Horses at home - teenager would like to help out, any thoughts?

kit279

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I've got my three horses at home and it's been a bit of a slog this winter as only just moved to the area and quite a demanding new job. We've managed but have been keen to get some extra help however found it hard to get a groom in the middle of winter.

Our neighbour has recommended a family friend keen teenager (15 years old) who has been having riding lessons for a few years and is keen to help out with the horses, plus ride a little. I've never had an arrangement like this - the girl is nice and seems sensible and I do have a nice sensible horse who is suitable for beginners (taught my non-horsey husband how to ride etc). The horses live out full time in all weather so it would mainly be a bit of help with poo-picking that we would be after.

Can anyone talk me through the pros and cons and what I should watch out for? Any advice welcome.
 

soulfull

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sounds like it could be perfect. I would speak to her mom first though

make sure that expectations are very very clear on both sides. Things are far less likely to go wrong then
 

Auslander

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I owe pretty much everything to a lovely lady, who took me under her wing at the age of 12, let me ride her horses, taught me to look after them properly, let me do PC events and competitions, and generally made me part of her horsy life. I would do the same in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose! If, and it's a big if, she is genuinely desperate to be around nice horses, keen to learn, and grateful for the opportunity - she'd could be a very useful person to have around, and she'd in your debt forever! I think it depends on the kid though!
 
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It depends entirely on whether after a few sessions, you can then leave her to poo pick, tack clean, take hay to the feeder etc... by herself, or if she'll need supervision the whole time. You may need to always be around when she rides, not a problem if she'll always ride with you. Everytime I've tried something like this, everything has taken longer than if I was on my own. This isn't a problem if you have the time.

ETA - one I had helping just nagged that she was bored of walk/trot/canter after a month, but I don't have a horse that is suitable for a beginner to jump, so the arrangement ended.
 
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Defo speak with the parent first. You need to find out if this girl has the time and dedication to be a genuine help and what her attitude is like. Having said that when I was about 13 I had a similar arrangement with someone who lived in our village who helped me out no end and taught me so much and I worked hard - every day after school/weekends - in return. Me and my sisters had three ponies of our own at the time but we wouldn't have been half as competent as we became without this neighbours help but at the same time we earned it with mucking out, feeding, rug changes etc. it would be great to offer that opportunity to another young person, as long as they keep up their end of the deal and prove to be trustworthy and responsible.
 

marmalade76

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I owe pretty much everything to a lovely lady, who took me under her wing at the age of 12, let me ride her horses, taught me to look after them properly, let me do PC events and competitions, and generally made me part of her horsy life. I would do the same in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose! If, and it's a big if, she is genuinely desperate to be around nice horses, keen to learn, and grateful for the opportunity - she'd could be a very useful person to have around, and she'd in your debt forever! I think it depends on the kid though!
Similar here, I will be eternally grateful to the people who allowed me to help with and ride their horses as a youngster and I would do the same providing the kid were dead keen, willing to learn, trustworthy and sensible.
 
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Similar here, I will be eternally grateful to the people who allowed me to help with and ride their horses as a youngster and I would do the same providing the kid were dead keen, willing to learn, trustworthy and sensible.
Me too, otherwise I would have spent a lifetime on the sidelines or only being able to go to riding schools where I wouldn't be able to learn any of the practical skills that you can only get by helping out. I'm indebted to the owners who bothered to spend time showing me things and not minding when I made mistakes.
 

Clare85

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I owe pretty much everything to a lovely lady, who took me under her wing at the age of 12, let me ride her horses, taught me to look after them properly, let me do PC events and competitions, and generally made me part of her horsy life. I would do the same in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose! If, and it's a big if, she is genuinely desperate to be around nice horses, keen to learn, and grateful for the opportunity - she'd could be a very useful person to have around, and she'd in your debt forever! I think it depends on the kid though!
Yes, I learnt through a similar situation. My very good friend started teaching me on a pony she had when I was 11. I then moved onto her bigger horse who I went to shows and Pony Club with and had an absolute ball. She was so generous with her horses and her time and her knowledge. She taught me so much and I am forever grateful and indebted to her. I would go way out of my way to help her out. I'm sure at first I was more of a hindrance than a help but I was so keen to learn and after a while she could trust me to do the horses on my own and look after them if she went on holiday, etc.

She is still helping out lots of people and just this weekend gave a young girl the opportunity to ride one of her lovely horses. I would love to give a youngster that opportunity some day. I'd say go for it, as long as the girl's parents are happy. Could be a really beneficial arrangement for you both :)
 

Shay

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Make certain you have the right insurance! This is a litigious society. No matter how good the relationship is you need to be sure you have adequate 3rd party, property and employer's liability insurance. You might need instructor's insurance if you plan to teach her to ride as well. Might be worth giving the BHS legal helpline a call to check you have the right cover.
 
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Make certain you have the right insurance! This is a litigious society. No matter how good the relationship is you need to be sure you have adequate 3rd party, property and employer's liability insurance. You might need instructor's insurance if you plan to teach her to ride as well. Might be worth giving the BHS legal helpline a call to check you have the right cover.
Hmm, insurance, yes. If you plan to teach her on your own horses you'll need not only instructor's insurance but riding school insurance too!
 
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I had a teenage girl ask if she could help muck out a couple of summers ago. The horses were living out at the time si told her to come back at the beginning of winter and see if we could sort something out. Anyway, I forgot all about her and she came back and the deal was if she helped muck out on a Saturday (6 horses)she could ride through summer. She came every Saturday in all weathers and was really great - mucked out, groomed, never moaned and then we spent the summer riding. All I'll say is be prepared for a bit of teenage angst! Unfortunately she did have school and home issues and was actually a confused little girl and I think the Saturdays at the horses were her escape. She got expelled from school and her mum moved to the other side of town and lots of other things happened and she stopped coming- shame really
 
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A great idea if the teens are committed to horses, my niece and grandson have been 'helping' with our lot for a few years now, they talk the talk, but can't manage the work, they like the riding bit but not the grooming, mucking out etc, they only ever do half a job, I now only let them ride if they actually make an effort at something. God, at their age I spent all weekend at my rs getting blisters and an aching back, for no reward other than being around horses, perhaps I'm just getting old and grumpy, but I think kids get things too easy these days.
And Breathe
 
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I'm 16, but I got my first pony when I was 11 and kept him at a girls yard near to home. Ended up spending the summer learning everything and anything as I was completely clueless, who knew saddles needed fitted?! She gave me lessons in return for mucking out, grooming etc and I was a great test dummy for the ponies/horses she was breaking:D When she started as the manager of a riding school I helped there for about 2 years, all day every weekend and everyday summer! I was probably more of a nuisance than help at first but I was super shy and I don't think I would know half the stuff I know now if she hadn't of helped. Eternally grateful for her and people like that, we all have to start somewhere and no better having help from someone who knows their stuff:)
 

maree t

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So much depends on the girl . We have just had a twelve year old come and start part loaning one of ours. She comes and helps and rides. So far so good, she has been reliable over the winter so hope she keeps it up. I would have killed for an opportunity like that .
 
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I agree with flirtgerty, I would have given my eyeteeth no come to think of it I did give my eyeteeth to work with horses and did everything asked of me and loved every minute. But todays youngsters are of a different breed, as 1) they don't like getting dirty and as for mucking out, that's a no!no! and please don't mention poo picking up, very little grooming done (well a half hearted stroke with a brush). Been there tried it and now keep my 5 to myself.
 

WelshD

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I responded to a post on here from a thirteen year old wanting more contact with horses and it is one of the best things I ever did

the good stuff:

The young lady (L) has learned quite a bit despite me not being the most experienced of pony owners
I am overweight but have been out and about more and am slightly fitter
More incentive to keep things clean and tidy at my little 'yard' (still not quite there but things do look a bit better!)
My older pony has benefitted hugely from more attention, more grooming and more exercise
I feel more motivated to keep up with the pony's fitness, education and grooming as I feel that L should feel I am making as much effort as she is

Sadly my ponies are too small for L to ride routinely but she did take one of them to a show inhand at the weekend (her first) and won the over 12 junior handler class which I think we were all thrilled with

My 'rules'

Involve the parents first and foremost
Supervise at all times unless a parent is about
I dont take L in to my house
I never ever put her in a situation where she may be scared (I have one pony who has been very nervous so I dont expect L to turn him out for example)
I dont expect L to do a job I wont willingly do myself - I dont expect her to muck out although she is always willing to
I dont communicate directly with L by text, pm etc, I always contact her mum

Some of those may seem a little 'over the top' but Its not about trust its just about eliminating as many situations as possible where things could be seen to go wrong. total transparancy in every way is essential.

I also try to involve L in decisions regarding the ponies such as saddle fittings and bitting etc so she feels more a part of things

Its been a tremendously positive experience for all of us (I hope!) L is incredibly helpful, bright, sensible, obliging and a nice person to have around - I think I have been very lucky though as I know a great deal more young ladies who would be a nightmare to have around!
 

Fides

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I owe pretty much everything to a lovely lady, who took me under her wing at the age of 12, let me ride her horses, taught me to look after them properly, let me do PC events and competitions, and generally made me part of her horsy life. I would do the same in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose! If, and it's a big if, she is genuinely desperate to be around nice horses, keen to learn, and grateful for the opportunity - she'd could be a very useful person to have around, and she'd in your debt forever! I think it depends on the kid though!
Me too! l would love to offer the experience to someone else but noone seems to want free rides for work any more...
 

Cinnamontoast

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Just be super clear re when she can be there eg is she allowed to come up when she wants if you're not there, will she rag your horse round and is she absolutely trustworthy or will you find videos of her standing on your horse and lying under it? (Not my horse, but someone I know!) Does she need to be taught stable management? I know too many kids who just want to jump, jump, gallop, gallop and not warm up properly or anything.

If she's trustworthy and knows exactly what she's allowed/not allowed to do, she could be a fabulous find!
 

Elsiecat

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but I think kids get things too easy these days.
I bet your parents and grandparents had the same thoughts about you!

I don't see a single reason the girl wouldn't be helpful. I know just as many 'grown ups' who are half hearted in horses as young people. Give her a try :)
 
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