal (not judging, for me it would be) have her do extra chores around the house to "pay" the difference. It'll be a great way to teach her to work for what she wants as well as the value of money AND how expensive horses can be.
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 02:41 PM
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I agree with Tiny that too many activities aren't good for a child so young. You need to be bored to stimulate your imagination, and learning to amuse yourself in other ways/by yourself, is a skill. It's during the teen years that you need to keep your kid really busy.. you know to stay out of trouble.

I have always thought learning an instrument to be important because it stimulates the brain, but if your daughter really doesn't like it, I wouldn't force it just because it is good for her. If she is musical, she will show interest for an instrument later on as she grows up (perhaps for a different one).

I wanted to play piano as a child, but we had a classical guitar lying around and no money for a piano, so guess what instrument my parents made me learn when I showed a musical interest? I liked playing the guitar because I love music, but my constant yearning for a piano stopped me from wanting to practice my guitar as often as I should.

I was naturally good at it though, so despite my inconsistent practicing, my parents kept giving me lessons for 4 years before I really got fed up and stopped practicing altogether. Not liking my teacher or the songs he gave didn't help, but anyhow, this really broke my parents because they felt they had wasted their money, and loved to hear me play.

So the moral of my story is, if she really doesn't like it, don't push her to do it. In the end you'll have invested/wasted money in piano lessons. What you could do is start by giving her 2-3 riding lessons a month instead of piano, and if she keeps up the interest you can increase the amount of lessons if you are financially able. Also, as soccer is not expensive, maybe you can do a compromise with your husband to keep the soccer and only stop the piano lessons. Soccer will help with her riding anyhow.

If you are unable to convince your husband, and your daughter really doesn't like the activities she is presently enrolled it, her increasing lack of motivation will eventually take hold of the situation. If she does find some pleasure in them, then it will be more difficult perhaps.
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 02:47 PM
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If the extra $10-20 a week is that big of a deal (not judging, for me it would be) have her do extra chores around the house to "pay" the difference. It'll be a great way to teach her to work for what she wants as well as the value of money AND how expensive horses can be.

This is a very good idea. Her efforts will show your husband just how serious this is for her.

I asked for riding lessons multiple times during my childhood, and only at the age of 13 did I start them with my own means. I started slow, first only riding in the summer, but every lesson I have ever paid was with my own money, and finally after 6 years my dad realizes I am not just going to "grow out of it".

A ride a day keeps the worries away!
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 03:09 PM
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I agree with others, if she doesn't want to do everything (and it's not in the budget anyways) why not ask her what she wants to do solely instead? If that's riding, then rejig things to make that work.

Horsemanship and the barn social scene is a great way to keep kids busy and out of trouble. Your daughter will soon be more interested in hanging out at the barn with the horses vs hanging out at the mall with boys. Your husband may appreciate that analogy better than any other if he's like me. ;)

Adding to responsibilities around the house in order to help pay/justify for the extra cost is certainly a great idea as well. Our daughter is very motivated to keep her chores up to ensure she gets her lessons, and she also babysits and does a lot of extras on the side (that she may not otherwise have done) to pay for extra lessons (she pays herself) or tack and riding gear. She's learned a lot about money from that side of things.
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 03:34 PM
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My mom started me riding horse well before I could walk.

She also started giving me piano lessons when I was about 4 years old.

There had come a point when I wanted to quit playing the piano, maybe when I was 8 or 9. She wouldn't let me. And I am SO glad she didn't. It's something I greatly enjoy being able to do.

Honestly, my piano background helped me in so many different things, but probably the most was rhythm. Rhythm can be applied to so many other things in life beyond music.

So I would say for sure continue with the piano. Don't quit that.

And I agree --> she's only 7. You have plenty of time to pick horse riding back up at a later age, or any other sports for that matter, if money is an issue. Plus, she'll be older and will have a better idea of what she likes.
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 03:39 PM
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My daughter has tried all of the following activities (not at the same time of course!)

Figure Skating
Girl Scouts
Horseback Riding

The top 5 activities only kept her interest for maybe a year. Girl Scouts has lasted 6 years and is still going strong. Horseback riding is at 3 years and still strong. She has never expressed a desire to give them up.

Since she started with horses, I see a drive in her to do her best that just wasn't there with her other sports. She CARES about being a better rider, because she wants to be a better rider for her horse. She sets goals (like she never did before). She is more self confident because a 1200 lb animal that could squish her, loves and respects her. Her balance, coordination, and memory have all improved greatly (she is dyslexic...memorizing patterns for showmanship and equitation have really helped!)

It's also great bonding time. The drive to and from the barn is when I learn the most about her. Our shared love for horses has made us closer. It's been a very positive experience for our family.
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-08-2014, 04:08 PM
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Mum always used to say how great it was over the holidays when I was teenager she knew exactly where I was (2 working parents). I couldn't get into trouble at the riding school 😉

Also I believe horse riding teaches some very important skills. I often see a difference in maturity between horsey girls and non horsey (5 years instructing).

responsibility, coping with failure, how to be confident, the importance of body language, temper management ect

Plus she can still play piano at home if she wants to or kick a soccer ball around!
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