Can you tell if horses are just a phase?

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Can you tell if horses are just a phase?

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    01-31-2011, 01:14 AM
Can you tell if horses are just a phase?

This is sort of like "why do girls like horses," but a little different. What I want to know is if there is a way to tell if a young person's interest in horses is just a phase or instead something they will be wanting to do for their entire life.
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.
Any thoughts?
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    01-31-2011, 02:17 AM
How old is this one girl? Personally, if I were you, I'd just ask her up front exactly what you are asking us. Explain to her that if she'd like to know more, you're happy to teach her, but it will take more effort on her part. If you're worried about pressuring her, approach it from a less confrontational direction (i.e. "You know, if you ever want to take your passion for horses to the next level, let me know, okay? I'm happy to help.") If she wants to do it, she'll let you know. Whether it ends up being a phase or not is up to her, and that's something you'll never know, especially not when she's in her teens. We all develop and change constantly. But at least you can be satisfied knowing that regardless of the direction her life takes, you shared your wealth of horse knowledge with somebody who cared (even if it's just that she cared at the time. Still, it mattered to her then) and you offered her an opportunity to take a closer look into a world that not many have the chance to experience :) ...Besides, sometimes, going to the next level is what teaches us whether we're cut out to be cowgirls/boys or not. But she'll never know if she's never offered the opportunity!

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