When I was a young teen, I had a best friend. We both loved horses and swore we would always have horses when we grew up. My friend lost interest in horses around the time she was a senior in high school, and has never owned a horse. She does ride occasionally, but has no more than a casual interest in horses. For me, horses will always be a huge part of my life.
Nowadays I sometimes find a young person and try to encourage their love of horses by letting them come and ride with me. I currently ride with several 14 year old girls off and on. I don't charge for lessons, but instead try to give a girl an opportunity I never had when I was growing up.
Here's my issue: the girl I take out riding with me the most seems very interested in horses. However, I am not sure whether I should try to teach her seriously or just try to make it a lot of fun. I have always been serious about horses and I wish someone could have taught me when I was a teen the things I had to learn in my late twenties. But learning seriously like that is a lot of work and means a person has to do things that are not comfortable in order to progress. I don't want to turn a person away from horses, but if a person is only going to be a casual rider their whole life it feels like a waste to try to put a lot of effort into teaching. Instead we could just hang out and ride casually.
Of course every girl I ask says they love horses, and that they'd like to have one someday. But will that change in a couple of years when they get into boys and the serious stuff of life? Is there a way to tell? I always told my parents very seriously that horses were not a phase for me. But I don't think they believed me until I was in my mid-twenties.