TMR number 206 . . .
As a parent, it is always a balancing act between spending time with my horse and spending time with my kid. T is an awesome almost thirteen-year-old with a great sense of humor, an unbelievable love of animals, and a deep sense of adventure. He loves being outdoors, riding bikes, geocaching, hiking and climbing. He has tentatively expressed interest in horseback riding. Unfortunately, his idea of riding is to jump on and go and so far he's not all that interested in grooming, taking care of, or any part of horsemanship that isn't galloping off into the sunset. We have proposed that he take lessons, but so far, he's uncommitted.
I heard rumors that one of the parents at the barn is going to start a 4-H horse group. We would love for T to be part of 4-H. I loved it as a kid and think it would be awesome for him to be involved in. Unfortunately, I don't think Ashke is a good fit for a raw beginner. (And honestly, I don't want to share.) I have also heard rumors that Jean is looking for a part time lease on one of her horses, which usually includes riding lessons, and might be a good fit for T. I am going to talk to her and Rachel about 4-H and at least the possibility.
So, back to the balancing act . . . . One of the primary reasons we left Christensen's was because, although they stated they encouraged children to be there, they reallywere not welcoming. The owners were taking steps to discourage and eliminate any young riders at the barn. They kicked out the therapeutic riding school that had been working out of that barn for seven years, they implemented a new rule right before we left that anyone under the age of 18 had to be supervised while riding. And they complained about T. The owners were doing everything they could to remove kids from the premises.
Last night was TMR's Holiday party. There were about 40 people or so there. It was obvious that they all knew each other, and about half were under the age of 16. Instead of being upset that there were kids there, the barn manager had specifically invited the kids. They had gingerbread decorating kits for the kids to do, we did a gift exchange, the kids played chase in the indoor arena, and they had a silly string fight afterwards. This was all accepted, encouraged and indulged. Granted, T was the only boy, but he seemed to have a great time and didn't have an issue hanging out with the girls. More importantly, not only were kids invited, but there were things for the kids to do. It really was very kid focused.
So nice to be someplace where T feels welcome and comfortable.