A Question to Parents of Equestrians
I'm sorry in advanced if this is in the wrong section.
In short: I went to my first gymkhana clinic at my barn. Even though this was only practice runs with no times, I would watch girls: scream at, slap (some in the face), whip, and exessively lunge their horses for not 'preforming'. Some of these horses included horses very new to the sport, very old horses that weren't fit enough to be running the courses, and horses that really ran their hind ends off (I can't even tell what went wrong). As a parent, would you let your son or daughter throw this type of tantrum infront of everyone?
The whole story:
Hello everyone, my name is Olivia and I am a 19 year old college student who is currently getting back into riding. My horse has been under saddle 10 months, and I started him myself with the help of an experienced mentor. When my mentor and I found out about a gymkhana clinic going on at my barn to get more people interested in the gymkhanas we'd be hosting over the Summer, we thought it'd be a great experience for my horse Sawyer.
I took the courses slow, as it was Sawyer's first time doing anything of this sort and my mentor warned me not to burn him out on patterns. I was having a great time, doing the patterns in a running walk, and Sawyer was making progress with every practice run. The younger teenagers of my barn, 12-18, weren't as impressed though (I wasn't out there to impress anyone). They were all screaming at me to run him home, or to try the course in the canter. I explained to them why I wasn't doing this already, but I didn't let them bug me. I just kept at my pace, although I found it a little rude. I started having girls saying 'let me get on him, he could do this fast but you aren't letting him' 'you need to run him, he's never going to be good if you don't'. Again I ignored all of this.
What bothered me more than these girls pushing me and saying things I found very rude, was how they reacted when they felt their horses weren't preforming up to their standards. I first saw this in the warmup arena, where a horse tripped in the arena, sending the girl to the ground. She got up and smacked the horse in the face, then started lunging the living heck out of it, whipping it in the chest to make it turn directions. It continued into the day, girls not having perfect runs and jumping off their horses screaming "I hate this stupid horse!" cursing and throwing an all around fit. The worst case was when a girl brought out a lease horse who is around 25 years old. The leaser has told her MANY times that the horse is not for Gymkhana and is only for walking and trotting. When the mare threw a buck being ran (HARD) home, the girl started hitting it hard when she was out of the arena and then ran that mare in the warmup pen until it was literally dripping in sweat.
During all of these episodes, parents were present. Most would turn the other cheek, and some would try to consol the girls. One even offered "I'm sorry he was being so bad. We'll go boot shopping after this". If I had done ANYTHING like this, even yelling at my horse for 'not running fast enough' 'bucking when I clearly pushed him way past his ability' or 'tripping' I would have probably had my butt beat by my parents and mentors infront of all of them. The way these girls' parents let them act really appalled me.
So, my question to you is:As a mother, father, trainer, or mentor, would you have let your son or daughter behave in this way? If not, what type of repercussions would these types of actions had?
Thank you for your input and reading my experience. Good luck to you and your children in all of your riding endeavors :)
"Putting pads on a gaited horse is like putting a mask on a beautiful woman."