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Maple 12-22-2012 11:27 AM

What would you do?
 
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As I've been so busy, I've been letting a 15yo girl ride Bandit for me during the week. She did some work experience with the racing yard over the summer and is very capable and eager to ride but has no horse of her own. So I thought I'd do the girl a favour.

Anyway, she's really starting to step on my toes. Today she text me to ask if I hawas heading over, and I let her know I was out to him this morning so wouldnt be driving back (he's about a half hour away). I then left my phone in the car, and this afternoon saw a text to ask if I had ridden. I sent a message back apologising about not seeing it and she replied with "I've just ridden him".

This somewhat sent alarm bells off... why would you go ride my horse not knowing if he had been ridden already?

Earlier in the week, she texted to say she wanted to put a flash on him for better control. I've had him almost 3 years now and never needed more than a loose ring snaffle and have no issue riding him without a noseband. He's a straight forward ride, the type you can hop on after 8 months as a pasture puff and head off down the road without a second thought!

She also knows that Sat & Sun are my only days to ride during the winter as I have no arena or lights. She sent me a text a few weeks back sayin she had just ridden him at 9am on a Sunday morning... which eliminated my opportunity to ride that day.

How do I go about nipping this in the bud without insulting the girl? I know she is eager and keen to ride. After the new year I'll be back to part time work and have more time so was thinking it might be an idea to move him closer to home and do DIY.. but I dont want to be childish about the situation.

TheLauren 12-22-2012 11:32 AM

Make a schedule. Let her know that Saturday and Sundays are your days to ride. She has to respect that.
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MHFoundation Quarters 12-22-2012 11:40 AM

Make a schedule and be very straightforward with her. Remind her you are doing her a favor and that she needs to respect that it is your horse and your riding time is priority over hers. If she can't respect that then I would tell her she could start paying to ride him like she would have to in any other lease situation.

Maple 12-22-2012 11:56 AM

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I'm more annoyed over the fact that she went and rode him, knowing I had been out there earlier without a second thought for the horse. He's only coming back into work, and is in no way fit.

I honestly don't mind her riding him on the weekends IF I'm not riding.. and wouldnt be annoyed today if she had known that I had not ridden... but she didn't know. And while the cutting into my riding time is slightly annoying my main thoughts are about the horse. He's a 17yo happy hacker... he's taken great care of me and is the most straight forward horse I have been blessed to own.

themacpack 12-22-2012 12:12 PM

It sounds like there has not been any conversation as of yet where clear expectations and "rules" were laid out and agreed on - and that is what needs to happen.

waresbear 12-22-2012 12:32 PM

You text HER on the days you plan to ride and make it clear he only gets worked once a day. Also tell her not to change his gear. That way she knows the rules clearly and if she ignores them, then you know she is overstepping.
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thesilverspear 12-22-2012 12:49 PM

As Macpack said, I would have a very straightforward conversation in which your expectations and rules are clearly stated and if she still wants to ride the horse whenever she wants, regardless of you (his owner!), it's time for her to find another horse.

Have you seen her ride him recently? Is she heavy handed? My horse doesn't wear a flash either and if someone exercising her for me told me that they wanted to put a flash on her, I'd tell them to get tae ****, as they say here.

That said, I think it can be handled in a mature and diplomatic fashion:

"I really appreciate you helping me out with Bandit during the week and I know you enjoy riding him. As you know, due to my work I am only able to ride him myself on the weekends, and if you want to ride him during the weekend, it is very important that you contact me first to make sure that I have no plans to ride. I don't think it is fair on him to be ridden twice per day.

I am also making no changes to his tack, as his current set-up suits him and has worked well for a number of years.

I'm sorry to say that if you cannot follow these rules, then you will unfortunately have to stop riding him."

Or something along those line.

I'd do it via email or text, as I'm (a) really bad at confrontation and (b) I'd want this plainly written down so if I ever had to refer back to it, I could: "This is the email where I said that you couldn't change his tack and now you've put a flash on him" and then chuck her off your horse.

Edited as I crossposted with waresbear: I really don't think the burden should be on the horse's owner to text the girl exercising it for free whenever she plans on riding. It's her horse. She can ride whenever she wants! She should say, only once, that the girl should not ride on weekends and that should be that.

LadyDreamer 12-22-2012 12:59 PM

Put your foot down. She has no authority over this horse. Be the adult, the manager, the owner, the CEO, and inform her in your own way that here is what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. No changes will be made without your say so. There will be no deviation from the plan, or you will have to find someone else. This is no different than a non-paying job. You haven't hired her to train the horse. She is not in charge. If she cannot follow your rules, policies, and procedures regarding your horse, she should not be allowed back.
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caseymyhorserocks 12-22-2012 01:11 PM

Write up a basic contract saying what days she can ride and what tack she can use (only yours). Bandit is your horse, and she has no right to ride him without your permission and use different tack on him without your permission.

LadyDreamer 12-22-2012 01:18 PM

And tell her for insurance reasons, you need her parents to sign said contract as well. She is 15 and participating in a potentially dangerous activity on your horse without you present. If she gets uppity...well, it sucks being a responsible adult, doesn't it? Tough luck, kiddo.
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