At our barn, the barn owner allows her students to exercise the horses on their own. They are all pretty mature and trustworthy. For example there is a rule that you don't jump when she is not in the ring, and they don't. They just don't. I've been at this barn for 3 years, and watching the ebb and flow, and always when it's time for a parent to pick a kid up, they are usually at least at the bridle cleaning and chatting stage with their horse put away when the parent gets there. Often they are foot dragging so they can see their friends, but usually within 10 minutes of hitting the road.
So, Monday night, my 13 year old, her 13 year old friend (A.), and their 11 year old friend (Y.) were riding. They'd been on about 20 minutes when I told them I was leaving to go get my other daughter, and I'd be back in half an hour. I didn't quiz them on how much time they had left to ride. I figured that two 13 year olds who've been riding for 4 years and 8 years know that it takes about 30 minutes to get off and get cleaned up. So, when I got back to the barn, my 13 year old has her horse with his blanket on and is just needing to clean her bridle. The other 2 horses still have saddles on. When I look more closely, I see that those two horses are SOAKED with sweat. Like they've had a bath. It is 22 degrees out. They were riding in the indoor, but still, it's cold.
The more I looked at those horses the more upset I got. Those horses were fine when I left. So apparently they'd been running them for about 30 minutes, hard. A. (age 13) ran to clean her bridle, and I had to tell her to go and put a cooler on her horse, she'd let him in his stall to eat soaking wet and hot. So I got A. And Y. With coolers on their horses and walking them, and then had to decide what to do. It made sense to me to have A. Call her mom for a ride home, because I thought it would take an hour to cool that horse out.
I had a very hungry 6 year old in the car, and my procrastinating 13 year old had not done her homework yet. It was 5:30. I had dinner to make and a 16 year old at home alone. I called a level headed friend who owns a horse and asked if it made sense to make A. Get a ride from her mom. She agreed that made sense, rather than make me wait around because she (A.) was irresponsible. She also helped me see that calling the barn owner was not "tattling" on the girls, but was actually a teaching opportunity.
Here's where I went wrong. I didn't have mom's number because she had her work cell, not her own cell. So I told A. To call her mom for a ride. I should have had her do it while I was standing there, but I didn't. She said she could get in touch with her mom, and I believed her. I called the barn owner and told her the two girls were there at the barn and why (her house is 200 yards away from the barn). She talked with them on my phone and told them what to do to cool out the horses.
Meanwhile, the 11 year old's dad drove in, saw that she was not ready, lectured her on being ready, said he had a ton of paperwork to do, and drove off again. So, I'm not the only parent here that is amazed the girls were so out of line here.
So, yeah, I left A. There at the barn with Y. And went home. Not surprisingly, A's mom e-mailed me quite upset that I ""just left her child at the barn"". I am sorry. I shoudl have communicated better.
I think I was in horsewoman mode and not parent mode at that point. Hey, my kid was ready and her horse had not been worked into the ground at 22 degrees. So they had her as a guide, they should have known to get off and get ready! GRRRRR.
You can yell at me if you want to, but if anyone out there can understand why I did what I did, I''d like to hear it. Thanks.