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MaryMary 01-27-2011 09:28 AM

Actually a human training question ... need moral support.
Perhaps you horse people can understand my actions the other night. It was not one of my finer moments, but I just need to hear opinions of horse people on this one.

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.

Speed Racer 01-27-2011 09:44 AM

Sounds like 'Mommy Dearest' just wanted someone else to blame.

It's not your fault her precious Snookums doesn't know how to properly care for her own horse, and as her parent SHE'S the one responsible for her, not you.

At 13 y/o, that kid isn't a baby anymore. If she didn't call her mother and said she did, why should you have to toddle around behind her?

franknbeans 01-27-2011 09:45 AM

IME, the only mistake you made was not talking to A's mom yourself. Her irresponsible behavior does not need to be your responsibility. You let the BO know, saw that the horses were being taken care of. Just my opinion, but then I am not the most patient person, especially in situations where teens/tweens have brain farts.:?

I am guessing that the other parents most likely are not horse people and do not understand the possible consequences of their daughters behavior? (ie sick/tied up horses?)That doesn't help, for sure is that is the case.

candandy49 01-27-2011 10:04 AM

The eleven year old's Father acted inappropriately and irresponsibly. As did the child's Mother. You have the BO to back your concern about the child's needing a ride home. I agree the Mother just wanted someone to blame other than her ownself. This is after the fact, but the BO might think about the need to post a notice that no child of any age should be left on their own at the barn without adult supervision.

kitten_Val 01-27-2011 02:09 PM

13 years old are not that young to be irresponsible when they know how it should be done. Personally I'd still get a hold of her mother, but other than that I do understand you.

Pantera 01-27-2011 03:31 PM

It's not your fault the kid didn't call her mother.Perhaps you should tell the kids mother to be a parent and take care of her own children instead of expecting you to do it.I hated it and still hate it when parents dump their kids on riding instructors and even other parents and expect THEM to deal with their children.I've had to tell a couple of parents that I'm a riding instructor,not your kids baby sitter and chauffeur,I have my own horses to care for and a life of my own,please and thank you. /end rant

Shasta1981 01-27-2011 07:54 PM

I can understand why you are upset. You can't be expected tolerate deliberately irresponsible behavior around horses, it's not safe for people or horses. Period. But i have to ask, did you have an agreement with the other mother to carpool her children? If you did then yeah you should have called her directly to tell her that you weren't taking her kids home. If you didn't then I cannot understand why she would send you an email like that and she needs to take a look at how she handles herself.

Juniper 01-27-2011 08:35 PM

I feel for you. I hate that kind of drama with other kid's parents. I say, just let it go, don't be so hard on yourself. You were keeping track of your kids and the other parents were not. When my daughter was 13, I was at the barn with her 90% of the time, did not leave her to be someone else's responsibility. Not to mention I would have been furiously disappointed if, at 13, she would not have cooled a horse out properly.

cfralic 01-27-2011 08:47 PM

I deal with a lot of irate parents (I work in education) and honestly one of the worst things you could do is critique their parenting as one of the other posters suggested. I'm sorry but that will really create a lot more problems and exacerbate the situation. Parents never, ever want to hear that they're wrong and no matter how much sense you make all they will do is feel thoroughly insulted.

Anyways, back to the problem. You were in the right, as right as you really could be. I think the biggest issue was the lack of contact. Perhaps try to calmly approach the other parent(s) and have a conversation about 'emergency contact' numbers, so that next time if there's a situation like this, you can get a hold of them. If they don't have a phone of their own then ask them to give you someone you can call that is close to them that would be good in an emergency. Imagine if someone got hurt? Any parent would want to know, and around horses it really could happen.

Also, if they aren't 'horsie' people, and don't understand that what happened was unacceptable, maybe explain in simple terms why it was wrong.

If you're in charge of the rides I think its up to them to make sure you are equipped with everything you need to take care of their child.

Good luck!

Shasta1981 01-27-2011 08:54 PM


Originally Posted by cfralic;
Perhaps try to calmly approach the other parent(s) and have a conversation about 'emergency contact' numbers, so that next time if there's a situation like this, you can get a hold of them.

That's a really good idea!

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