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xoTrishaxo 06-12-2009 05:15 PM

Neighbor's daughter is interested in horses
My neighbor's daughter is five years old and she simply loves horses. She comes around my barn now and then and I've been teaching her how to ride. If you ask me, she's got horses running right through her blood! :D She is a natural rider, but it's a shame her mother doesn't feel so strongly about that.

One afternoon I found her daughter sitting outside one of my horse's stalls. She said she had asked her mother if she could come over and see the horses, and that her mother said OK. I let her groom one of the horses and you should have seen the smile on that child's face. It was wonderful to see how happy horses can make someone so young!

Anyways, her mother comes marching up the driveway and boy was she mad when she saw her daughter in a stall with (ahem, her words exactly) "that beast!"

Apparently her daughter had NOT asked permission before coming over, and had simply disappeared. When her mother found her over at my place, she accused me of being a kidnapper (?!) and threatened to call the police if I came near her child again. I tried to explain patiently to her that I had no idea that she was unaware of her daughter's presence at my barn, and I even apologized to her.
Anyways, I haven't seen either of them since that day (a week ago, maybe??) which makes me sad because its obvious her daughter loves horses, and enjoys being around them.

I understand that she's worried about her daughter's safety. After all, horses are very big, and can be dangerous to such a small child. I'd like to try to explain to this woman that it was all a misunderstanding, and I'd like to try to get her to let her daughter ride some more.

Any advice or hints on what I can do?

LeahKathleen 06-12-2009 05:21 PM

I would suggest writing a letter to this woman explaining the situation. Apologize profusely for the misunderstanding (even though you're not really in the wrong.) I would just talk about what it's like to be a kid who loves horses - and how good it was to see a smile on that little girl's face.

A letter is very non-confrontational, and it will show her that you are truly apologetic.

Jemma 06-12-2009 05:27 PM

I agree with the poster above, try to get in contact with her again, apologize (though you didn't do anything wrong, she should keep a better eye on her daughter if you ask me…anyway) and then let her know that her daughter is welcome at your barn, and that you would like to try and start over, and then say you hope to see them both soon.

That's what I would try to do anyway. Good Luck! :-)

xoTrishaxo 06-12-2009 05:30 PM

Thanks for your advice.
My friend told me to invite her and her daughter over for dinner, but that seemed a bit too much. A letter sounds more reasonable; I'll see what I can come up with!

lovemyponies 06-12-2009 05:34 PM

a letter is a really good idea or you could try calling when you know they aren't home and leave a message asking to have the mom to come over and chat and apologize..... but letter is preferable. its so nice you care so much, poor little girl, that is the age I started riding and if she has got it bad she won't just forget it.

close2prfct 06-12-2009 06:27 PM

I would suggest a letter as well because if you were to call or go to their house she could report to the police that you were stalking or harassing them. Her over reaction to the horses is her lack of knowledge etc. but understand today there are many people out there that will use whatever means they have to lure children. It does not make it right for her to accuse you of kidnapping and yes she should be keeping a closer eye on her 5 yr old, it's a sticky situation I hope you can get things worked out.

PaintHorseMares 06-12-2009 08:03 PM

Perhaps slightly off topic, but given reality and the circumstances, you'll want to make sure you have a liability release from the parent(s) before this little girl has any more contact with your horses.

Qtswede 06-13-2009 11:40 AM

my only suggestion would be to tell her both of them (mother & daughter) are welcome. She may be a little easier to warm up to if she can see for herself how her daughter lights up around the horses. Who knows, maybe she was injured when she was young, or is from a family that is not animal friendly. At any rate, as a mother myself, no matter how gross something is, if I can see for myself what it means to one of my kids, my outlook on things seems to slip away, and I will do everything I can for one of them to be happy. Just an old lady point of view.

QtrHorse 06-14-2009 03:07 AM

Let's get real here......a 5 year old child wandering on your property, without adult supervision and without your knowledge is a huge liability to you and the child. Children do not have the reasoning capabilities to determine dangerous situations and let's face it, we all know what can happen. Even under the most controlled situations accidents can happen.
Face it, this lady sees you and the horse environment as a threat to her daughter, whether it be percieved or real makes not one bit of difference. She must have been quite distraught to have accused you of "kidnapping" and threatening to call the police! It was obviously a misunderstanding and a verbal apology was given. Drop it, don't put anything in writing and keep that unsupervised kid off your property. Check with your attorney, the law may consider your situation an "attractive nuisance", similar to a unfenced, accessible swimming pool. You may find yourself exposed to legal liability if this continues. Make sure your insurance covers these types of situations.
As much as you would like to encourage this child to enjoy horses....forget it. I would be respectful and nice as a neighbor. She needs to keep her kid under wraps.
Only my strong little point of view as a mother, BO, horsewoman, and legal eagle.

Go The Distance 06-14-2009 10:00 PM

I will have to agree with QrtHorse on this one.

if the girl gets hurt on your property, you are completely liable. i would suggest putting out signs in your barn, maybe along your fences.
we have them all over at my place, since our barn does public trail rides. i am not sure how one would go about getting them, but i would google it to find out.

lets face it. a kid can be all smiles and happy one moment, and in the hospital the next. a judge can look at this either way, and legally, it isn't going to be in your favor. i would leave it alone. if the kid wants to ride, she can either come to your facility and sign a release, or go to a riding school and do the same.

people will sue for just about anything now a days. To me, allowing one little kid to pet the horses is not worth my horse's funds or my horses.

i don't want to sound like a jerk, but its the truth. people are crazy, and this mother can even keep an eye on her kid long enough for it to wander into your barn, she needs to keep better track of her.

just my 2 cents.

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