Work In Exchange For Lessons?
A couple weeks ago I went horseback riding for my birthday and loved it! I haven't stopped thinking about it since and want to take riding lessons. I don't really have the money, and neither do my parents, and so I was thinking about working at a ranch in exchange for riding lessons. I am 14, and don't have a lot of experience with horses. I was wondering if they would let me do this? I wouldn't expect them to let me handle the horses, but I would be willing to do things such as mucking out stalls, and cleaning buckets. I haven't even brought this up with my parents, and I don't really know how to ask them. How should I approach them to ask? What exactly should I say? I'm sorry if this isn't in the right forum, but I couldn't find another that was right.
Start with getting your parents support. Sit them down and explain to them how much you loved riding and how much it would mean to you to take lessons. Tell them you understand it cost money and you are willing to work for it but would appreciate their support and guidance. After all you will still need to rely on them for transportation and your parents are more likely than you to be able to see what could be a bad or dangerous situation. Be very mature when talking to your parents. Ask them if you earn the money for a lesson would they be willing to drive you and make sure its a legit barn. If my kid sat down and said they would work for their lessons I would agree so I think you have a good shot of getting their support. But be mature about it.
As far as working at a barn, that might be difficult because of liability but baby sit, walk dogs, mow lawns, clean houses, ask people you know for side jobs. You can get creative and find ways to earn money especially if this is something you really want.
Good job for trying to take responsibility to get what you want, instead of just expecting it like so many others your age :) you sound like a great kid :)
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I think the babysitting idea out at the barn is a great idea. Many moms have to skip riding because they don't have anyone to watch their kids.
Once you find a barn that will work with you, take a parent with you to talk to the barn owner and instructor. They will some liability issues that must be worked out. Have specific chores outlined. For X amount of mucking (stalls or hours) you will get X in lessons or other horse time. Let's say for example, the instructor gets $30 for a half hour lesson, that might work out to over 3 hours of mucking. It's a good opportunity for you to negotiate your "worth" for something you want. Talk it over with your parent before you agree to it and then go home and draw up a "contract" on your computer for all to sign.
I worked at a boarding stable for free lessons when I was a kid. And holy cow did they make me work! 20 horses, feeding morning/night, turn out after feeding, watering, mucking stalls, even fence repair. Since I took the bus to school, usually meant I was there before dawn (about 5:30 every morning), change clothes and on the bus. Off the bus, straight to the barn for evening work. My mom had to sign a liability waiver and a release in case I was injured (they could take me to hospital). The stable backed our apartment, so I would walk.... And they didn't have automatic waterers in the stalls so in winter (this was up north) it was a PAIN. But, I also got to lease my lesson horse. I was about 9 or 10.
... Oh, but I might add worth it. Taught me a lot about responsibility and what it actually takes to care for a horse (beyond just the "prettier" aspects). And, over time, the people respected me and I got to work with all kinds of horses, each with different training and attitudes. I had tons of good times and close calls.
Thanks guys, I'm going to sit down and have a talk with my mom and dad :)
We didn't have a lot of money growing up so I took lessons at the "cheap" stables. I ended up babysitting, mucking out, feed, ect, ect in order to ride more. It taught me SOOO much, and gave me a good work ethic. You will get worked until you reach breaking point, they will take full advantage of your desire to be around horses and you probably will get little thanks for it - BUT you would learn more working on the ground than most will learn in the once a week lesson.
If you find a place willing to let you work in exchange, it could be a great stepping stone for you - in time it will also look good on a resume and show that you have drive, are a good worker and you'll have a reference long before most other kids.
Best of luck :)
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